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Tamil priest walks to raise funds, create awareness

The priest is on a two-month walk through South African cities to create awareness about social ills.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2005 12:05 IST

A Tamil priest is half way through a two-month walk through South Africa to create awareness about social ills and collect funds for a temple project.

Guru Kandaswamy, head of the Isayvani Sivanyana Sabha Sri-la Sri Pandrimalai Swami Mission of Lenasia South, marked Mahatma Gandhi's birthday Oct 2 with the start of a special walk - to raise awareness of social ills affecting youth and to raise $300,000 for a temple project.

Kandaswamy and two devotees left the temporary temple premises in a garage in Lenasia South, the sprawling Indian township south of here, on their countrywide "Hinduism for World Peace Tour" during which they will stop outside major towns and then walk into and through them, requesting everyone they meet to donate.

"In this way we hope to raise two million rands ($300,000) to pay for land allocated to us for a temple and the first phase of its construction," Kandaswamy said.

Although the venture is expected to raise not even a tenth of the ambitious target, he said the exercise had been a fruitful one.

"We got to talk to so many people along the route and share our message of peace with them," Kandaswamy told IANS by telephone.

"Besides the fundraising aspect, the Punitha Yatra we are undertaking is aimed at creating awareness of and educating the community about the suffering of mankind today and how this can be alleviated.

"Our focus is mainly on the children of today and tomorrow so that they can stand firm and not fall into the hands of evil forces which surround us. The yatra aims to bring about an awakening and realisation of our fast-dying cultures."

The previously unemployed Allan Pillay is driving the mobile home and Malin Pungan, a bank employee, provides moral support as the team heads for several more towns for the next month before heading back home.

The team was full of praise for Indian communities along the route who provided support, including meals and accommodation, though nothing had been prearranged.

First Published: Nov 05, 2005 12:05 IST