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India: Politicians and officials spend tax payers money on Hindu rituals at initiation & launch of public projects - No one bats an eyelid

by sacw.net, 7 June 2015

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In ’secular’ India politicians of all make and public officials regularly seek the divine blessings in advertised events such as the inaugural ceremonies of state sponsored buildings and public projects and use religious priests to supervise laying of the foundation stones and undertake bhoomi puja (Worship of Earth) for the approval of the supernatural powers with the chanting of prayer. Even Virgins, Cows and astrologers are deployed at these events and no one bats an eyelid. Was’nt the state supposed to steer clear from religion? Why do Hindu rituals get precedence in a country of multiple denominations? Posted below is small compilation of news and reports starting with widely advertised bumi puja for the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. Other relevant material follows

sacw.net - 7 June 2015

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu performing Bhumi Puja at Mandadam village in Guntur district on Saturday. Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar
Photo from The Hindu, 6 June 2015

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Chandrababu-Naidu-performs-bhoomi-puja-for-Andhra-capital/articleshow/47563775.cms

Chandrababu Naidu performs ’bhoomi puja’ for Andhra capital

IANS | Jun 6, 2015, 12.46 PM IST

Chandrababu Naidu performs ’bhoomi puja’ for Andhra capital
Naidu said it would not be a mere administrative capital but a city which will transform people’s live.

VIJAYAWADA: Amid chanting of Vedic hymns, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday performed ’bhoomi puja’ or ground breaking ceremony of the new state capital Amaravathi.

As the clock struck 8.49am, Naidu accompanied by his wife Bhuvaneswari and son N. Lokesh performed the rituals at a colourful ceremony in Mandadam village in Guntur district, about 20 km from here.

Central and state ministers, MPs, state legislators, senior officials and leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) participated in prayers and other rituals which continued for two hours.

A group of priests had started the prayers, including a ’havan’, much earlier as per Vaishnavite tradition at 3 a.m. in the village, located on the banks of Krishna River.

Naidu, his family members and ministers poured cement into a pit to mark the ceremony. A basin made with a kilogram of silver and gold coated shovel were among the masonry implements used on the occasion.

The chief minister later ploughed the field with a traditional ploughshare while his wife sowed ’navaratnalu’ (nine chief grains) in the soil.

Also present were Naidu’s brother-in-law and popular actor N. Balakrishna.

However, the inauguration of the chief minister’s camp office at Vijayawada was postponed as he missed the ’mahurat’ or auspicious time of 10.30 a.m. set by astrologers.

Naidu could not reach Vijayawada on time due to ’bhoomi puja’ rituals.

Addressing a public meeting after the ground breaking ceremony, the TDP chief said the day would go down in the history of Andhra Pradesh as a red-letter day.

He said it was good fortune of five crore Telugus that they have got an opportunity to build a 21st century capital.

Naidu said it would not be a mere administrative capital but a city which will transform people’s live. "It will be a dynamic city, an economic capital which will give jobs to people and a tourism centre."

Naidu said he choose this region for the capital as it was centrally located and accessible from all parts of the state.

Singapore has developed the master plan for Amaravathi. The chief minister said leaders of Singapore told him that Andhra capital would be better than even Singapore.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be invited to lay the foundation stone for the capital on Dussehra.

He thanked farmers for giving their land under the land pooling system for building the capital and assured them that the government will protect their interests.

Central minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the central government would extend all possible help in developing the capital city. She said nobody should have any doubts on this.

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http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bhoomi-pooja-to-stick-to-tradition/article7270303.ece

Bhoomi Pooja to stick to tradition

by P. Samuel Jonathan (The Hindu, GUNTUR, June 1, 2015)

The Vastu-obsessed TDP government is will be performing rituals in full conformity with the Hindu tradition at the Bhoomi Pooja to be held at Thallayapalem hamlet in Mandadam village on June 6.

The land belonging to the family of Bezawada Narendra Babu, ZPTC from Thullur, face river Krishna in the northern direction and the Kanaka Durga temple in the eastern direction.

Mr. Babu has been an active TDP local leader, and his family members have already given away 100 acres under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS).

Incidentally, some locals were of the view that since a cremation had been held recently near the venue, Bhoomi Pooja should not be performed there. However Agriculture Minister P. Pulla Rao on Sunday confirmed that the pooja would be held in Survey No. 134 on the land that belongs to Mr. Narendra and his family. “These are baseless allegations levelled by those who are against the construction of the capital here,” Mr. Narendra said.

Raghavaiah, a sidhanti from Krishna district, who had fixed the muhurtum of the swearing-in ceremony of the State Cabinet last year, will head the team of priests who will perform the rituals on the fields spread across 40 acres at Mandadam.

So, what is Bhoomi Pooja? The Hindu spoke to Srinivasa Ghargeya, once a TDP court astrologer. “Bhoomi Pooja is a ritual performed to appease Bhoo Matha (Mother Earth), as the construction of the capital involves digging and shovelling of earth. It is a supplication to Mother Earth not to react with anger at the acts done to her,” Mr. Ghargeya said.

The rituals to be performed over a period of several hours will include scores of priests rendering ‘Bhoo Suktham’, a special prayer to Mother Earth.

A special ritual, ‘Gomatha pradakshana’, involving five virgins and five cows will also be performed, Mr. Narendra said.

At day break, five priests will first consecrate the cows with vermillion and later walk around the place where the rituals will be performed five times. Meanwhile, the virgins would circle the area sprinkling the earth with holy waters from major rivers.

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Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during an inaugural ceremony to mark the commencement of Nagpur Metro Rail project

http://www.railnews.co.in/nagpur-metro-will-lead-development-city-maha-cm-fadnavis-laying-foundation-stone-project/

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http://ecourts.gov.in/mahasamund/photo-gallery

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Cong performs bhoomi puja for proposed Ambedkar memorial
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 | TN RAGHUNATHA
http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/cong-performs-bhoomi-puja-for-proposed-ambedkar-memorial.html

Bhoomi Pooja Of ICDCS Held At SmartCity Kochi
MI Bureau 13/03/2014
http://www.moneyindices.com/detail_news.php?id=4714

Yeddyurappa performs ‘Bhoomi Puja’ for 4-lane Hubli-Dharwad road
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/yeddyurappa-performs-bhoomi-puja-for-4lane-hublidharwad-road/article1514916.ece

Religious rituals involving 300 priests were performed for five days to the launch of the Delhi International Airport
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/DIAL+goes+spiritual+for+terminal%27s+safety/1/100147.html

The Judiciary: Secular question by V. Venkatesan
http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2806/stories/20110325280604400.htm

A Sense of Humiliation - Why the bhoomi puja in Singur is such a great let-down by Ashok Mitra
http://www.sacw.net/article11252.html