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Spiritual leader and philanthropist Bangaru Adigalar, popularly known as ‘Amma’ died on Thursday at his residence in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu district. He was 82.
He is survived by his wife and two sons who manage education institutions and a medical college run by the family.
Condolences poured in for Adigalar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin leading the tributes.
PM Modi posted a photo of his meeting with Adigalar on X (formerly Twitter).
“Deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Bangaru Adigalar Ji. His life, rich in spirituality and compassion, will forever be a guiding light for many. Through his tireless service to humanity and emphasis on education, he sowed the seeds of hope and knowledge in the lives of many. His work will continue to inspire and guide generations. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti”, he wrote.
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The leader was known for his revolutionary reforms of allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Shakti temples administered by him and his followers.
India’s first Sikh President Zail Singh took part in a major yagna Adigalar performed in Chennai in 1986 and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi prayed at the Melmaruvathur temple in 1989.
Adigal was of the belief that his spiritualism was to empower women.
Born as G Subramaniam, the second child to Gopala Naicker and Meenakshi Ammal, he was a school teacher.
Hailing from an OBC community, he was inclusive of those left out by traditional Vedic practices in Hindu temples.
He transformed Melmaruvathur into a holy town and also helped in opening medical and engineering colleges along with schools.
The Adiparasakthi temple which he established sees a huge turnout of women devotees, particularly from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
His family and him were raided by the income tax department in 2010 in relation to the Adhiparasakthi charitable medical educational and cultural trust he ran. The department seized ₹13 crore of which ₹9 crore was seized from his house.
In 2019, he was awarded the Padma Shri for his service to humanity.
Stalin announced state honours for the spiritual leader’s funeral to pay tributes to his services.
Recalling his meeting with Adigal in 2021, he said, “While Dravida Kazhagam has been fighting for many years and implementing for all castes to go inside the sanctum sanctorum, the spiritual revolution of Bangaru Adikalar is that he made all the women to go inside the sanctum sanctorum and worship by themselves and deserves to be highly respected,” Stalin said.
Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master’s in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.
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