02 December 2008

Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati - 2

Kandhmal's Father

- Was a friend, philosopher and guide for the tribals. Often accompanied them to government offices and police stations so they would not be exploited.
- Pioneered forest conservation in the district. Declared forest as the village property.
- Believed in the conservation of tribal culture. Restored the tribal deity-place (Dharani Penu, or Mother Earth) in tribal hamlets. Conducted several rath yatras among the tribals to create awareness about their culture, traditions and rights.
- Staunchly opposed cow slaughter. Toured Orissa many times taking the message of cow protection to the people. Staged several dharnas, protests and hunger strikes over the issue.
- Was a formidable force against conversions by Christian missionaries in the district. Believed that conversion uprooted the tribals from their culture and their land.
- Convinced repentant converts, who had been converted by fraud or inducements, to go back to their original religion.

Is it any wonder that the tribals of Kandhmal worshipped him as a living God? Is it any wonder that they responded with such fury when their beloved Swamiji was so brutally murdered?

*Source: Truth Behind Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati's Murder (Publishers: Viswa Sambad Kendra, Bhuvaneshwar)

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