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BJP Says Vairamuthu's Andal Remarks Attack on Feelings of Hindus; Poet Says Words Being 'Twisted'

By: Ananyaa Desikan


Last Updated: January 21, 2018, 11:55 IST

File photo of Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu

File photo of Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu

The Madras High Court court observed that the statements were not the poet's own and Vairamuthu merely quoted an American researcher.

New Delhi: In a relief for Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu, the Madras High Court on Friday stayed the criminal proceedings against him for his remarks against saint Andal. A case was filed against Vairamuthu following a complaint by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

The court observed that the statements were not the poet's own and he merely quoted an American researcher. In the second week of January, which also marks the holy Margazhi month in the Tamil Calendar, Vairamuthu delivered a speech at Andal Temple in Srivilliputhur in Tamil Nadu’s Trichy district. A Tamil daily, Dhinamani reproduced his speech, ‘TamizhaiAndal’ (Andal Ruled Tamil), where he quoted an American researcher, who had said: “Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple."

In the medieval period, Devadasis were women who were married to the Temple’s deity, lived and performed there. Over the years, the Devadasi culture was given a derogatory colour.

After the speech transcript was published, devotees, religious and political leaders were up in arms. BJP National secretary H Raja said that it was a habit of people like Vairamuthu to conduct planned attacks on the feelings of Hindus.

"After we have tried to bring this to a closure, if they continue to twist words and instigate casteist and communal violence, Tamil society, you are an enlightened one, you will understand," Vairamuthu said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Congress leader P Chidambaram said that “AndalTamizhaiAandal," was a tribute to both Tamil language and Andal.

Spiritual leaders and devotees held protests and filed complaints against the National award-winning poet. They demanded Vairamuthu’s deportation from the country. The film fraternity, on the other hand, showed support for the poet. Filmmaker Bharatiraja, in a statement to the media, said: “Can you create literature for Tamils like Vairamuthu has? Can you even write one song that wakes up tired people? Don't think of destroying such a renowned Tamilian.”

The late political analyst Gnani Sankaran, commenting on the Vairamuthu-Andal controversy, days before he passed away, said that this was a move by the Hindutva groups to polarise and get a toe hold in Tamil Nadu.

Carnatic music singer and social reformer TM Krishna took to Twitter to express his views on the issue.

Velakkudi Krishnan, Vaishnavite guru, wasn't very happy with the apology issued by the paper and expressed so in a Twitter post.

According to history, Andal was the only Female saint of the 12 Alvars of the Vaishnavite sect. Legend says that she was found as a baby by a Tulsi plant in the temple’s garden. She was taken and brought up by Perialvar who was an ardent Vishnu devotee. She is known for her Bhakti and is worshiped in parts of Tamil Nadu which is similar to the devotion reserved for Radha rani in north India.

Andal is also known for her Spiritual Tamil Literary work, Thiruppavai and NachiyarThirumozhi, which are chanted during the Margazhi month. In her work she describes how her ultimate life goal was to seek surrender and refuge at the Lord's feet.

first published:January 21, 2018, 11:41 IST
last updated:January 21, 2018, 11:55 IST