Then India Sanmarga Ikya (NZ) Sangam
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723 Great South Rd . Papatoetoe Auckland . New Zealand
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copyright © 1997 -
The Executives, Trustees and members of the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (NZ) Sangam would like to wish everyone a
Happy and Prosperous Diwali
History >> Glimpses from the Past -
(Courtesy of Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam, Fiji Website www.sangamfiji.com)
Speech by Mr G. S. Naidu, former General Treasurer, T.I.S.I. Sangam, Fiji -
The Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam, which officially took birth at the old site of the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple at the Northern end of Nadi Town, some three score and eight years ago on 24 May 1926, is today setting forth into its sixty ninth year of inception. The year 1994 would become a very important year in the annals of Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam's history as this year witnesses the completion of one of the biggest and the unique Temples, which is one of its kind and second to none in the Southern Hemisphere, built along the Agamic principles depicting the very ancient Dravidian architecture which is synonymous to South Indian Culture.
On this most auspicious occasion of the Mahakumbhabhishekam (Consecration and Sanctification)
of the New Temple and the installation of the New Idols of our beloved Deities, it
becomes prudent on the part of the present elders and second generation children
of our forefathers who were brought to this country under varied conditions, from
their motherland, India to work as indentured labourers, who, even though living
in conditions of semi-
The concept of forming this organisation was first conceived by one of our very pious
South Indians, an ex-
All this greatly pained the heart of this pious person and his soul cried to the Lord for guidance to salvage the lives of these poor folks. Kuppu Swamy Naidu, son of Govind Swamy Naidu, at the end of his indenture period vowed to take up the cudgel for the sake of the South Indians and gave up the pleasures of the worldly life, and took up the life of a Sadhu (saint) to improve the lot of the South Indians settled in Fiji. He was a great devotee of Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maha Rishi, Ramalinga Swamigal and Rama Krishna Paramahamsa.
Being an ardent follower of the above named saints, Kuppu Swamy Naidu himself became a Sadhu, and later became known amongst his colleagues and South Indians in particular, as Sadhu Swami. He conceived the concept of a South Indian Organisation and worked towards this goal with the help of other South Indians who could understand his feelings and were prepared to assist towards the cause. Thus people like Messers T.A.J. Pillai, M.N. Naidu, Krishna Swami Naicker, Krishna Reddy, Unni Sirdar, Subba Naidu, Madhavan Nair, Gopal Mudaliar, Sami Nada Moopanar, Murugesan Naicker, Munswamy Mudaliar, Kadirvelu Mudaliar, Keshwan Pillay, Maran, Pakkiri Wattiar, Tataiya Veeranna, Ranga Swamy Naidu, Balasundaram Mudaliar, V.M. Pillai, Arunachalam Pillay, Salim Bukush, Moidean Koya and others to name a few became his very strong followers.
With the help of these great souls, Sadhu Swami established the South Indian organisation and founded the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam after travelling to all corners of Fiji where South Indians were settled, and inspired them to congregate at the Nadi Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple on Swami Vivekananda's Birthday in 1926, where they gave birth to our august organisation which is today know as "Sangam". Sadhu Swami was elected the first President of Sangam and he remained its President for his lifetime.
As usual, the formative years in the early period of Sangam's history had its share of hardship but the arrival in 1937 of Swami Avinashananda from the Rama Krishna Mission of India on the Invitation of Sadhu Swami saw the beginning of the golden years of Sangam. Although he spent just a brief period of eleven months in Fiji, he was able to consolidate the structure of Sangam and lay down the principles on which it was to function. Swami Avinashananda was a person of dynamic personality and an iron will. He was not just a mendicant, but a University Professor and Principal of a University College, which the lay people of that era could not comprehend. Hence he was able to organise the activities of Sangam and have it legally registered as an organisation under the Company's Act, thus legalising Sangam and its community set forth in earnest to IY develop Schools and Temples to foster their, South Indian Languages, culture and religion in all corners of Fiji. Today In Sangam can proudly boast of its 21 Primary and 5 Secondary Colleges with innumerable Temples and Kindergartens spread through out the country.
The return of Swami Avinashananda gave new hope to Sangam for he arranged and sent back Swami Rudrananda to guide and strengthen Sangam and Mr Rama Krishnan B.A, L.T. (Tamil) and Mr Ganeshwar Rao (Telugu) teachers to teach mother tongue in the Sangam Schools, and uplift the general standard of Sangam Schools. They arrived in 1939. Mr Rama Krishnan was the first ever graduate teacher to be posted to Nadi Sangam School as its Head Teacher. Mr Ganeshwar Rao worked with him as his assistant.
As a dedicated teacher the late Mr.Rama Krishnan B.A, L.T., during the few years
he served the Sangam, added new dimension to Sangam activities in schools and among
the South Indian youth. He formed the Youth Wing, known as the Then India Valibar
Sangam, and introduced the Inter-
Whilst the Schools and Youth Wings progressed on the one hand Rev. Swami Rudrananda ji Maharaj concentrated on consolidating and expanding the activities of T.I.S.I. Sangam based at Sangam Ashram at Nadi in the property which our great philanthropist late Mr. M.N. Naidu, a rich businessman, had donated to Sangam, as early as 1928, to become Sangam's first Library, Head Office and also the Ashram for the Swami's to reside at. Noble and very generous gifts of this nature made to the Sangam. earned Mr. M.N. Naidu the title of "Dhaanaveer".
Swami ji concentrated on acquiring properties for Sangam. Freehold lands at Savusavu (130 acres) and Madhuvani, Rakiraki (1037 acres) were bought and the Sangam Sarada Printing Press was started to cope with the educational needs of the Community at large. Publications like "Sangam" in Tamil, "Pacific Review" in English, "JAGRITI” in Hindi, and "NA PACIFIKA" in Fijian were published and circulated to give vent to the voice of the Indian Community as a whole.
Like the Youth Wing, a Women's Wing was also formed as early as 1938 as the Then India Sanmarga Maathar Sangam which launched the very simple and humble charitable task of "Pidi Arisi" (a handful of rice), which every South Indian householder was required to set aside each day for charity before commencing their household cooking. This noble concept was introduced by Swami Avinashananda ji Maharaj as one of the projects to assist in running a hostel for children of poor parents and others far away from Nadi to gain education at Nadi Sangam School, which was the first and largest Sangam School for that time. The hostel was erected within the Temple premises to become a multi purpose building as it served to this date. Of course it is rather painful and indeed a pity to see it being demolished to clear the site. Many students of the Nadi Sangam Hostel, attending Shri Vivekananda High School and Nadi Secondary School will remember the hostel and have very fond memories of their hostel wardens and recollect with some humour all the fun and frolic played in the Temple premises under the very nose of our beloved Deity Lord.
Murugha, and all the sacks full of “Pidi Arisi" they consumed.
At this point one cannot avoid to mention the names of two of our grandmothers, the
late Thirumati Muniammal Naidu and the late Thirumati Sampooranmmal, who became the
total devotees of first Swami Avinashanandaji Maharaj, and then Rev. Swami Rudrananda
ji Maharaj. They dedicated their lives to serve Sangam, and spent their active life
rendering service to the Ashram and collecting Pidi Arisi from door-
The late Thirumati Sampooranammal is to be remembered with deep respect for first contributing funds to build the Shrine for Lord Ganesha at the old site, and later bequeathing her residential block of land in Narewa as a gift to Sangam. It is indeed a pity that Sangam had not been able to utilise this block of land for obvious reasons. However, it is hoped that with the blessings of our new Deities, Sangam would be able to put the place to some good use at an early date. Like these two noble souls in Nadi, many other mothers in different districts toiled for the cause of Sangam and carried out their mission as set by Swamiji. For at that point in time the words of Swamiji were like a command from God for all the South Indians throughout Fiji, because of the esteem in which the Swamiji was held.
These were the Golden years of Sangam. Schools and Temples sprang up in different villages and settlements. Mother tongue was given priority over other subjects in the schools, and the South Indian languages and culture flourished throughout the country for several decades till the Sangam celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1951.
With the advent of changes in the Education System and introduction of new examinations in the Primary Schools, emphasis gradually shifted from vernacular and creative subjects to mere academic pursuits. Preparing students for examination became the hallmark for the teachers, and keen competition developed as to which school got the largest number of passes became the theme for parents, management and teachers alike. This shift in trend became the cause of the gradual demise of the South Indian languages as they were not examination subjects.
Despite this change of events, the Sangam continued its pursuit to provide higher
education to its pupils by becoming the first Non-
The period after the Second World War was a very difficult and challenging era for our small nation and the world at large. There had been numerous rapid changes and advancements in the wake of which old values gave in to the new order. For a Society like Sangam, which depended purely on voluntary selfless service and unity of its members, it became a question of survival itself. Fortunately, the foundation of implicit faith and devotion to gain Godliness kept the pillars of Sangam unshaken despite the very strong and stormy winds of changes.
With the revival of the Annual Convention, Sangam members from all parts flocked to Lovu during the Easter Holidays of 1976 to rejuvenate the Sangam organisation and later in the same year celebrated its Golden Jubilee from 8 to 10 October 1976 at Nadi. Once again the organisation was streamlined and the management commenced functioning smoothly under the new administration.
The next decade from 1976 -
The foundation laid at the old site in October 1976 has today through the efforts
of many devotees and Sangam stalwarts like the late Mr. Shankaran Nair, who assisted
in the negotiations for acquiring this present new site, Late Mr. Raman Narayan Nair,
the first Chairman of the New Temple Construction Committee, in 1983 acquired a lease
for the Crown land (for the new site) and with the help of his other Committee Members
started the reconstruction programme with the Bhoomi Poojai in January 1984, followed
by the Inauguration of Building work by the late Deputy Prime Minister Mr. David
Tonganivalu in April 1984. It was unfortunate that the Late Mr. Nair started but
could not continue as he was called away to perform other official duties overseas.
However, the construction work moved another step forward in 1986 when after the
Sangu Sthapanai Poojai, the work of pile-
On July 31 1991 the Reconstruction Committee in consultation with the Executive Committee
of T.I.S.I. Sangam decided, to save costs it would be prudent to employ a Foreman
and start the work on their own. Likewise, with the help of voluntary helpers like
Messers Venkataiya, Gyan Wardaraju and Navin Morarji (Civil Engineer) to supervise
the Construction, the work of building commenced in stages, and today we have the
Temple proper standing as a landmark with its magnificent sculpturing and artistic
On this most auspicious occasion of the Maha kumbhabhishekam of our New Temple and the installation of the new Idols of our beloved Deities, let us pay our humble homage and tribute to our forefathers and in particular to our founding father Sevaka Ratnam Sadhu Kuppu Swamy, and those other stalwarts who had the wisdom, foresight and courage to establish the Sangam through their sheer selfless service and unlimited sacrifice so that, we, their future generations could receive equal opportunities and be equal or even better than the others. Let us join our hands in prayer and thank those pious souls for the legacy they have left behind for us and may Lord Murugan, from His new abode extend his divine protective hand over all, and give us the courage and wisdom to leave behind similar foot prints like those of our ancestors on the sands of time.
Finally on behalf of the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam, I would like to acknowledge with our deepest gratitude and most sincere thanks the donations given to us by all the devotees in Fiji and abroad, all the Temple Construction Committee members, the Engineer and Supervisors for their voluntary service, all the workers who toiled day after day to complete this phase of the project to the Shilpam from India for their splendid sculpturing fete, the painter for his most Artistic drawings, the Electricians for their donation and installation, and all others who have contributed in many ways towards the completion of our Temple.
May the Blessings of our Lord Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami be upon each and every single individual who have assisted in the accomplishment of this unique landmark for Fiji.
Glimpses from the Past -