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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Government Attempts ISKCON Secunderabad Demolition, Taught A Befitting Lesson

Thursday, 20 November 2008 / Published in Appeals / 9,258 views

By Sahadeva dasa

In order to turn the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad overnight into a London or Newyork, the zealous Andhra Pradesh Government invoked Land Acquisition Act on ISKCON Secunderabad Temple on 5th Novemeber affecting the temple and most of its land. This was done to widen the main street on which ISKCON Secunderabad temple is situated. We pleaded with the Government to revoke the order but our pleas fell on deaf ears. The Government and officials even refused to meet with the devotees, let alone revoke the order. Shockingly and surprisingly, other religious structures on the same stretch never received any demolition notice. To make the matters worse, the unmannerly officials even came inside the temple to measure it (of course they were duly chased out).

Completely cornered, the devotees of the twin cities, Secunderabad and Hyderabad decided to go public. Massive propaganda all over the city was arranged and in no time all many Hindu groups and political parties came on board. Indian Opposition leader, Mr L.K.Advani, who had come to the city for a few hours to address a rally, met the devotees, leaving aside all his engagements. A press conference was called to announce the launch of statewide ‘Save The Temple Movement’. The media sprung into action and soon it was an ‘issue’. At the conference, the 19th of November was announced as the date for a massive demonstration to highlight the government’s gross insensitivity, injustice and discrimination.

On the D-day, at 9.30am sharp, three thousand chanters came to the Collector’s office. The crowd included devotees from ISKCON Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Rajamundry, Anantpur, Tirupati and hindu sympathizers. Andhra Pradesh ISKCON leaders like HG.Vedanta Caitanya das, HG.Satyagopinath Das, HG.Srivatsa Das, HG.Mahasrnga Das were present and put in their best efforts. Who’s who of hindu organizations and politicians were present with their full entourage. Hundreds of enthusiastic matajis and kids deserve special mention. The entire traffic came to standstill and the police cordoned off this main thoroughfare and the city froze…….for the next 7 hours.

What was planned to be a 1 hour affair turned into a 7 hour affair with the Government eventually backing down. The Collector told the police that he will not go to meet devotees but devotees were insistent that they will not go to his doorstep. Finally the Collector had to come to the devotees and he assured the devotees that he would not take any untoward step in this direction.
All the TV Channels telecast the demonstration live and the entire print media was present. Newspapers are filled with front page coverage. And the holy name reverberated in many millions of homes in India through television.

Prasadam and drinks were continuously distributed and even the police enjoyed the chanting and prasadam to their heart’s content. There were times when the kirtana was slowing down and the police would indicate with body language and hands, “keep going man, keep going”! Newspapers are splashed with photos of both Hindu and political leaders (which include MLAs and MPs) putting on tilaka, dancing with karatals and taking lunch prasadam sitting down on the busiest thoroughfare of the city.

To conclude, the Andhra Pradesh Government’s attempt to seize ISKCON land seems to have been averted or at least postponed for an indefinite period but still we have to watch out and I request the worldwide community of devotees to stay tuned in and lend us sympathy and support as and when needed to protect Srila Prabhupada’s temple. Devotees here are determined to never ever take such a move against Srila Prabhupada’s movement lying down.

On the Path of Light: Trials, Temptations, Success
NASN October 2008 - North American Sankirtan Newsletter

4 Responses to “Government Attempts ISKCON Secunderabad Demolition, Taught A Befitting Lesson”

  1. scooty.ram says :

    “In order to turn the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad overnight into a London or Newyork…”–this is indeed true and i personally dont have anything against this.
    The world is moving towards such kind of development and it is humanly impossible to control large minds which desire such a change.
    Specifically Hyderbad had developed amazingly better and their new airport is on part with San Francisco airport(atleast the design and size).
    Ofcourse there are always some problems to new ideas!

    I knew and have seen roadsize enlargement in that whole stretch.It indeed made the city more neat and good. Traffic was better controlled(though not completely)

    Though i see that there might be a valid reason for government to request occupants to evacuate for such reasons(expanding the city),it is not proper to show any partiality .

    I remember there is a huge church(beautiful) across iskcon and i am not sure if demolishing those were also part of the plan.It wont be suprising to see such partialities!

    “The Government and officials even refused to meet with the devotees, let alone revoke the order. Shockingly and surprisingly, other religious structures on the same stretch never received any demolition notice.” says it all.

    It was indeed a nice opportunity to preach and ISKCON did it well.It must have given a good exposure.From the report, i understand that the protest was done in a more harmonious and cultured way. Great Job!

    If the situation turns out that it is inevitable and that ths structure should be removed,then ISKCON needs a better place to continue their service.
    I donno what Indian law says about moving or demolishing Structures like temples, schools etc.


  2. Akruranatha says :

    Let’s continue to hope and pray that the protest’s apparent success lasts, and the government does not change its mind again.

    Isn’t there some way the wider road could go around established sacred buildings without any demolitions of places of worship? I know it is probably expensive to redesign and also may involve condemning someone else’s property or home, but government should be careful not to step on the valuable religious culture of the people. If there is some economic impact from redesigning, it is not the fault of those who insist on preserving the temple, but of those who accepted a design that required destruction of the temple in the first place.

    I read someone’s article against the demolition, which expressed some criticism that this is at least partially due to Sonia Gandhi’s being a Christian and not a Hindu. I had to laugh. I cannot believe it really comes down to anything like that. :-)

    But it is probably true (I know nothing about Indian politics and have never paid attention or even read the local newspapers on my few visits for pilgrimage) that the Congress Party, in its quest for developing India’s economy along the lines of other modern industrialized nations, tends to be insensitive about or even frustrated with the deep religious sentiment of the largely Hindu population, which stands in the way of their idea of progress and scientific rational modernity. This has been going on even from the time Nehru was P.M.

    It would be a shame if the political leaders of India do not recognize the importance of Vedic spirituality as a great Indian gift to the whole world. The Vedic spiritual culture is so obviously a great treasure, India’s greatest cultural asset, but polititians get the wrong idea and are embarrassed about it. It is as if the government of Italy thought all that Renaissance art and architecture was holding back progress and an embarrassment that has to hidden, neglected, ignored and subverted.

    Srila Prabhupada demonstrated how, when properly presented, the Vedic culture of India will show the way forward for all human civilization, without the chauvinisms and superstitions often associated with “religions”. Any sane Indian government, whether National, State or Local, should bend over backwards to support ISKCON, within the limits of what may be possible without offending other religious communities or legal notions of secularism.

  3. scooty.ram says :

    There had been news or rumours that people was trying to get a church on the tirumala hill.
    Anything is possible with money .Christian missionaries conduct most of the their conversions through money. :-)

    Yes , i wish Andhra government had consulted Iskcon Secundarabad before attempting such a demolition.

  4. akhandanandrgg says :

    All Glories to Srila Prabhupad!

    Great, taking into account the ever-increasing infuence of Kali-yug on these administrators, we need to be more organised, connected, sharp but heavy on such non-sense. More & More youth should develop interest in Journalsim, Civil, services and also Raj-Dharma administration and leadership rather than the regular-professions to be keep the minimum required control on the demoniac policies.

    We need to be Kshatriyas and Brahamnas simultaneously.

    Keep Going Andhra Devotees. You have set an example for all . We are with you behind and Krishna above.