Andal row: Dinamani editor Vaidyanathan meets Srivilliputhur temple head, apologises

The temple head said Andal would enter Vairamuthu’s heart and he too would apologise soon.
Andal row: Dinamani editor Vaidyanathan meets Srivilliputhur temple head, apologises
Andal row: Dinamani editor Vaidyanathan meets Srivilliputhur temple head, apologises
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In a fresh development in the Andal row, K Vaidyanathan, the editor of the Tamil daily Dinamani visited the Srivilliputhur Andal temple and apologised to Sadagopa Ramanuja Jeeyar, the head of the temple.

Dinamani had published Vairamuthu’s speech, delivered at the temple, in which the poet had quoted a researcher, who had said, “Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam Temple.”

Vaidyanathan entered the premises flanked by various priests of the temple. After making his way in, he made a call to BJP leader L Ganesan. Vaidyanathan then prostrated before the Andal deity. He was also garlanded by the priests and given prasadam.

Addressing media persons after the meeting, Sadagopa Ramanuja Jeeyar said, “For the last 20 days, people all over the world are affected and erupting because of Vairamuthu’s harsh words. Dinamani newspaper’s Vaidyanathan has come to the sanctum sanctorum of Mother Andal and apologised for his mistake, for having given space to this (publication) and expressed his regret. He asked Andal to forgive him for being complicit in this sin.”

The Jeeyar also said protests against the poet would continue until Vairamuthu apologises at the temple. The Jeeyar and other local groups have been protesting for nearly two weeks, even going on fasts over the row.

He said, “We believe Thayar (Andal) will correct Vairamuthu too and bring him here. We believe Vairamuthu too will come here and apologise. Thayar will enter his heart. Vairamuthu will come here soon. He will apologise.”

In his speech, Vairamuthu had spoken at length about Andal’s feminist persona.

“The devotion for Andal is like a flood; it is the flood that comes from the mountains in search of a valley. It is unstoppable,” he had said.

Vairumuthu talked about how Andal challenged tradition in the patriarchal 8th century society by saying she would only marry someone of her choosing.

“Andal has always crossed the line that people have drawn for her. A young girl, who grew up listening to praises sung for Perumal by Periyalavar, got involved in divine love,” he said.

Soon after the reproduction of the speech in the newspaper, the BJP and many Hindu groups had demanded apologies from the poet. Vairamuthu had expressed his regret to those he had hurt through the article. He also issued multiple clarifications about his intentions regarding the article.

In his latest video clarification, he had asked, “Is it my mistake that I wished to sing the praises of Andal? Or is it my mistake to research on Andal for three months and gather research articles? Is it my mistake to speak of her glory in Srivilliputhur, the land of her birth, with so much love and the music of Tamil in my words? … My words have been twisted and spread. The have secretly scissored out the word Deva (God) from the word Devadasi. The news spread saying Vairamuthu has called Andal a dasi.”

On January 19, the Madras High Court passed an interim order staying all criminal proceedings against the lyricist and restraining the police from acting on complaints against Vairamuthu. Passing the interim order, Justice Ramesh observed that the remarks leading to the controversy were not Vairamuthu’s personal opinions and that he had merely quoted an American researcher. The judge said that prima facie no case has been made out against Vairamuthu.

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