Madurai

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Nagaikadai Street temple

2019: stolen idol recovered

Devanathan Veerappan, Stolen 100 yrs ago, idol found in wall, April 30, 2019: The Times of India

A 700-year-old idol that went missing from a temple in Madurai in 1915 was found concealed in the wall of an old house. It had been stolen by Karuppasamy, one of the two priests at the temple.

Idol wing police on Sunday retrieved the Dhroupathi Amman idol measuring around 1.5ft and handed it over to the temple, which will be celebrating its annual festival in a fortnight. The temple in Nagaikadai Street is said to be some 800 years old.

Murugesan, Karuppasamy’s grandson, revealed the family secret as he felt the “wrath of the goddess” had caused the deaths of many of his relatives. “Murugesan said he had, as a boy, seen his grandfather and father offer worship to a wall in their ancestral house,” said an officer from the Idol Wing.

Police said Karuppasamy had taken the idol following a dispute with the other priest. Karuppasamy dug out a part of the wall, placed the idol inside and plastered the surface.


Saurashtrian community

The Times of India, Apr 27 2016

Padmini Sivarajah  In the heart of Madurai, voters from Gujarat's Saurashtra play a deciding role. Their hold is so strong that DMK, AIADMK and BJP have fielded candidates for Madurai South from this non-Tamil community , which has lived in this city for 400 years.

“Our community hasn't been represented in the TN Assembly since 1996. So we resolved to vote for that party whose candidate is from our community. AIADMK responded first, naming a candidate from among us,“ says T D Easwara Moorthy , president of All-India Sourashtra dent of All-India Souras Madhya Sabha. After AIADMK named S S Saravanan, DMK followed with M Balachandran and BJP with AR Mahalakshmi. Now, the community will decide who to vote for. The fight for Madurai South has always been about cornering votes of this community , which usually supports a candidate en bloc. Of the 2.2 lakh voters in Madurai South, Saurashtrians number 70,000. Many have a soft spot for the BJP because of PM Narendra Modi. They've hosted him in Madurai twice.But this time, aware that local factors are at play , it may go with either AIADMK or DMK. “BJP's chances look bleak,“ says Moorthy .

Not all may toe the line this time though. T Raja, a teacher, says: “We vote the candidate we have confidence in. We voted communists six times,“ he said.

Madurai's Saurashtrians are descendants of master weavers in the court of Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raya. In the 17th century , King Thirumalai Naicker invited them to Madurai to weave silk for him. “We were Madurai's dominant community till the 1960s,“ says Moorthy . Though hit by the decline in weaving, they still hold land in Madurai, and show off palm leaf pattas (land deeds) the king gave them appreciating their weaving. With the advent of powerlooms in the 1970s, many `pattunoolkaarar' (silk thread people) migrat ed. The richer folk set up engineering colleges for their youngsters.

They no longer depend on their looms, but don't want to lose their deep roots with Madurai or weaving. The reason they want a candidate from their community is so they can reopen their 200 to 300 weaving co-operatives.“Around 30% still weave. Our glorious past can be revived if weaving is invigorated.Only our own MLA can do this,“ he said.

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