Save Kadapa Today To Save Nation Tomorrow – B.R. Haran

As YSR was a Christian (Seventh Day Adventist), he was helpful to Sonia Gandhi in achieving her religious objectives, as evidenced by the growing presence of churches, missionaries and NGOs and their large-scale evangelical activities in Andhra Pradesh during his tenure. The flow of foreign funds for evangelical purposes was next only to Tamil Nadu, which resulted in the purchase of lands and construction of new churches; YSR went to the extent of giving temple lands to them! Renaming a district in his name, however, will dilute the historical and cultural significance of the said district and in due course of time, future generations may lose knowledge of the greatness of the place. This is not only a mistake, but denigration of an historically significant site.

A news item dated 19 June 2010 gave the startling information that, “Andhra Pradesh Cabinet had renamed ‘Kadapa’ District as ‘YSR District’ after the former chief minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, who died in a copter crash last year”.

The Ordinance to this effect was passed unanimously in the State Assembly on 3 September 2009. It may be recalled that YSR had made phonetic changes from “Cuddapah” as spelt by Indologist Charles Philip Brown (district Collector, 1820-29), to “Kadapa” on 19 August 2005

The news item somehow heightened the distaste and aversion for our politicians in general and Congressmen in particular. Few can dispute that the misdeeds of the Congress party under the Nehru family are a major cause of the nation’s suffering over the last sixty plus years. The Nehru family arrogance led it to behave as though the country is their personal fiefdom.

Of the fifty plus years of Congress rule since independence, baring the five-year term of P.V. Narasimha Rao, it has been the Nehru family all the way from Jawaharlal Nehru to the de facto PM Sonia Gandhi. The Nehru family governance has been a show of ugly self-aggrandisement, naming all schemes, buildings, roads, stadiums and everything possible after the ‘illustrious’ family members, thus trying to convey the impression that not merely the party but the whole nation is their personal property. Even Congress Chief Ministers have the habit of naming State schemes and new constructions in the name of Nehru family! Congress leaders have always behaved like spineless creatures, crawling at the feet of the Nehru family, ready to obey orders of their masters.

In this kind scenario, if at all there was a leader who grew more than the party and the Nehru family in his state, it was Y. Samuel Rajasekara Reddy. At a time when the Congress high command was unable to stop the growth of the Telugu Desam Party, was unable to regain lost power, was unable to stop the deterioration of the state unit, YSR Reddy arrived as a blessing. The high command surrendered to him totally as he had the capability, cunning, money, and capacity for hard work. YSR soon grew beyond the party and the Nehru family, and acquired a larger-than-life image in Andhra Pradesh.

As YSR was a Christian (Seventh Day Adventist), he was helpful to Sonia Gandhi in achieving her religious objectives, as evidenced by the growing presence of churches, missionaries and NGOs and their large-scale evangelical activities in Andhra Pradesh during his tenure. The flow of foreign funds for evangelical purposes was next only to Tamil Nadu, which resulted in the purchase of lands and construction of new churches; YSR went to the extent of giving Temple lands to them!

YSR did not spare even the stately Tirumala Tirupati! His government facilitated evangelical activities by releasing a GO saying Bhagwan Venkateswara’s assets were only two hills covering an area of 27.5 sq. kms., and hence the other five hills would be taken over by the government and converted into a picnic spot with multiplexes, food courts, commercial, sports and entertainment infrastructure, including a rope-way to reach the top of the hills!

Mercifully, the AP High Court quashed the GO and the government beat a retreat after fierce Hindu agitations (Judgment of a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court 1997 (2) ALD Page 59 (DB) – Tallapakam Koppu Raghavan Vs State of A.P). On one side he helped the church and evangelists, and on the other side he masqueraded as an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Balaji by taking part in temple Mahotsavams, etc. Through him, Sonia Gandhi also visited Tirumala, “showing” herself” as a devotee of Bhagwan Balaji.

Undeniably, YSR was an able politician; he worked hard and brought Congress back to power; he also brought in a lot of welfare schemes for the poor and downtrodden; and he was able to retain power because of such welfare schemes. Regaining power and retaining it is a big political achievement. But working for the welfare of the state is the moral responsibility and political duty of a Chief Minister. So what’s the big deal? It is equally true that his governance did not benefit all, and he never satisfied all sections of people. In fact, he earned the dislike of a major section of the Hindu majority.

If the Congress wanted to honour the late leader, it could have built a memorial or a library or a sports stadium at his place of birth. It would have been welcomed by all. Or the party could have erected a statue of his at a strategically vantage point in the state capital.

Renaming a district in his name, however, will dilute the historical and cultural significance of the said district and in due course of time, future generations may lose knowledge of the greatness of the place. This is not only a mistake, but denigration of an historically significant site.

Kadapa was part of the Mauryan Empire in the centuries BC. In the 3rd century AD it came under the Satavahana thumb. It was part of Rayalaseema area which was ruled by the Rayulu kings of Vijayanagar in the 16th century. Gandikota fort on the bank of Penna river was the citadel of the Pemmasani Nayaks, commanders of the Vijayanagar army, who won the battles of Raichur and Gulbarga for the Vijayanagar kings.

Kadapa is also the birthplace of great saints like Sri Annamacharya, Sri Pothana and Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmam. In Telugu, ‘Kadapa’ means ‘threshold,’ and the district earned this name as it was considered the gateway to Tirupati/Tirumala (just as Haridwar in the north is the gateway to the Ganges). For centuries, it has been an important tradition for yatris to visit the Venkateshwara Temple at Devuni Kadapa before embarking for Tirumala.

Kadapa is home to the ancient temple at Vontimitta, which inspired Sri Pothana to compose ‘Andhra Maha Bhagavatham’. Historical records reveal that Jyothi village in Sidhout mandal has 108 Shiva lingas on the bank of Penna river within Kadapa district; it is considered the Dakshina Dwaram (southern gate) for the famous Srisailam Mallikarguna Temple (one of the twelve Dwadasa lingas)

The “Imperial Gazetteer of India” in the Digital South Asia Library has the complete details of the historical, cultural and religious significance of Kadapa (Vol. II, pages 57-60).

Renaming a district considered the gateway to Tirumala and Srisailam after an ordinary mortal, that too, a politician-evangelist who tried to christianise Tirumala and destroy its sanctity as one of the holiest shrines of Hindu dharma has hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu majority. Moreover, when we consider the life of YSR (a bloody past) before becoming Chief Minister, it is an absolute sacrilege to name the district after him. It is the worst possible way to denigrate the district and insult the people of the district.

This practice of naming and renaming roads, institutions, or places, is not a new affair. It has been happening for centuries right from the Islamic invasion (Moghul period) to the Christian (Portuguese, Dutch, French and British) onslaught. The great temples and other cultural and religious symbols have been destroyed and alien worship places constructed in their place. Religiously and culturally significant sites have been renamed after those rulers, their gods and prophets. Even after independence, as this nation is ruled by unpatriotic politicians with no passion for our timeless culture, they have made no effort to restore the religiously and culturally important places so that the present and future generations can learn of the greatness of our tradition and culture. Instead they continue the ugly culture of self-aggrandisement.

Sadly, Indians look up to the symbols of slavery as symbols of culture and heritage due to the slavish mindset created by a thousand years of Islamic and Christian aggression, and also due to the continuance of the British system of education. This mindset is a stumbling block in our attempts to rewrite true history and teach it in the school and university curriculum. This very attitude prevents us from imparting historical, cultural and religious facts to the next generation. Present day politicians and rulers mindlessly continue on the same path laid by alien rulers, serving no national interest.

We are fed up with seeing everything under the sun named after these self-serving politicians and cannot keep quiet when a historically, religiously and culturally significant district is renamed after an ordinary politician. This act by the AP government violates ‘Fundamental Duties’ enshrined under section (f) of Article 51 A of the Constitution, which says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.”

If we tolerate the renaming of Kadapa today, tomorrow we may be forced to accept the renaming of Thiruvarur or Nagapattinam as “Kalaignar Karunanidhi District” or the renaming of Delhi as “Rahul Gandhi City”!

Hence it is the fundamental duty of each and every one of us to protest the renaming of Kadapa after YSR.