Friday, March 15, 2013

Saints to the fore Against the Aranmula Airport Plan

Photo: Arun Prijit
A Sanyasi  Sammelanam, Meet of Saints, at the Vijayananda Ashram, Kidangannoor, Aranmula resolved to take a lead role in the ongoing agitation against the proposed airport at Aranmula. After day long deliberations in association with the Paithruka Grama Karma Samithy it was decided that a multipronged strategy be adopted to salvage the heritage village and its famed places of worship. The resolution adopted at the conclave called on the state and Union governments to summarily drop the airport plan.

More than 28 ashrams in the state participated in the meet and several others send support notes. The venue of the Meet was at Nalkkalikkal, Aranmula where a sprawling campus and Samadhi of Swami Vijayananda, also known as Kaviyoor Swami, who took samadhi in 1960 is located. This ashram played a pivotal role in the reformation of the region and presently the campus has various institutions including schools.  The second phase meet to be organized shall be bringing together Saints from across Kerala and India. Expressing shock about the Hon. President of India advocating the private airport project in Aranmula Swami Vedananda pointed to the need for a pan-national movement that sensitizes the country about the very serious scenario unfolding in Kerala. Things are getting worse from bad, commented the aged Saint. Vested interests have garnered as much arrogance as to destroy a famous pilgrim town, that, a world heritage site.      

Photo: Pradeep Ayroor
Swami Viviktananda Saraswati, State president of the Chinmaya Mission, who inaugurated the event, said that the potential threats that the ill-conceived project raises are alarming and it will in time undo all that the heritage pilgrim town is known for. The timeless heritages that the past generations have handed down to us shall be protected at any cost said the Saint. The Meet resolved to have action plans at the micro-level, with village home visits and also macro-level, with coordination of state and national levels.   

Swami Garudadhwajananda wanted creative action plans, and asked that the land filled at the site be reverted to its old wetland status and the rest handed over to those landless. Kummanam Rajasekharan, Patron of the Pathruka Grama Karma Samithy, briefed the session of the developments so far. The Saints expressing anguish at the government’s laxity in punishing the wrong doers, like filling a river itself, capturing others lands with fake records, but still the culprits going scot free. They vowed to take any step necessary to counter the evil designs.   

Many of the speakers offered to lay down their lives if necessary , Swami Kailasanathananda and other saints offered their services for the agitation and to take on any misadventure from the part of the private company and the state government which is in league with the group. Swami Vedananda wondered about how the President of India was being misguided and expressed the apprehensions about the state of the country.  

Swami Golokananda of the Sree Ramakrishna Mission, actively involved in the movement, said that it is a fight of Dharma and Adharma, and felt sad that the traditions of heritage, culture, and communal amity at Aranmula are being damaged. The Saints shall organize Kudumba Yogams, family prayer meets,  across the region and also conduct a day long fast at the temple to begin with. The .Mathru Sanghom,Mother Saints, shall also organize prayer meets and door to door family meets and bring the women folk to the agitation.

Speakers at the conclave pointed to the traditions of honoring nature that is native to India and wanted the holy river Pampa restored to its ancient glory. At a time when the state, the country and the world are realizing the  follies of faulty development that such projects are take up is a tragedy. The Saints called upon the various Ashrams to come out and meet their duty to protect the traditions, heritage and nature. Rituals of worshiping water sources, like Varuna Yagya, necessary various Homams, were to be organized and they wanted the Saints to take up the Karmas. Paithruka Samithy members requested the Saints support in the planned World Water Day celebrations to be organized shortly.      

Swami Garudadhwajananda, Swami Gangesananda, Swami Abhayanananda Theerthapadar, Swami Kailasanatha, were among the Saints who spoke. The Saints spoke about the tradition of supporting ascetics at the temple of Lord Parthasarathy at Aranmula and pointed to the native tradition of renounced ascetics being supported by the society at the great temples and vice versa. This tradition, which saw dilution in between at other places remains undisturbed at Aranmula, this shall be made more effective, said one of the Saints at the conclave.          

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