Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Only in Chennai: Centres of Faith

We're so religious that we have pictures of god(s) all over our home, places of work and education also. Children and enterprises are named after god(s). We carry images in our vehicles, key tags, purses. Maybe this is why they say GOD IS EVERYWHERE!

Why leave out the roads somebody thought and now we've a roadside temple in every area. With progress and an ever increasing human and vehicular population these unapproved structures built on public roads invariably become hindrances to the free flow of traffic. By the time the government wakes up to the traffic snarls in the area someone or the other considers the deity 'powerful' and becomes attached to it and the invariable protest when removal of the illegal structures is ordered. With successive governments that have single mindedly pursued power and votes such temples have flourished for fear of antagonising those who are attached to the temple.

While most people are familiar with roundtanas / traffic parks in the middle of roads, but temples?! Only in Chennai do we find such centres of faith occupying not only the centre of our hearts but also the roads too! While visitors to Chennai gape in wonder, this is one of those things that sets Chennai apart from the rest of the world!.



East Coast Road, Thiruvanmiyur



Kotturpuram

As has been the trend recently, it's most often the judiciary that has come to the rescue of the harassed common man. Last year when the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court ordered the demolition of all structures (more than half were temples of course!) that interfered with flow of traffic, many had hoped for similar measures in Chennai, but the wish has remained unfulfilled. A glimmer of hope last week when the courts ordered the demolition of a temple in the middle of the road in Ashok Nagar, we hope for the sake of Chennai that there's many more such orders to come.

NOTE: If you don't understand my disgust of this Chennaiist, try living on a street with three road side temples and a Church!
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