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“The last five years, the golden age of the Golden Chariot in Penang Thaipusam”

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Penang Golden Chariot

COMMENT BY PROF DR P.RAMASAMY,
INTERIM COUNCIL CHAIRMAN, URIMAI PARTY &
FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

The last five years, the golden age of the Golden Chariot in Penang Thaipusam

It is regrettable to know that the Penang Endowments Board (PHEB) members might end up giving up the Golden Chariot in favour of the Chettiars. The Chettiars run the other chariot, the Silver Chariot.

It is true that before the arrival of the Golden Chariot, the Silver Chariot was managed by the Chettiar community from the other Murugan temple, opposite the temple owned by the PHEB.

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The Chettiars managed and ran the Silver Chariot as their private property. The PHEB then was too timid to challenge the chariot domination of the Chettiars. Let us not forget, the entire Thaipusam festival is managed by the PHEB not the Chettiars.

The Chettiar temple is a private one.

So, the Thaipusam collections obtained through the Silver Chariot are only accounted to the trustees.

Since the PHEB is a statutory body, the collections during Thaipusam are audited and made accountable to the public.

The PHEB has more rights to run the Golden Chariot than the Chettiars running the Silver Chariot.

There is no such thing as the PHEB surrendering their hard won rights to the Chettiars. There is no such thing as unified procession with only the Silver Chariot making it religious rounds.

Penang Silver Chariot

Chettiars want to go back to the days of pre-2017, with only one chariot, that is the Silver Chariot, making its rounds in the Thaipusam. If the present PHEB board members give in to the antics of Chettiars, then it would be betrayal of the Hindu Tamils not just in Penang but the whole country.

The Chettiars will never agree to a unified Thaipusam procession. As far as the Chettiars are concerned, unified Thaipusam, is just the figment of the imagination of the naive PHEB board members.

The Chettiars want only their Silver Chariot to make it rounds. They don’t want the Golden Chariot.

Now back to the PHEB. Do they want to go back to the pre-2017 days of Chettiar dominance of Thaipusam?

Let not the PHEB members confuse the Hindu public by suggesting Unity Thaipusam.
As far as the Chettiars are concerned, they don’t want another chariot.

The unity cannot be found in allowing the Chettiars the sole domination of running their Silver Chariot.

The Hindu public will never forgive the present PHEB members if they renege their promise to run and manage the Golden Chariot as practiced in the last five years.

The last five years was the golden age of the Golden Chariot. Just ask the Hindu public, they know.

In the broader interest of the Hindu public and the immediate interests of the PHEB, the best solution is sticking to the status-quo.

Let the Golden Chariot, the official chariot of Penang Thaipusam, to leave early morning at 6 am on the eve of Thaipusam to be followed by the Chettiars’ Silver Chariot one or half an hour later.

It will be in the best interest of those in charge of the security in managing the huge crowd during the Thaipusam.

Finally, if the PHEB members give in the demands of Chettiars, they should just resign as commissioners.

It is just not about the chariots, but about the pride and dignity of Hindu Tamils in country.

I will be closely monitoring the situation.

The PHEB commissioners, including the chairman, will be making a grave mistake if they allow themselves to to be influenced by others in altering the status quo of the Golden Chariot.