Sunday, November 27, 2016

Parthasarathy Koil Unaccounted Contributions

With all talks in recent weeks on Unaccounted Money, here is a story on how contributions from devotees go unaccounted at the Parthasarathy Koil in Thiruvallikeni 
I just finished watching PM Narendra Modi’s Mann ki Baat this morning and moved by his passionate speech felt it appropriate to narrate a 3month old story relating to the Parthasarathy temple in Thiruvallikeni. Writing this story (as with the two previous stories on photo menace and high court case) on the Parthasarathy Koil does not give (has not given) any joy for the temple is historical, one that probably has the best recital of the Divya Prabhandham and where the street processions and festivals are organised with great sincerity and devotion. And yet, right in the heart of the city just a few kms away from the headquarters of the HR & CE, affairs are not so straightforward with the officials.

The Samprokshanam of four Sannidhis at the Parthasarathy Koil was slated for Monday August 22, 2016. Leading up to the Samprokshanam was the presentation of all the 4000 verses of the Prabhandham over a four day period. At the conclusion of one of those sessions, at 11pm that Thursday (18 Aug) night, one of the participants in the Prabhandham recital and one who has been bringing together donations for the temple from various quarters came up to me and asked if I could contribute 1+ 6 ceiling fans for the Anjaneya temple opposite the tank on the East side of the temple to be fitted that weekend in time for the Samprokshanam. This was intended to be for the devotees who recite Vishnu Sahasranamam among other slokas at the temple every day.

(Just as a background this person ( who works with a leading air-conditioner company) claimed that he had put together contributions worth over Rs. 50 Lakhs a year ago for the Samprokshanam of the Parthasarathy Sannidhi that took place in mid 2015)

The next morning I checked with a devotee with whom I had been working together on temple support for the last many years on contributing the one fan. She agreed and I decided to contribute the rest of the six ceiling fans myself.

No Official Receipts for devotee Contributions?
These fans were bought and handed over to him at the Anjaneya Sannidhi on Saturday (20 Aug) morning.
He also asked me to hand over the original bill to him so he could get me the receipt for the contribution. I handed him the original bill that same week. For almost two months, I followed up via text messages, voice phone calls and face to face meeting regarding the receipt. The answer was always ‘give me a day or two’. Someone like him who has pooled in Rs. 50Lakhs towards renovation activities not being able to get official receipt for the contributions is a testimony to the accounting practices at this ancient temple.

And then I decided to meet Smt. Jothilakshmi, the DC of the Parthasarathy Koil (she had taken charge a year earlier). When I met her at her office last month, she claimed ignorance about the installation of any new fans at the Anjaneya temple. She instructed her assistant to go and inspect the newly installed fans at the Sannidhi and to hand me the receipt the very next day.

Many reminders (all face to face with her at the temple) later, the receipt is still not forthcoming.  Every time I meet her, she asks 'if I got the receipt' but that only seems like a standard question for she has done nothing to ensure that receipts go to the devotees.

Sources at the temple told me last fortnight that there have been no receipts given out for much larger contributions relating to the Samprokshanams including for any of the electrical fittings or the air conditioners or for any other equipments handed over by devotees. And that it was unlikely that I would get a receipt.

It looks like none of these contributions is ‘accounted’ for at the Parthasarathy temple. At the time of the Samprokshanams and other events, donations are solicited for but rarely do these come into the books or are accounted for. And when a new donor comes forward with an interest to contribute, these old items are just taken away (by whom?) and the new ones installed.

And the clear message is that when receipts are not handed out for contributions (even in the form of physical items) running into several lakhs, why follow up on a miniscule contribution of a few thousands.
PS: On Monday evening, 24 hours after I had written the story, I got a call from the HR & CE department, Parthasarathy Koil asking me to collect the receipt for the ceiling fans. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ENTRY IN THE STOCK REGISTER AND THE RECEIPT FOR ALL THE (PHYSICAL EQUIPMENTS CONTRIBUTIONS MADE TOWARDS THE RENOVATION IN 2015 AND THE RENOVATION IN 2016 THAT RAN INTO LAKHS!!!


Unknown said...

Hi Prabhu,
As usual, a straightforward-no words minced account of truth from your blog! Sincere appreciation for championing for such a cause. We wish the sanctity is restored both in sanctum sanctorum and other areas of operation of this truly great, powerful and beloved temple of all of us. Persons like you really add value to this whole change management and wish more such join to restore the past glory of not only temples but the country as a whole!
Best Regards,
Srikanth Srinivasan

Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu. This does happen. It's very unfortunate. The donors are unaware of what to do and , as in all walks of life , there are people who are indifferent to propriety and exactness.

Anonymous said...

I am stumped. No comments.

Anonymous said...

Sad, appalling, I am at loss of words...
And we talk about our Dharma being invaded by outsiders :(

Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu

It is unfortunate that in such a great and powerful temple, the affairs are not transparently carried out.

Dog said...

Very Unfortunate ...don't put yourself in trouble...u can't win a political battle unless u r in a level playing field.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu

Pretty strong and direct article.

Congrats . . .Not everyone can do this

I am sure you have the conviction and feel for the cause . . .hence it is so clear in words

Keep it going

Shruti said...

Dear Prabhu

This is a brilliantly written piece, sprinkled with personal experiences and bold revelations. While it is an arduous task, blog posts such as yours go a long way in cleaning the system and holding those within positions of authority responsible for their actions.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Man of words... and action too. :)

Anonymous said...

I would ask you to implead yourself into the larger case.

Like you say, it is easy to silence the person who is TALKING now and that is you. But they will quietly hush the 50L up.

If you think impleading would be bringing in more work for yourself, I would say you should spread the word wide among those who are part of the 50L (at least the substantial ones like the ACs etc.) and tell them that you have got your receipt and it is time for them to get theirs too... That way you don't get all the work on your head but delegate it to each and every stakeholder.