Feb 29 2012 : AUCTION OF TEMPLE JEWELS
Submitted By Nivedita Sunder Bhagnari at 2/29/2012 8:24:38 AM

LETTER 1

07-12-2011

To

The President

Shree Bhagnari Panchayat,

Kataria Colony,Veer Savarkar Marg,

Mumbai – 400 016.

 

Honorable Mukhi Saheb, Shri Laxmandas Gehi,

Sub:- Auction of Gold Ornaments On January 22,2012.

We have learnt that the Managing Committee of the Bhagnari Panchayat has sought the permission of the AGM held on 09-10-2011 to auction –off the gold ornaments that adorn the statues of Gods in the temple in Kataria Colony, on festive occasions. These ornaments were donated by our grandmother Smt. Jasotibai  to the Panchayat with the specific instructions that they be used only for the above purpose.

Our grandmother had presented the ornament valuables in the presence of Smt. Rani Issardas Kanar (her niece) to the Managing Committee members and our Pandit Shir Ram Maharajji to be held in trust by them, more than 3 decades ago. Sadly, the entire generation of that time has passed away. But the whole community is witness to the fact.

Ms.Meera Kanar, who was a neighbor of Shri. Ram Maharajji, was entrusted with the task of looking after the jewels. But for some reason, she stopped adorning the idols in the Kataria Colony temple  on festive occasions (as was the practice) some years ago, and kept the valuables in her locker. Our family approached her many times to ask her to hand over the duty to us , if she found it difficult (because her health was frail) to carry out this sacred ritual. So did a number of prominent Bhagnari women in the Kataria Colony. But, for some reason, Ms Meera’s answer was always the same ; “Not until I am alive.”

About a year ago Ms. Meera Kanar passed away. Her nephew Mr. Niranjan Kanar (who was a joint signatory) retrieved the ornaments from the bank locker and handed them over to the Panchayat.

In the AGM, held on 09-10-2011,the Managing Committee proposed to sell off the ornaments and the proposal  was passed. We have learnt this to our dismay only a few days ago. Our family was utterly shocked. This important matter was not on the Agenda of the meeting, and we at Sitladevi  did not receive even the Minutes of the AGM thereafter.

How could the Panchayat take a decision on a matter which is of great emotional value to us without even informing us? The ornaments are a family heirloom and have been in the family for several generations. They adorned the temple in Karachi too.

Our grandmother and mother both considered it their sacred duty to carry on the same tradition. We are shocked at the indifference to our feelings.

We the grandchildren of Smt Jasotibai, request you to kindly cancel the auction and hand over the responsibility of looking after the ornaments to us Gangaramani children and of carrying on the family tradition of adorning the statues of Gods on festive occasion.

Since the auction is still about a month away, we the children of Mrs.Sundri Gangaramani,(who was the sole heir of Mrs. Jasotibai)  request you to stop the auction and to hand over  the responsibility once again to our esteemed family. It is our moral and emotional obligation towards our parents and grandparents to carry on this sacred ritual and tradition.  

You are requested to treat this as most URGENT and an immediate response to our request will be greatly appreciated.

Kindly acknowledge receipt of this letter and oblige.

Thanking You,

 

 

Mr. Ramchand Gangaramani             Mr. Mohandas Gangaramani          Mr.Harish Ramani

 

 

Mr. Kishin Gangaramani                    Mr. Sunder Gangaramani       Mrs. Koshi Lal Gehi

_____________________________________________________________________________________

LETTER 2

28-2-2012

To

The President

Shree Bhagnari Panchayat,

Kataria Colony,Veer Savarkar Marg,

Mumbai – 400 016

 

Honorable Mukhi Saheb, Shri Laxmandas Gehi,

Sir,

We have received your Circular regarding the Reconvened AGM of Shri Bhagnari Panchayat to be held on March 04, 2012. In the Notice attached to the Circular you have enlightened the members of the Panchayat on what transpired at the Meeting held on January 22, 2012. We find that there are certain discrepancies and ambiguities in the same, on which we can shed some light, as most of our family members were present at the AGM.

Please consider the contents of this letter, together with our first letter (dated 7TH December, 2011) for the sake of continuity and clarity.

Sir, as per your request we, the members of the Gangaramani family, and Shri Niranjan Kanar, attended the meeting called by you in the Panchayat office on the Jan 17,2012 at 08:00 p.m.At this meeting Shri Niranjan Kanar clarified that it was not he who had donated the ‘Temple’ ornaments nor had he asked the Panchayat to auction them. He had only returned to the Community what the late Miss Meera Kanar had left with him. He also conveyed her message and wish that these sacred ornaments belonging to the temple should never be melted.

We would like to bring to your notice that at last year’s AGM, it was not ‘resolved’ (as your present circular suggests) to auction the ornaments. The AGM was informed about the same. Upon which Shri Niranjan Gehani requested that the valuation of the ornaments be made.

As the Managing Committee requested us to attend the AGM on January 22, 2012, we did so in full strength. We appreciate the fact that at this Meeting we were given a fair hearing by the Managing Committee. Mrs. Bharati Bhagnari (Gangaramani) presented our view. Briefly put, she traced the history of the Temple Jewels, stated their inherent antique and cultural value to the community, and also the sentimental value of the same to the Gangaramani Family.

To the Managing Committee’s contention, that the money collected by selling off the sacred valuables would help the Panchayat’s dwindling funds, she put forth various suggestions for collecting funds, such as holding ‘Bhajan Sandhyas’ initiating charity drives in Mumbai and in Dubai (the Gangaramani family would lend full support to the initiative!) and several other ways.

The argument, that the Panchayat could no longer take care of the Ornaments, was countered by the suggestion that we Gangaramani’s would gladly undertake the duty of looking after the valuables as well as adorning the God’s on festivals (as was the tradition before Miss Meera Kanar  was given charge of them) with the same.

Members present at the AGM were cautioned that they vote carefully, because voting against the  decision arrived at in the previous AGM could set a precedent.---Members could pressurise the Managing Committee to change the minutes of previously – passed minutes. Once again, it may be pointed out that members were hardly aware of what was going on. Your previous minutes were misleading, (in that Shri Niranjan Kanar was regarded as the owner of the Temple Jewels). This is amply proved by the fact, that, for days after the AGM of January 22, 2012, people in the Community were left wondering what the Gangaramani family had to do with a donation made by Shri Niranjan Kanar.!

After prolonged discussion and debating, the matter was put to vote by a show of hands. The number of members who voted in favour of the auction was fourteen. When the members opposed to the auction raised their hands, and from an over-view it appeared that they were equal(if not more)in number, one of the Managing Committee members was on his feet saying that members could not vote thus. Rules and regulations had to be followed. At this juncture, Shri Niranjan Gehani reprimanded the Committee members and asked them why they had not thought about this before the voting began! In the commotion that followed, the Gangaramani family thought it wise to stage a dignified walk-out

After the Meeting we felt that there was a need for Members of the Community to be enlightened on certain matters:-

1)      What is the Constitution governing the Panchayat?

2)      Does the Panchayat’s Managing Committee have jurisdiction over the Temple?

3)      Does the Panchayat have to seek permission of the Charity Commissioner for disposing of any property?

This, and more information, would encourage greater participation and healthy debate among its members.

All said and done we request every member of the community to reflect on this matter and make a fervent plea to the Managing Committee to revise its decision on the auctioning off of these priceless valuables. As you yourself pointed out----it could set a precedent ---- Any donation made ‘in kind’ to the community could be disposed off for the sake of convenience or for funds. In this case, it is all the more ironic, that a Community that prides itself on its religious fervour, regards the Temple premises as sacrosanct; and zealously guards the Satsang Hall by not allowing any alcohol and related substances on its premises, for more than five decades, such a community should shy away from protecting what belongs to the Gods themselves!

Hence, come, WE BHAGNARIS  let us all resolve to cherish and guard this sacred inheritance, this only single physical evidence that unites us emotionally with our history and takes us to the hoary past of more than 150 years! “JEEVEY BHAGNARI”.

Signed

The Gangaramani Family.


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