2.5 Million Ayyappa Devotees Line up with Lamps: ‘Ayyappa Jyothi’ Creates an Unprecedented Expression of Hindu Unity in Kerala
‘Ayyappa Jyothi’, organised by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, witnessed unprecedented participation of women, and formed a 795-km long chain of light between Kasaragod and Kanyakumari
The dusk of December 26 witnessed a luminous and devotional Ayyappa Jyoti throughout the length and breadth of the state of Kerala. At sharp 6 pm around 22 lakhs oil lamps, placed in plates, were lit and carried by the same number of devotees throughout the state. They lined up on the left side of the roads - from Kasaragod to Anakamali in Ernakulam district on National Highway and from there to Kaikkavila, Thiruvananthapuram district, the border between Kerala Tamil Nadu, on Main Centre (MC) Road. From Kayikkavila to Kanyakumari the people lined up on more than 50 km long Thiruvananthapuram - Kanyakumari Highway. 70 % of the participants everywhere was women and young girls. The length covered by the programme was more than 800 km. It was intact with no missing links. The starting point at Hosankidi Sri Dharma Sashta Temple was graced by Yogananda Saraswathi, Kondayoor Ashram head. At Kayikkavila, superstar Suresh Gopi MP lit the lamp.
The programme organised to mark the protest against the CPM regime's continuous efforts to violate the faith and tradition in Shabarimala was a clear warning that Hindus can no more be taken for granted. It refers to the government-sponsored attempts to bring young women to the shrine with the police escort.
The programme was conducted in the most efficient manner sans any sort of traffic block. It was a surprise to the Keralites where a 50 strong demonstration causes traffic blocks in the cities of the state for several hours together. Conspicuous by absence were publicities like bills or posters or writing on the compound walls, mike announcement, sponsored newspaper pages, flex boards and slogans anywhere. Credit for the exemplary success goes to the well-oiled machinery of the RSS, RSS-inspired organisations, scores of Hindu caste organisations, etc. They resorted to mouth-to-mouth campaigns. Hindu women and girls thronged the roads of the state with full enthusiasm, devotion and spirits.
Participation of prominent citizens in the state enhanced the acceptance, colour and charm of the Jyothi. Swami Chidanandapuri (head of Kulathoor Advaithashramam), T.P. Senkumar IPS (former Kerala Police
cheif), Dr. K.S. Radhakrishnan (former VC of Kalati Sri Sankara Sanskrit University), MGA Ramam IPS (former ADG of Police), Fr. Kuriakose (Christian priest), former minister Dr. R Sundareshan Nair, K.P. Sasikaala Teacher (Chairperson, Hindu Aikyavedi), SJR Kumar (Shabarimala Karma Samiti) BJP leaders Adv. P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, O. Rajagopal MLA, P.K. Krishnadas, A.N. Radhakrishnan, Shobha Surendran, RSS leaders P.E.B. Menon, Adv. K.K. Balaram, Gopalankutti Master, Social worker Ashwathi Jwala, Swami
Vivikthananda (Kerala head of Chinmaya Mission, Vivekamrutha Chaithanya of Amruthanandamayi Ashram, KPMS leaders Neelakantan Master, T.V. Babu, SNDP Yogam leader Bahuleyan, Pandalam royal family members Sasikumar Verma and Narayana Verma, Guruvayoor Srikrishna temple
thantri Chennas Dineshan Namboothirippad, Filmmakers Ali Akbar and Rajasenan, Actress Menaka, etc. were some among them.
Naturally, fascist CPM showed its true colour by attacking the peaceful Ayyapa Jyothi manned by women and girls at Onapparambu, Payyannur in Kasaragod district and Perumba in Payyannur. In Karivelloor, 100 strong-armed assailants attacked the participants including women and children. They hurled crude bombs on the Ayyappa devotees. Several of them were injured and hospitalised. The bus carrying the devotees was also damaged in the attack. Still, the remaining people carried out the Jyothi.
Interestingly, CPM leader and Travancore Devaswom Board chairman A Padmakumar told the reporters that Ayyappa Jyothi would help the Sharimala pilgrimage. He was referring to the less number of devotees this year hence the alarming drop in the temple's revenue. The revenue in December 2017 was Rs 164.89 crores whereas this year it is Rs 59 crore, thanks to the anti-Hindu actions of the Pinarayi regime.
Hindu Aikya Vedi state president Smt Sasikala Teacher and VHP State President Shri SJR Kumar told the media that the participation of more than 22 lakhs of people is beyond their estimation. No doubt this shows the rise of Hindu awakening. NSS and SNDP leadership had given green signals to their rank and file to particapte in the event. KPMS, Dheevara Sabha, Brahmins' organisations, Viswakarma Society, etc. contributed a lot for the success of Ayyappa Jyothi.