On September 1, when M Muthupandi, an IT employee working in Chennai, reached his nondescript village of Old Silukkuvarpatti, for a moment he thought he lost his way in a maze of saffron flags and pandals.
“The place looked like a sea of saffron — the village entrance festooned with saffron flags, pandals in saffron hue and devotional film songs blaring from loudspeakers."
There were more surprises in store for him the next day — a giant statue of Pillaiyar (Lord Ganesha). This, Muthupandi says, wasn't a common practice in the village, nestled between Madurai and Dindigul districts, with a disparate population until last year.
It was only after some young boys told Muthupandi, he realised that the othwerwise quaint village was 'seized' by the Hindu Munnani — a frontal organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — for Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations. “After speaking to some village youngsters, I understood that finally the Hindu Munnani has managed to infiltrate into the village through the Pillaiyar,” Muthupandi adds.
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