VIJAYAWADA: Covid-19 pandemic was hard on everyone, more so during lockdown. This is especially true in professions like archakas in small temples and purohits (priests), who earn almost on a day-to-day basis, barring a few. This was also the period which brought out innate helping nature among people. The USA-based Viswa Veda Parayana Brindam, Hyderabad-based Veda Vyasa Varadhi and Tarani, the three organisations have come to the rescue of archakas and purohits in different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during crisis by distributing ‘Swayampakam’ kits, which is a package of 15 different essential commodities to sustain during Covid times.
The programme, taken up in over 20 districts, saw 1,800 kits, each valued at Rs 1,000, distributed to the needy families of temple priests and purohits. The three organisations on a single platform, have now shifted focus from urban areas and are focusing on remote villages in rural Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The target is to distribute around 3,000 Swayampakam kits by March so as to help the poor priests and archakas sustain during the crisis and get back on their feet.
“We have set ourselves a target of at least 50 kits per district in both the States. In AP, we have covered Krishna, West Godavari and a few places in East Godavari till date,” explained R Sunder Lakshman, secretary and treasurer of three organisations.Speaking to TNIE, he said Swayampakam kit, which is a reusable bag, consists of 7-8 kg of rice, sufficient quantity of sugar, different dals, tamarind, oil and other essentials. “Our organisations are only acting as a medium between the donors and the beneficiaries. When we made our intentions clear on different fora, there was an overwhelming response and several people came forward to help the poor archakas and purohits from across the two States and abroad,” he explained.
According to him, the donors contributed from Rs 500 to Rs 1 lakh and above for the cause and the entire process of the donation and distribution of kits to the beneficiaries is being done in a transparent manner. M Chandramouli, an NRI, who has his roots in Nandigama of Krishna district, decided to support 100 people in his native and has been doing so for the last five months, he said.
Explaining about Tarani, Lakshman said it was started by retired IAS officer PVRK Prasad in 2012 with an objective to protect and propagate Sanatana Dharma and the organisation presently headed by Siva Ram, a chartered accountant from Guntur, has taken measures to ensure support for poor archakas and purohits.
Self-employment schemes like tailoring, photography and others were started and a support system for single women and widows was created. Interest-free loans are provided to those pursuing higher education, with a facility to repay the loan, once they start earning, so others like them too can fulfil their dreams. Tarani has been supporting 30 archakas and purohits economically and has so far spent Rs 9 lakh for the same.
Similarly, Viswa Veda Parayana Brindam, which also focuses on promoting Sanatana Dharma and Vedic education was started by Raghu Chunduri in 2019. With the help of like-minded people like Naga Chadalapaka, Raj Julakanti, Sadasivam, Sunil Vakkalanka, Mahesh Puducheri, Srinivas Aluri, Sridhar Tadepalli, Prabhu Narumanchi, Chalapathi, Jitendra Khandrika, Chandrasekhar Gannavarapu, all NRIs in the USA, Raghu has been striving for the betterment of archakas and purohits. The organisation is supporting 140 Vedic students in six different Vedic institutions. Likewise, Veda Vyasa Vidya Vignana Varadhi in the last one decade has provided scholarships worth Rs 1.5 crore to 350 students.