Why did London Swaminathan go to Jail? Who is London Swaminathan-4(Post No.10,322)

WHEN LONDON SWAMINATHAN DID A QUIZ PROGRAMME FOR SIS IN LONDON. I WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF SIS FOR SOME TIME.

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,322

Date uploaded in London – –   10 NOVEMBER  2021         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge.

this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

My father V Santanam, News Editor, Dinamani, Madurai went to prison to teach Hinduism; for him prison was part of his life; He was imprisoned with K Kamaraj, Congress Leader and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He was with him in Vellore Jail for six months.

A N Sivaraman, insisted my dad that he must apply for Tamra Pattayam / Copper Plate for martyrs , as a Thyagi. My father was very reluctant and lazy; ANS chastised him, ‘Throw away your simplicity and humbleness into dustbin and get it now’; my father did not know what to do next. At that time AICC conference was convened in Madurai; all leaders including Mrs  Indira Gandhi were expected to visit Madurai.

So Mr. Kamaraj came to Madurai well before that to inspect the Pandal in Tamukam Grounds. Our Dinamani reporter Thirumalai used to phone my father everyday in the morning about his assignments. Because a reporters’ primary duty is to tell the editor his whereabouts every minute; in case of something big happening my father would give him the priorities in order. Since my father knew that Kamaraj was visiting to inspect the arrangements , he also went there. He told him that he had no documents to say that he was in jail with him. Immediately Kamaraj asked his secretary to write or type (I don’t remember exactly) saying Thiru/Mr Santhanam was with me in jail for six months. It was done in a few minutes time and that little chit with his signature got my father the required Tamra pattayam, which helped even my mother to get the Thyagi pension after his demise. That was his love affair with the Jail.

WHEN I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HONOUR SRI GOPALASUNDARAM , TAMIL SCHOLAR WHO TRANSLATED ARUNAGIRINATHAR’S THIRUPPUGAZ INTO ENGLISH

When he heard that Christian preachers were converting Hindu prisoners as Christians in Madurai jail, my father took it as a mission to visit prison to do some service to prisoners. Our house was frequented by Bhajan singers from Pudukkottai Gopalakrishna Bhagavathar to Bhajanai Swaminathan of TSR and Co (Kumbkonam) agent. Bhajanai Swaminathan was a very good singer. So both of them decided to visit prison to spread the divine music. This inspired me after 50 or 60 years!

When I heard that there was none or not many people to visit Hindu prisoners in England I took it as a mission. When I heard it from Dr Shastri of Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan London, I promised him that I would do it. Then he told me ‘it is not service and I must become a paid employee part time or full time’. I squeezed this assignment with my teaching at SOAS, University of London, interpreting work at Newham University Hospital. Some days I started work at 8 am and finished work at 9 pm. Many a times I thought I am going to faint half way through my lecture at the university but I would survive ; when I see 12 students in front of me  ready to learn Tamil, I would lecture for two hours and when I came back home I would be almost dead. I must be stupid to accept so many assignments. I would honestly tell you I never did these jobs for money ; only out of love for the language and Hinduism.

Now let us go inside the jails.

First encounter with the Tamil Murderers and Drug Addicts.

I became a part time chaplain with HMS Prison Service.

Chaplaincy is not a Hindu concept; it is a Christian concept; priests would visit Christians in hospitals and prisoners and give them spiritual service; Christians have been doing it for centuries; Hindu priests never knew such a thing. They never visit them for anything other than Pujas.  And moreover, even if they are ready to visit Prisons or hospitals they would be seen as ‘untouchables’ in temples by their own colleagues. Now the situation is slowly changing; freelancing priests are ready to take over the job. But by this time Muslims have devoured the money. They chucked out Christian priests and took over all their well paid jobs. Because the prison is full of Muslims! Over 25 % are Muslim prisoners, disproportionate to their population in England!

I was visiting two Detention Centres next to Gatwick airport before visiting prisons. All the refugees or anyone without a valid reason or valid document were detained there. I go there with a tape recorder and Bhajan tapes in Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamil. I talk to them for first half hour and the last half hour I played recorded bhajans.

But prison service is completely different; I was given a walkie talkie and multiple keys. I have to secure those in my trouser belt. I can’t take anything inside. So all the house keys and mobile phones would be deposited at the reception. There is CCTV everywhere. I have to open five or six gates with alternate keys. And make sure they were locked behind me.

One prison had Sri Lankan murderers with long sentences for murdering their own fellow Tamils in London. London witnessed 9 Sri Lankan Tamil murders within a short time. Then a big police squad was set up to stop Sri Lankan Tamil violence and Sri Lankan credit card frauds. For the past ten years nothing big happened.

‘ONCE UPON A TIME ‘, LONG LONG AGO, I WAS TEACHING JOURNALISM IN MADURAI UNIVERSITY EVENING COLLEGE. THIS IS ONE OF THE FAREWELL FUNCTIONS.

When I met the lifelong prisoners they argued with me that I must bring them Idli and other Sri Lankan food provided by the family members. I explained to them all the rules saying I am not allowed to reveal my ID to anyone outside the prison. They kept on arguing in raised voice. That was my last visit to that prison.

In one of the high security prisons, I met one who was sentenced for smuggling and dealing in drugs. He kept on arguing what he had done was not a sin because Lord Shiva also did use opium. I tried to prove him he was wrong. But he gave me one week time/notice to check all the religious books and come back. I went there according to my time table. He was waiting for me. I told him there was nothing in the religious books about Siva and drugs, but he insisted he was right. Then I told him; right suppose I believe you, would you tell me your views on other leelas or miracles of lord shiva. He escaped by saying he had never read them!!!

To cut it short, many idiots are there in the world. You had to tackle them. And in another prison a Hindu prisoner was released after a long term punishment. Casually I met him in London. He told me he had lots of brand new watches and he would spare me some as a token of thanks. He was about to send some to his relatives in India as well.

When I asked him how much he had paid for them, “No, No, they are taken from  a charity shop!”. Someone who went out of business or closed his business for some reason and donated them to a charity where this man was working. This person has taken them home. I warned him that he is going to prison again. His face went pale and asked me “Why Why? Look even after a long prison term your mind set has NOT changed ; still you are stealing charity  property”. When he asked me the next step to do in this matter, I advised him to return all the charity goods to the shop.

Some people are like that; they never learn anything in life. I met a woman prisoner in a jail exclusively for women. That young Sri Lankan woman was sentenced for a minor passport photo fraud. I asked her what god she worship, which temple she go to etc.  she made it very clear that she is completely ignorant about it. A teenage girl had been brought up like that; partly due to Sri Lankan ethnic conflict. After mush persuasion and prompts about what her mother did about religion, she told me when she was young her mother taught her a hymn on elephant god. I gave her enough tips to bring it out. She told me that the short hymn with begin with Vak/ word for Sanskrit. Then I recited the most famous poem by poetess Avaaiyar on Lord Ganesh(Vaakkundaam nalla…..) her eyes brightened and she nodded her head “Yes Yes; that is it”.

LONDON SWAAMINATHAN AT MENTAL HEALTH DAY EVENT

The lesson is Children should be taught good things while they are young. Catch them Young should be our motto. They never forget that even if they go astray.

Whatever prayer I learnt at elementary school or from may parents at school age I remember still; they are evergreen in my memory; for other things I need a printed book.

Right ; I want to suspend my auto biography at this stage because I had lots to write about the Vedas and Tamil hymns. I shall continue when I have spare time. For the next few days, I will post all the pictures with small caption. Even if I lose them in future. I don’t need to worry.

Thanks for your patience!

KANAKA DURGAI AMMAN TEMPLE, LONDON
VELMURUGAN TEMPLE, CATFORD
 AT BHARATI DAY IN COMMONWEALTH INSTITUE LONDON WITH SITA MAMI (MRS SITA VENKATRAMAN SINGING NHARAI SONGS YERA 1990)

TAGS- LONDON SWAMINATHAN-4, BHARATI DAY, PONNADAI, SIS, PRISON CHAPLAIN, HINDU CHAPLAIN, JAIL BHAJANS

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