The heated exchanges of words between Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and self-styled godman Jaggi Vasudev have been getting fueled by incessant accusations on both sides. The finance minister has directly attacked Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation, as a commercial operator and a publicity hound. Thiaga Rajan has slammed Jaggi Vasudev as a violator of the law.
The finance minister had put out the remarks during an interview with The Hindu. Thiaga Rajan was answering a question on the demand made by several Hindu outfits including Isha Foundation to free the temples in Tamil Nadu and hand over their control to the devotees and temple managements. They had claimed that the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, which currently manages the temples, is not properly managing temples.
The demand from the Hindu outfits and Jaggi Vasudev was asked to Palanivel Thiaga Rajan in the interview during which the newly appointed finance minister said, "In the case of Jaggi, he is a publicity hound and charlatan who is trying to find another angle to make more money". He asked "Will a godman, who is focused on god, be selling Sivarathiri tickets for Rs 5 lakh, Rs 50,000, and Rs 5,000? Is that a sign of a man of god? Is that the identifying mark of a spiritual man? He is a commercial operator pretending to use god and religion to get help."
Responding to the finance minister's comments, the volunteers of Isha Foundation has said, "We regret the deterioration of this culture and the poor standard of public discourse. This is certainly unbecoming of an elected representative and an honourable member of the State's Cabinet." The statement from the volunteers said, "We are appalled that a man of his (Vasudev) stature has been subject to the Minister's unparliamentary and uncalled for the personal attack in a recent media interview, calling him a publicity hound and a commercial operator."
The statement further reads, "It is deeply unfortunate that a person holding high public office should resort to name-calling of a highly respected public figure. This unseemly attack trivializes the efforts and dedication of millions of Isha volunteers worldwide who are working tirelessly in service of humanity." The statement said, "In true democratic spirit, Sadhguru and Isha Foundation have worked with various elected governments from across the political spectrum and will continue to do so for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu."
"Co-operation and support have been the nature of our relationship with every government. We regret the deterioration of this culture and the poor standard of public discourse. This is certainly unbecoming of an elected representative and an honourable member of the state's cabinet", the statement added. However, Thiaga Rajan has reaffirmed his stand on Monday and said that Jaggi Vasudev is a violator of the law and will pay sooner or later.
On Monday, Malani Parthasarathy, the Chairperson of The Hindu Publishing Group, had tweeted the open letter by Isha volunteers. Responding to the tweet, Thiaga Rajan said, "I slept @1.30 and woke @ 4.45 am to ensure Madurai has adequate oxygen supply. I'm loath to engage in this charade...but 2 Last points. Jaggi Vasudev is a violator of the law and will pay sooner or later. Malani needs professional advice/counselling to not destroy The Hindu brand."
In the interview, Thiaga Rajan further questioned, "Who will create a committee? Who will decide the eligibility criteria for electing a member to the committee that is going to manage the temples outside the government? Only from the village where the temple stands or from outside?" Tweeting the interview article, N Ram, the Director of the Hindu Publishing Group said, "It's about time the ways of the Isha Foundation and Jaggi Vasudev were investigated, under the rule of law."
It’s about time the ways of the Isha Foundation & Jaggi Vasudev were investigated, under the rule of law: pic.twitter.com/m1lqNcjzSv— N. Ram (@nramind) May 17, 2021
I slept @ 1:30 & woke @ 4:45 am, to ensure Madurai has adequate oxygen supply. I’m loath to engage in this charade...but 2 LAST points— Dr P Thiaga Rajan (PTR) (@ptrmadurai) May 17, 2021
Jaggi Vasudev is a violator of the law & will pay sooner or later@MaliniP needs professional advice/counseling to not destroy @the_hindu brand https://t.co/oL2gAC6PNk