Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Row over 'First Respect' bans Century-old Temple Festival

Pappapatti is in the news again. This time, it is not over conduct of civic polls due to the panchayat beign reserved for Dalits. The district administration has banned the ‘Periyakumbidu Kidavettu’ festival at the Sri Ochandamman Temple in the village, planned for the first week of June reportedly after 100 years. The reason: three families organising the festival have failed to reach an agreement on who should receive the first respect (mudal mariyadhai)!
Although no official records exist about the conduct of the feast 100 years ago, it was planned to hold the event in a grand manner from June 5 to 7, involving the sacrifice of about 1,000 to 2,000 goats, police sources said.
According to police, the temple is the ancestral shrine of the descendants of one Baga Thevar, who a few generations down the line got separated into the families of ‘Ettu Thevar Vagayara’, ‘Rendu Thevar Vagayara’ — who have settled down in Pappapatti — and ‘Akka Makkal Vagayara,’ settled in Ayyanarkulam village.
A senior official said according to tradition the ‘Akka Makkal Vagayara’ from Ayyanarkulam should apparently receive the first respect. “But the three parties could not agree on this and other minor things like who should slaughter the first goat,” he said.
The three partied have earlier approached the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court and agreed for an amicable solution. However, they went back on the agreement following which the court asked the parties to approach the Usilampatti Tehsildar and the Deputy Superintendent of Police of Usilampatti to resolve the issue and said that a decision would be taken by the two.
Several rounds of talks have failed. “Therefore, we had no other go but to stop the festival as it may create a law and order issue,” an officer said.

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