In 47 temples of Tamil Nadu, devotees will have the option to pray in Tamil from tomorrow as the Chief Minister MK Stalin-led DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) government introduced “Annai Thamizhil Archanai”, which means “prayers in mother tongue Tamil”. Temple priests have been given a refresher course in how to conduct Tamil prayers and their names and mobile numbers will be displayed at the temples in order to help devotees who wish to use the option.
While launching this at Chennai’s Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments PK Sekar Babu said, “This idea was conceived in 1974 and we have had this in the state in the past. Now we have implemented this as advised by Chief Minister MK Stalin. This would satisfy all sections and will not cause any problems.”
The existing option of praying in Sanskrit will continue.
Sowmya Shankar, a social worker in Chennai who worships at Mylapore temple, said she would take this option.
“When we understand the priest’s prayers it would be more meaningful. In the case of chanting in Sanskrit, not all would be able to understand or relate,” she said.
Geetha Muhilan, an entrepreneur, said, “It is a matter of faith and language hardly matters. This doesn’t add any value for me.”
The Tamil Nadu government hopes to expand the Tamil language option to all temples in the state after training priests. Politically, the DMK has been opposed to imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit in the state. In the 1960s, the party’s anti-Hindi agitation catapulted it to power.