The state government is sending food grains and other pooja items for various poojas a total of seven times a year

Because tradition demands Karnataka government supplies pooja items to Tirupati templeLeft: Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar/ Mysuru Palace Website, Right: Karnataka Govt. logo/ Facebook
news Friday, September 11, 2015 - 20:06

Apparently keeping up an “ancient tradition” started by the time of the Maharajah’s of Mysore, the Karnataka government has been supplying rations and money to Tirupati Tirumala temple.

According to documents obtained under RTI by T Narasimhamurthy, the government of Karnataka is sending a fixed quota of food grains and other pooja items to the Tirupati Temple and Sri Padmavati temple in Tiruchanur for the last 44 years, for various “regular and special poojas” a total of seven times a year. 

In a government order dated May 18, 2005, the state government said that these items were being sent to the temples as it was a tradition that the Mysore royal family had begun “in ancient times”. The erstwhile Mysore family, however, has a documented history of around 600 years, well outside the purview of the notion of “ancient”.

Bangalore Mirror reports that the practice was started by Raja Wadiyar around 400 years ago, and that the quantity of items shot up during the rule of the Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar.

Noting that there was much confusion over the supplies the government merely fixed the quantity of items to be sent to the two temples in its 2005 order. Among the items its sends are rice, ghee, oil, camphor, salt, mustard, sugar, various dals, rava etc, some of them by dozens of kilograms.

Here’s a gist of the Karnataka government’s annual offerings to the Tirupati temple:

Tirumala Pallavotsava pooja in July: 60 kg of rice, 30 kg of jaggery, 22 kg of maida, 21 kg of ghee, 15.5 kg of urad dal, 25.8 kg of Chana dal, 4.5 kg of rock salt,1 kg of mustard, and other items.

Navarathri Brahmotsava in September: 10 kg of rava, 12 kg of sugar etc and more.

Other poojas for which large quantities of rice, areca nut, turmeric and various kinds of grains are sent are, Yugadi (New Year) festival in April-May, the Annivara Asthana pooja in June-July, and Deepavali festival.

Narasimhamurthy thinks that the government should not be using its funds to furnish supplies for another state when Karnataka itself has numerous temples in need of assistance. “Why should the government spend on cash-rich temples when there are many poor temples in the state.”

Aam Admi Party leader Ravi Krishna Reddy however, was of the view that in terms of financial implications, the amount spent on “tradition was miniscule” compared to the damage that misgovernance and corruption can do.

Member of the Lok Satta party Deepak Nagaraj however, lambasted the state government for continuing with a practice that was initiated by a former royalty family in a Republic. 

“There has to be some rationale if they have to continue something if it is a tradition. The Mysuru Maharajas practiced this because they had some beliefs, or they were going by their whims and fancies. However, in a democratic system it is not acceptable especially when the temple does not belong to the government,” he said. 

He added that mere tradition was no “valid justification” for continuing with the practice, especially when the state had witnessed a spate of farmer suicides.

Muzrai minister Prakash Babanna Hukkeri, refused to comment.