It has been a month since Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao entered his new official residence, reported to be the biggest and most expensive residence of any chief minister in the country. At that time, KCR had drawn flak for his belief in superstition and 'Vaastu'.
One would think the criticism would have gotten to him. Apparently, not. The vaastu-compliant chief minister seems oblivious to all of it.
On Friday, KCR held a massive house-warming ceremony at Erravalli and Narsannapet villages in Telangana's Siddipet district. This was part of KCR's poll promises, and nearly 500 families in the two villages moved from their huts and 'kutcha' houses into permanent and independent dwellings equipped with all facilities. Under the plan, the government plans to build 2.6 lakh double bed-room houses for the poor in rural and urban areas across the state.
A total of 380 houses in Erravalli and 200 in Narsannapet have been constructed at a cost of Rs 5.5 lakh each. While 489 houses were completed, the remaining are expected to be ready next month.
However, and in what has become synonymous with KCR, no inauguration ceremony would be complete if it wasn't done amid Vedic chants.
As many as 600 'purohits' were hired by the state government for the occasion, with the Chief Minister participating in several rituals. The Chief Minister ensured that the ceremony took place on December 23, at exactly 7.53 am, as it was considered an 'auspicious' time.
Elaborating further, the purohit who was overseeing the ceremony stated that, "Friday is good for Gruha Pravesham and 7.53 am is auspicious as it falls on Chita Nakshatram and Dhanur lagnam. If the ceremony is not done before December 28, then we would have to wait until January 28 as it will be Paushya Masam during which time this ceremony can’t be held.”
Reports also added that Punyahavachanam (a purification ritual), a Vaastu puja, and a Satyanarayana Swamy Vratam was held besides other rituals usually held during a house-warming ceremony.
Even construction for the project began 'auspiciously', on October 22, 2015, when KCR laid the foundation stone on the day of Dasara.
All the houses are also said to be 'vaastu' compliant.
Political watchers say there is a deeper malaise at play here.
"When we look at the mythological stories purely as metaphors for human nature, the storytellers want us to think of some people as 'rakshasas' or antagonists and they have been attributed similar traits across various epochs by various writers," says Padmaja Shaw, a retired professor from the Department of Journalism at Osmania University.
Shaw says that the 'rakshasas', though powerful, tend to be insatiable in their ambitions to conquer the worlds and pray in obsessive compulsive ways to appease their Gods, seeking invincibility.
"You hardly find the story-tellers’ divine characters like Rama and Krishna praying like that. In fact, they are born to annihilate ambitious people who pray too much. I think our politicians need to really understand what the mythological stories are pointing at before pouring public money taken from already impoverished people into yagnas and towards appeasement of brahmins," she adds.
In fact, this was the same village where, in December last year, the 'Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam,' a rare Hindu religious event which is said to grant invincible power, was conducted by the Telangana chief minister at his 120-acre farmhouse, even as the state was plagued with farmer suicides.
Last month, KCR's own 'bullet-proof' house was reported to cost close to Rs 50 crore. KCR and his wife had participated in "Sudarshana Yagnam" conducted under the supervision of seer Chinna Jeeyar Swamy.
As part of the "Griha pravesh" (House warming ceremony), the couple had performed "Daiva Pravesam", "Yati Pravesam", "Go pravesam" and "Pravesam" (formally entering) ceremonies as per the holy scriptures.