Off the record

Off the record

God-men’s ugly war of words

An ugly war of words has erupted, rather ominously, among Mutt Pontiffs in Tamil Nadu over the elevation of the controversial Bangalore-based God-man, Nithyananda as the next pontiff of the ancient Shaiva Shiddantha Mutt based in Madurai, known as ‘Madurai Aadhenam’.

Hurling a deadly blow last week was the Kanchi Mutt Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, who boldly declared that Nithyananda’s new pontifical status in the ‘Madurai Aadheenam’ was “totally wrong and unacceptable”, as the latter did not comply with even basic monastic norms like tonsuring one’s hair.

Jayendra also alluded to a ‘female companion’ accompanying Swami Nithyananda, which went against the traditions of a Mutt whose roots go back to the most revered Tamil Saint Gnanasambandar.

But to immediately strike back was Swami Arunagirinadhar, the present Pontiff of ‘Madurai Aadhenam’, who had anointed Nithyananda as his successor, saying it was “needless” on Sri Jayanedra Saraswathi’s part to “interfere” in their Mutt’s internal affairs.

Nithyananda also joined his new Guru in the counter-attack against the Kanchi Seer, asserting that the latter had been misinformed about actress-devotee Ranjitha, allegedly always accompanying him.

In fact, Nithyananda demanded that Kanchi Sankaracharya take back his words in ten days, even as Ranjitha herself on Friday moved a Court in Chennai with a defamation complaint against Sri Jayendra.  

 M R Venkatesh, Chennai     

Shatru’s prescription

Having stopped smoking long back, actor-turned-BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha is now on a mission to make the world free of cancer and is, therefore, using every platform he gets to ask people to shun tobacco.

On one such occasion, he recently asked the army jawans of Bihar Regiment Centre at Danapur Cantonment to give up cigarette, as there was no hope with smoke.
“It will be glorious to attain martyrdom on the battlefield than to die of tobacco consumption. Shun it and your life span will increase,” said Shatru, the former Union Health Minister.

He cited the instance of a film shooting where he developed breathing problem just after a short fight scene. “It was then that I realised that I should give up smoking before everything goes up in smoke,” Shatru told the jawans who were listening to him in rapt attention.

Having given sermons to the soldiers, Bihari Babu, who is a Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, took a dig at the media too. “You mediamen have all the time to propagate Sheela ki Jawani, Rakhi ki Jawani, but no time to educate these soldiers about Jawanon ki Jawani,” Shotgun took a jibe at journos, even as the audience burst into peals of laughter.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Singhvi visits Rajya Sabha

Abhishsek Manu Singhvi shocked everyone through his presence during the special session of Parliament on the 60th anniversary of its first sitting.  To the surprise for all, particularly the media-persons, he was spotted sitting silently on his seat in Rajya Sabha. He quietly took a look at the people around and fixed his eyes on the Chair. No leader, neither from the Congress nor from opposition greeted him.

Singhvi had asked for a leave for the entire session and was granted one.
“Just see! Everyone seems to be avoiding him. Kanimozhi had a better reception when she returned to the House after a long period in the prison.” a comment sprang in the press gallery.

“He is facing allegations which invite ostracism,” he laughed pointing out to the content of the CD which brought him in controversy.

“These crimes do invite such punishment; you punish someone without declaring any formal punishment. Singhvi is facing a social punishment and no law can provide any remedy for him. In a way, he is helpless,” said a seasoned media person.

Only few months ago considered being the most articulate of spokespersons, Singhvi left the Parliament House avoiding media-persons.

Anil Sinha, New Delhi

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