What is India Report

Nov 11 turned out like Sept 11

NRI organisations across the United States, outraged by Sri Jayendra Saraswati's arrest and incarceration, are doing their bit to stand by an acharya they hold in high esteem. A round-up by PRAKASH M SWAMY 

What is India News Service
November 25, 2004 

New York: November 11 turned out to be September 11 for Hindus in the United States.

With anger and disbelief, many made frantic
long distance calls to India to ascertain whether what they were seeing and hearing was true. They were reacting to the news item on the Net, "Kanchi Acharya arrested on murder charge."

Newspaper offices in the US and in India were flooded with calls inquiring about the arrest and the fallout of the case. The Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation, Kanchi Kamakoti Center of California, and other Hindu organizations joined hands to condemn the attack on Hinduism and the senior Hindu saint.

The KKSF, which organizes jayantis of the acharyas every year at the Venkateswara temple in Bridgewater, NJ, held a closed-door meeting to chalk out a strategy of protest. Dr Yagnasubramaniann, K. Guruvayurappan and others spoke to various Hindu organizations to evolve a common program to express their anguish. The two had been honored at a special function in Chennai to commemorate the golden jubilee of ascension of throne by the acharya.

"We are protesting by peaceful means and prarthana methods as this will bring in the desired results," said Guruvayurappan. The two contacted the Math and, after consultations with junior acharya Sri Shankara Vijayendra Saraswati, decided to appeal to temples and groups to perform special pujas for the well being of the senior acharya, now languishing in Vellore prison.

Also, most Hindu temples across the United States and the Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation have been performing special havans such as Chandi Homam and Sarabeswarar Homam to propitiate the Gods to preserve the dignity of Hinduism in the wake of the arrest.

Dr Uma Mysorekar, President of the Maha Vallabha Ganapathi Temple in Flushing, New York, and Secretary of the Council of Hindu Temples of North America, said a Chandi Homam was being planned on November 23 at 11 am and a Sarabeswarar Homam the following day for the welfare of the senior acharya and ward off evil forces responsible for the unfortunate situation. "The incident has made many devotees numb with pain and anger. We decided to take part in a silent protest by organizing havans that are very powerful and effective," she said.

There are over 1,000 temples across the US, big and small. The KKSF is organizing a special puja at the Sri Venkateswara temple in Bridgewater, NJ, and also at the Hindu temple in Arizona during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Prof D Sundararaman of KKSF Washington chapter led a prayer meeting and organized havans at Siva Vishnu Temple in Washington last weekend. Some devotees are organizing a havan at the Venkateswara Temple in Pittsburgh. A group of devotes led by Chitra Rangarajan of Long Island, NY held a special havan at the Ganesha temple in Flushing, NY, on November 18.

Special prayers will also be held at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Solyesburg, Pennsylvania. Gurukulam founder and senior Hindu leader Swami Dayananda Saraswati, now camping in Chennai, has strongly condemned the arrest and called it a frontal attack on Hinduism.

"I am shocked to see the blatant media campaign against Hinduism and the Math and the list includes some very big names in Indian journalism. I bow my head in shame," said Rajagopalan Krishnan, a senior officer of an American bank in New York. 

online petition prepared by Math devotees in the US has attracted over 1,000 signatures so far.

The text prepared by S Ramesh Natarajan and addressed to the President of India, Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, states: "Dear Sir/Madam, The arrest of Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swami by Tamil Nadu police was a crude shock to all Hindus across the world. Different media reports suggest that this is a politically motivated, vindictive arrest. To our surprise, a section of media has already joined the issue with their usual hatred to anything Hindu. The way Swami's arrest took place shows a conspiracy to trouble Hindu spiritual leaders. This arrest of Swami is an affront on one billion Hindu populations on the earth. We petition with you to stop the attack on Hindu spiritual leaders, Hindu dharma, Hindu society and Hindu symbols."

Dr Andali Raghunath, president of Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation, said, "The acharya is innocent until proved guilty. The media and the police can't hand in a judgment as they wish. We have the highest regard for the Kanchi seer and those torturing him would repent for their grave sins. It's a clear-cut case of human rights violation and deserves to be raised in world bodies such as Human Rights Watch and the United Nations. He was, is and will be our guru irrespective of the smear campaign unleashed by some atheist vested interests and one-sided media."

Narain Kataria, founder of the Indian American Intellectuals Forum, said the news of the arrest of one of the top Hindu leaders of India had seriously disturbed and hurt the sentiments of the entire Hindu population around the globe. The forum is based in New York, and Kataria is a member of the Governing Council of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.

Hindus hold Sri Jayendra Saraswati in high esteem all over the world. He occupies a position that is more or less equivalent to that of the Pope as far as Hindus are concerned. He is the apotheosis of correct religious conduct as enshrined in Hindu scriptures. Hindus in America are deeply distressed and shocked at the manner in which Jayendra Saraswati Swami was arrested by the government and put in jail along with common criminals.

A memorandum protesting the arrest of Swami addressed to President of
India and Prime Minister of India is being signed by thousands of Hindus in America and will be sent to them. This sad episode has brought down the Hindu nation to the nadir of humiliation. Hindus feel as if they are being ruled by the Moguls or the British. The Swami's arrest is symptomatic of a multi-pronged attack soon to be launched against all Hindu leaders espousing the cause of Hindutva. This is a sinister attempt to frighten and terrorize other Hindu pontiffs into submission. It is an open warning to Hindu seers not to join hands with Hindu organizations in India or else they too might meet the same fate.

The government should not defame, denigrate, and ultimately obliterate Hinduism from the soil of India. A suspicion is growing in the minds of Hindus that some political parties are behind this shameful affair. I believe by arresting a Swami of high caliber and status, the government has stirred a hornet's nest. The feeling is spreading fast among the Hindus all over the world that a political conspiracy has been hatched to defame and demonize the Hindu faith. The unfortunate event has the potential to transmogrify sullen and simmering Hindu sentiments into a veritable cyclone that could, in its wake, sweep those evil forces.

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