For the son of a former police constable to make the second-highest offering to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala after the kings of Vijayanagar is quite an achievement indeed. But the offering of a 2-foot-tall diamond-studded golden crown weighing 34 kilogram and worth Rs 45 crore by the Karnataka tourism minister G. Janardhan Reddy raises troubling questions.
The first is the mind-numbing ostentation of a public representative with none of his brethren questioning its propriety. The second is the source of the funds for a donation of this size with none of the authorities questioning it. Reddy and his mining brothers have ravaged and pillaged the divine designs of nature in Bellary district to make their trillions. Will even a dozen diamond-studded gold crowns make up for the irreparable damage?
And above all, there is the standard question about temple (and church and mosque and fill-your-place-of-worship-here) donations. Despite Tirupati’s hoary past, are obscene donations like these to already-rich places of worship the only way to earn divine sanction for deeds past, present and future? Or is this nouveau rich madness without a method?
Also read: Madness, megalomania or hard-earned fruits?