A Post Man and a Prohit

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Today Dhimbatty (Kotagiri) Sri Ramakrishnar temple celebrated its 12 year of consecration of the new temple. There is an interesting history behind that temple.

It was established by my maternal grandfather D. M. Nanjaiah, who considered himself a ‘devotee’s devotee’. He was a postman by profession. He became a self-taught prohit following his long association with Brahmin officials. He became a devout Vaishnavite in a community which was largely Saivite by practice. 

In 1942, Swamy Chidhbavananda started the Sri Ramakrishna ashram at Ooty. Influenced by him my grandfather built his own Krishna bhajan-temple around 1940s to spread the Krishna cult in his and surrounding villages. The consecration was attended by many swamijis from Sri Ramakrishna mutt, including Swamy Chidhbavananda. The bhajan temple was also name after Sri Ramakrishna. The temple carries inside the sanctum sanctorum a portrait of my grandfather taken in Pandarpur in 1930s. Even in those days he regularly visited Tirupati and other vaishnavite temples.  

His only worldly possession was a copy of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. He was a gifted bhajan singer and popularized many hymns in Tamil among the local youth which are sung to this day. His moving rendition of Nandanar epic is recalled even now. 

My grandfather conducted hundreds of poojas and marriages insisting on the use of mangalasutra. 

Dharmalingam Venugopal

The Honorary Director of the Nilgiri Documentation Centre is Dharmalingam Venugopal, a native of Nilgiris, an Economist and an Environmental Activist and founder of Save Nilgiris Campaign and Managing Trustee of Nilgiris Documentation Centre.

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