The man who fought and won the right to recite verses from Thevaram at the Natarajar temple’s Thiruchittrambalam stage, Arumugasamy (96), died on Saturday afternoon at his daughter’s house in Cuddalore.
Arumugasamy was a native of Kumudimulai village near Kurinjipadi in Cuddalore district. Due to his fondness for Tamil hymns Thevaram and Thiruvasagam he had gone to recite verses from them in the Natarajar temple at Chidambaram in 2000.
But he was beaten up by the dhiksitars. The issue had drawn public attention.
Advocate Thirumarban, who appeared for Arumugasamy in the court, recalled, “Since then he fought until the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department of the State government issued an order in 2008 in his favour. In the meantime, there was a series of fierce protests, legal struggles in Chidambaram court and the High Court, mass movements and so on.
“Reciting Tamil hymns in the temple in Tamil Nadu is our right. That too, he wanted to sing Thevaram verses only on the stage (Thiruchitrambalam) before Lord Natarajar.”
“When Arumugasamy went to the temple with the order from the HR and CE department’s secretary to sing Thevaram verses, the dhiksitars strongly opposed it. Despite this, with the help of the police protection, he successfully recited the Thevaram in 2008. Police registered cases against the dhiksitars for not allowing Arumugasamy to recite Tamil hymns,” he added.
In the same year, the then chief minister M Karunanidhi had announced 3,000 as monthly financial aid to Arumugasamy, in the Tamil Scholar category.
Advocate Raju from Vriddhachalam, who coordinated the protests at that time, said, “Starting from 2008, Arumugasamy had been going to Natarajar temple every day to recite Thevaram until his health gave in. He never gave up that right even though the dhiksitars kept posing disturbances upon him.”
One of Arumugasamy’s relatives said, “For the past few months, he could not go to the Natarajar temple as he was very sick. Earlier, he used to go to the temple every day and sign Tamil hymns. He died on Saturday afternoon at his daughter’s house in Cuddalore.” His last rituals would be held at his native village on Sunday.