Tribesmen seek right to light lamp at Sabarimala
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Last Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 15:46
Kottayam: The 'Mala Araya Mahasabha' (community of tribals) has appealed to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the Sabarimala shrine, to restore their right to light the holy lamp at Ponnambalamedu on Makaravilakku day during the pilgrimage season.

Since all relevant truths related to lighting of the lamp on Makaravilakku day, which falls on January 14, stand settled, the tribesmen should get the right to perform the ritual, P K Sajeev, MAM Secretary told reporters here.

He claimed the tribesmen were denied the rights to light the lamp with the setting up of the TDB in 1922.

Welcoming the statement of Tantric Kandararu family members, who have the right to perform poojas at Sabarimala temple, that Makaravilakku (deepam) was man-made, Sajeev said rituals should be performed jointly by the temple priest and Mala Araya community members at Sabarimala.

The tribesmen, who were dwelling in and around 18 hills in Sabarimala region, were asked to vacate the area by Devaswom and forest officials, he alleged.

On April 25, the TDB, which administers the hill shrine, admitted in the High Court that the celestial light "Makara Deepam" over the famous Lord Ayyappa temple that many believe is a divine phenomenon, was man-made.

The disclosure made by TDB in counter affidavits said the 'Makarajyothi is the 'star' seen at the time of Deeparadhana and it is not due to any human intervention.

It submitted that the popular belief is that tribals residing there light the lamp at Deeparadhana time in memory of the religious rites performed there earlier. The light was being seen even before the Board's formation in 1949.

"It is well known that adivasis were performing poojas earlier at Ponnamabalamedu and it is even now being continued through other agencies", the affidavit by TDB said.

The Board's assertion came amid a fresh debate on the genuineness of the celestial light after the stampede on January 14 night this year at Pulmedu near the shrine in which 102 pilgrims were killed when thousands of devotees were returning home shortly after witnessing the spectacle.


First Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 15:46

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