Ban on Dharmapuram Adheenam’s ‘Pattina Pravesam’ Kicks Up Row in Tamil Nadu

A new political storm has begun in Tamil Nadu as parties like BJP are attacking a decision by a Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) to ban the practice of Dharmapuram Adheenam’s ‘Pattina Pravesam’ (the practice of men, who are devotees of Adheenam, on their shoulders carry the Dharmapuram Adheenam in a palanquin during the procession). Reportedly, the tradition has been in practice for about 500 years.

In Dharmapuram Adheenam Monastery in Mayiladuthurai district, ‘Pattina Pravesam’ will be held on the occasion of the annual Adheenaguru Chief’s Gurupuja. It is customary for devotees to carry the palanquin and walk the streets with Dharmapuram Adheenam (Chief Seer) seated on the palanquin during the procession. While movements like Dravidar Kazhagam and Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam have warned of a mass protest as it is a regression and human rights violation under Article 23 of the Indian Constitution. Eventually, the RDO banned the ritual on May 2, citing human rights violations and law and order problems. The Pattina Pravesam ceremony has been scheduled to take place at the Dharmapuram Adheenam Monastery on May 22.

Meanwhile, Madurai Adheenam Sri La Sri Harihara Sri Gnanasambanda Desika Swamigal too criticized the ban, stating, “It is painful that this year, the 500-year-old tradition has been banned suddenly. Even the British had permitted Pattina Pravesam. Interfering with religious practices is highly condemnable. We will definitely make this happen and are willing to give my life to ensure the ritual has been performed.”

He further said that the state government had banned the Pattina Pravesam since Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi has recently visited the Dharmapuram Adheenam.

Madurai Adheenam also appealed to Chief Minister MK Stalin to intervene in the issue and permit Pattina Pravesam to take place as it is a ritual where pupils ‘voluntarily’ carry their guru (Dharmapuram Adheenam) on their shoulders.

Following this, in the state assembly on May 4, the AIADMK passed an attention motion calling for the lifting of the ban on Dharmapuram Adheenam’s Pattina Pravesam. Commenting on the motion, opposition leader Edappadi Palanisamy said, “The Pattina Pravesam ritual has been done on the concern of 72 people living in the Adheenam and there’s no lack of respect in carrying it on the shoulder. The ban on the traditional lifting of the Dharmapuram Adheenam on the palanquin should be lifted.”

In this context, BJP state leader Annamalai condemned and slammed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin over his government’s decision to ban a palanquin procession for Dharmapuram Adheenam. He criticized the decision by tweeting, “If the government opposes Dharmapuram Adheenam’s Pattina Pravesam, we will break the government’s rule and I will be personally there to carry the Adheenam on my shoulders. The government should immediately take back their order. Ban on the centuries-old Pattina Pravesam of Dharmapuram Adheenam is against Tamil civilization and culture.”

The State BJP chief also appealed to the Adheenam “We request Adheenam to allow us to hold the event against this illegal order. The Tamil Nadu BJP is ready to host this event.”

Annamalai also said that Dharmapuram Adheenam had existed even before the ideology of the DMK was born.

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