August 7, 2016: A major step has been taken for the upliftment of the Dalit community in Chennai and this year, in 2016, Hindus from Nagapattinam’s Kallimedu village have considered the demand of Dalits from Pazhag Kallimedu to host ‘mandagapadi’ at Sri Badrakaliamman Temple, Chennai, but there is a dispute regarding the date.
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) had proposed four proposals to the caste Hindus, which stated that the customs of the 800-year-old temple could not be altered or changed, which the caste Hindus rejected.
The Collector in Nagapattinam, S. Palanisamy, has fastened the ban on Mandagapadi, a week-long annual festival of the temple that was about to start on Monday, August 8, 2016; as earlier three parties failed to break the deadlock over the right claimed by Dalits of Pazhag Kallimedu to host mandagapadi for a day, mentioned The Hindu reports.
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After the festival was banned by S. Palanisamy, both sects of the same Hindu community discussed numerous times regarding the issue, to reach the decision to somehow conduct the festival.
Members from Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) have been staying in the village to derive a conclusion. HMK reports, maximum people from both the sects wanted the festival to be held. The State president Tamilisai Soundararajan from BJP had also visited the village and met representatives from both the communities on August 1 to appeal them to come to an agreement with each other and organise the festivities peacefully, and in brotherhood.
A member of the Hindu group, A. Sivasubramanian, told The Hindu that some people from the group have agreed to make Dalits a part of the festivities so that the festival can be held as per the decided schedule. The Hindu caste group did not wish to be called anti-Dalit. He believes that a peace meeting could have been held before the complete ban on the festival.
A group of people from both Hindus and Dalits is likely to meet the Collector on August 10, in order to negotiate the cancellation of the event.
A representative of the Dalit community, K.Tamilselvam believes that the administration should hold another formal talk to lift the ban on the festival. It is indicated that Hindus are strongly considering to allow Dalits to celebrate Mandagapadi on Saturday, August 13.
– prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna