• Tamil Nadu Government Turns To Poojas and Yagnas For Rain

    The government’s move of asking temples to perform poojas and yagnas for bringing rain, instead of better water management policies, has faced severe criticism

    Neelambaran A

    May 8, 2019

    Representational Image
    The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department of the Tamil Nadu government has ordered the temple administration controlled by it across the state to perform special poojas and yagnas for bringing rain. The circular has also instructed the temple administration to sing particular ragas during the poojas.

    The Commissioner of HR&CE department has also instructed all regional commissioners and officials to send a detailed report on the poojas performed in a detailed circular.

    Instead of taking constructive steps to improve the groundwater levels and water management policies, the state government has resorted to irrational measures of performing poojas to bring rain.

    The scientific community led by the Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF) has ridiculed this move by the government.

    North East Monsoon Fails for the Second Consecutive Year

    The North East monsoon that brings rain to most of the districts of the state has failed for the second consecutive year and the government announced 24 districts as being drought-hit earlier this year. The drought has already had a severe impact on the farming sector and the general public. Many cities, towns and villages are facing severe water shortages for drinking water and agricultural needs. The private players are cashing in on the situation and are selling water at exorbitantly high rates.

    She also introduced an anti-conversion bill in 2002, which was warmly received by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The law was later repealed after severe criticism by all quarters of people. The steps taken by her on the religious front, during her tenures, were seen not as an outcome of her personal beliefs alone but as a result of her soft- Hindutva approach. 

    Karnataka BJP government ordered poojas for rain

    It was the BJP government in the state of Karnataka which set the ball rolling by ordering poojas to please the rain gods in 2012. The government then received widespread criticism for the move and the same move ordered by the succeeding Congress government as well. The moves drew widespread condemnation for involving unscientific activities and spending crores of money from the exchequer.

    TNSF Slams AIADMK Government for ‘Pooja’ Move

    The Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF) in a strongly worded statement has come down heavily on the state government and the HR&CE department for issuing such a circular.

    The Indian Constitution has mandated ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’, but an elected government has indulged in an act which has no scientific backing, the statement said.

    Prof S Mohana, state president of TNSF, told Newsclick that, “Instead of implementing scientific measures to increase the groundwater levels and measures to store rain water in effective ways, the government is itself involved in unscientific measures in the name of belief. The state received good amounts of rainfall, but could not store the water for the needs during summer. This move now is only diverting the attention of the people from the failures of the government.”

    She added, “India is one country which does not encourage the development of water catchment areas. A committee must be set up with experts to implement it at the earliest to avoid water scarcity. It is impossible to get rain during summer season, unless we have a low depression. But the government itself is praying for rain in summer. The government should wake up and carry out productive measures to store water instead of these unscientific measures to misguide people.”

    The AIADMK has taken a leaf out of the BJP’s book in making people believe that religion and belief are the major factors affecting the people. This is a well-thought-out tactical move by these governments to divert the attention of the people. The people of the state are reeling under water scarcity, while the government pretends as if poojas and yagnas are the remedy for their mismanagement.

    First published in Newsclick.

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