When swamijis decide a State’s industrial policy

The role that swamijis, religious gurus and mutt heads should play in society has been much discussed and debated in the tumultous times of god’s own party, the BJP. Should they cross the seven seas and go abroad? Should they be batting for politicians of their own caste and slugging it out on the streets? Etcetera.

In the past week, that role has been expanded to decide public and industrial policy almost at gunpoint. First Sri Vishvesha Teertha swamiji of the Pejawar Mutt delivered an ultimatum to his friends in the saffron party, on the issue of notification of land for a special economic zone in Mangalore, and had his way.

And no sooner had that objective been accomplished, Sri Siddalinga swamiji of the Tontadarya Mutt was taking up the cudgels on behalf of farmers whose land had been taken for the Posco project in Gadag, and indeed on bahalf of citizens whose lives, he said, were at risk because of the steel project.

On Thursday, a day after the State government of B.S. Yediyurappa beat a hasty retreat first on the Mangalore SEZ and then on the Posco land acquisition after grandstanding on its commitment to the “development” agenda, seers of various mutts convened in Gadag on Thursday to discuss the fallout.

The questions that arise are obvious: what is the expertise of the swamijis in such worldly matters? How does their word become more important for a chief minister than that of other “experts”? What happens to the division of labour betwen “Church” and “State”? And indeed, what happens to a State when swamijis get into other messy areas of public life?

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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Should swamijis travel abroad by air?

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20 Responses to “When swamijis decide a State’s industrial policy”

  1. Deepak Says:

    Damned if you are, damned if you don’t.
    If someone keeps quiet, you say media says he is not discharging his social obligations – if someone says something, then he is interfering in Gov.t business, make up your mind, what you want!!

    And as usual, your church and state comment is a joke. You remember church and state only when Hindu seers are involved, not otherwise.

  2. Pushkar Raghuvanshi Says:

    How much anybody criticized Swami,saints influence is too much on people.People obey them worship them and give more respect to them than politicians, scientists India is extremely religious country There are many reason for that. Main reason is our unpredictable Manson Our whole economy .is depend on Manson if rain not fall there arises famine.Form ancient time people worshiping to Manson,This whimsical nature made India religious.That is why science did not developed,rational thinking not popular in India. People are blind believer. Obey to Saints and Swamis with their blessing there came prosperity.

  3. Vasanth Says:

    These Swamijis are literally holding the BJP Govt. in karnataka. After BJP came to power as expected these people have become very important. This is a very dangerous development. In future these people will pose a big problem for our democracy.

  4. Anil Babbur Says:

    gud article.

  5. Jaya Says:

    Associating with politicians is nothing short of associating with goons. Given the reputation that present day politicians have, you can guage the credibility of so called godmen!

  6. V.R.Anil Kumar Says:

    One is supposed to go a swami or a guru to help realise the ultimate and attain Moksha, not for laying down policies of governance. Rishis wrote Dharma Sutras to guide all public men including kings and heads of state in following Dharma. But they were not part of the ruling class. State & religion should not mix.

  7. Saras Says:

    The farmers are happy they got back their land… so why are you bothered? If you lose your land, your only means of livelihood, to polluting factories, you won’t be talking in this manner. Can’t these bloody industries be raised on barren land?

  8. twistleton Says:

    Eh! If democracy ain’t working, might as well try religion :)

    After all the purpose of religion IS to “lead kindly light”.

    What is required is democracy within religion, but then that’s utopia.

  9. ravi Says:

    Swamis are not deciding the policy, they are responding to some policies and projects. So get your facts right first. What is wrong if they express views and oppose some projects on some grounds.
    If Swami Agnivesh can dabble in so many things why not these Swamis too. I welcome such interventions by them as they are talking in terms of public interest and are not bringing in issues of faith. What is the expertise of ministers in the respective subjects they deal with.

  10. sanjeeva Says:

    The questions posed are silly to say the least. Are not swamijis part of the society? Dont they have brains? Should not they indulge in thinking about the surroundings. Swamiji does not mean that one should go out the city and sit in the middle of a dense jungle. Basically, swamijis are also as concerned about the well being of the people and the state as any other people. As far, “Experts”, being a part of the government system, I know how and why the so-called experts are chosen and what is their expertise. Experts are only technically knowledgeable – thats it. In many cases, even their knowledge stops at the age of 50 and beyond that they are not able to visualise the future even for next five years. Recently one swami at Haridwar gave his life for the cause of clean Ganga. Was he a fool? Is not Agnivesh is involved in social cause? There have been are tens, if not hundreds, of swamijis who have been instrumental in social reforms, much better than any “experts” It is not not proper to belittle them. At least I don’t find any “Nityananda” type swami in the group.

  11. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    We really don’t need to be a Sherlock Holmes to find out why the Swamijis are interfering in the government.

    Perhaps we should try to find out why the NAC interferes in the government. We should try to find out why China, USA and others can push the country around. We should try to find out why top business men and mafia bosses are able to influence govt. policy.

    The bottom line is that everyone, EVERYONE, in the world wants to have a piece of the political pie. All human beings are attracted towards political power as any fly to lump of rotting garbage. So the govt. must be strong enough to keep the non-elected forces at bay.

    If the govt. is weak then everyone from swami jis, to NACjis, to Civil Society jis, to Businessmen jis, will interfere in its functioning. Lets not point finger only at the saffron colour.

  12. Nani Says:

    Swamijis of course are entitled to their views and are free to express them. What is strange is the hold they have on the goverment in Karnataka, with the CM abruptly chopping and changing the decisions already made just because one swamiji or two object to it. This is objectionable.
    Two.The swamijis must decide whether they want to stick to their expected responsibility of guiding their flock in spiritual matters or abandoning that they would like to immerse themselves into a full game of politics. Mixing the two is dangerous. This will only lead to different flocks fighting each other in the streets goaded by their gurus.

  13. sanjeeva Says:

    OM, well said. The government should not only be strong, but also an honest one, with at least few visionary leaders. But to bring such a government, what people should do? Election after election, you are seeing the kind of persons getting elected. And where are the leaders? we have only pygmies called politicians. This situation will continue…. I dont know till how many years.

  14. mussanje_maatu Says:

    the prsesnt BJP government can solve only problems of farmers and seers from lingayath community. POne thing came to my mind what wrong did the farmers of Mysore,mandya do? whose lands are being taken over for Nice Road and townships. Why can’t Government take over the project. The necessity of road is there..but why the hell the land is being acquired for townships? and the seer of vokkaliga community BGS he himself is supporting the Nice project just for the sake of few notes…what has happened for these farmers is very bad.

  15. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    All our usual jibes against the usual run of religious mischief makers notwithstanding, I am glad that some of them can and have made an impact on our lives, however marginal it maybe.

    Now, out of some respect for our Kannada sensibilities can we at least agree to call some of them matha leaders as opposed to the extremely suggestive, and perhaps justified, “mutt heads,” and recognise their good work?

  16. Simple Says:

    Undemocratic RSS is ruling all the states where BJP is in power. The Chief Minister is just namesake. Dummy.

    Is this correct?

    NAC never blackmails like Anna Hazare and the Karnataka Swami’s.


    That is the difference between God’s own party and Aam Aadmi Party.

  17. shivabasappa Says:

    Whoever has written this article has failed to understand the ground realities at least with regard to what happened at Gadag. The seers had congregated at Gadag not to oppose industries outrightly but to oppose acquisition of fertile agricultural lands. And as for the expertise of the swamis is concerned, the seer of Gadag Tontadarya Math, Sri Siddhalinga swamiji is basically a farmer because he himself toiled in sun to cultivate the math land, when he didn’t have funds for the charitable activities of the math. The swamiji may not be an expert like those white collared agricultural scientists sitting in the air conditioned rooms of the agricultural universities working on projects funded by multinational companies. But he surely knows whether the soil is fertile is not because it is the very farmers who donate a part of the earnings after the harvest. The swamiji knows that despite being dependent on rains, the farmers grow at least five crops in a year in their lands, which are descriped by experts in the government as ‘dry lands’.
    The swamiji at least knows that what a steel plant with a thermal power generation plant can do to the farmers and the mineral rich Kappatagudda, known for its medicinal plants, located nearby.
    Unlike the Pejawar swamiji, who has the backing of RSS, the Siddhalinga swamiji doesnt rush to the rescue of Yeddyurappa’s government.
    In fact, the swamiji was the fist to oppose the ‘grants’ being given by the government to various maths in the state.
    I was under the impression that Churumuri doesn’t publish articles written with prejudiced mind but this article made me change my opinion.

  18. Curry Hurry Says:

    “I was under the impression that Churumuri doesn’t publish articles written with prejudiced mind but this article made me change my opinion.”

    Everyday you learn something new. :)

  19. siddu Says:

    good work by gadag swamiji

  20. Shree Kar Says:

    Most Swamis indulge in money lending, laundering, etc. Naturally, they also try to influence policy making.

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