Documents regarding
Chennai Highway Project

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CHAGANTI V.K. MAITHREYA’S LETTER TO DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN
DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN'S LETTER TO TOS INTERNATIONAL
DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN'S LETTER TO MR. K. PHANINDRA REDDY
SHORT STATEMENTS
MAITHREYA’S SHORT MODEL LETTERS

ENCOURAGING NEWS - Update on August 30th 2009.

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CHAGANTI V.K. MAITHREYA’S LETTER TO DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN
25 June 2009

Dear Diana,

This is to draw your urgent attention to the matter concerning the possible acquisition of a portion of the Adyar Estate near the main gate for a road project. The details are given below for your suitable and urgent action.

Background

The Government of Tamilnadu has proposed a three-tier elevated corridor which will run in concentric circles around and across the city of Chennai. A portion of this will run over the front part of the Adyar Estate of The Theosophical Society [a photograph is attached]. The Adyar Poonga Trust that is driving this project has engaged Wilbur Smith Associates, a consultancy company to make the plan and make the presentations. Meetings were held to consult the public, NGOs and experts. The TS & TOS were adequately represented. Besides, petitions have been made. Print and electronic media were also briefed.  Many reports in leading newspapers like The Hindu, The Indian Express and The Times of India have highlighted the pros and cons of this project. The details of this project can be seen on the website, www.tnudf.com in the section entitled ‘Notice Board’ on the homepage. [This is the website of the Tamilnadu Urban Development Fund.]

The matter needs the urgent attention of the international community of members and well-wishers of The Theosophical Society. Petitions have to be made to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the TNUDF and letters have to be written to the Editors of the newspapers. I have personally kept the International President informed, and she is aware of the plan to do this.

Recommended action

Letters to Mr. K. Phanindra Reddy I.A.S., the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the TNUDF, who is a government official, protesting against the move to run the project through the estate and petitioning him to look at the alternate of running the loop over the river. His e-mail id is mdceo@tnudf.com

Letters to the Editors of the above-mentioned newspapers.  The Internet provides information on these newspapers.

Articles in the newspapers, highlighting the work of the TS, its Social Welfare Centre and the TOS.

Points to be included in the communication:

The history of the TS and its contribution to the freedom movement in India as also its service to the underprivileged through the Olcott School, the Social Welfare Centre and the TOS. It is important to include in this the various places of worship on the Adyar Estate and the ones outside, where our workmen and other villagers worship, which could be disturbed by this project. The Sri Sankara School too is in the vicinity, and will be affected.

Highlighting the contribution of Col. H.S. Olcott to the cause of education for the underprivileged as also the Swadeshi cause.

Highlighting the fact that A.O. Hume was the ‘Father of the Indian National Congress’.

Writing about Dr. Annie Besant’s contribution to the Home Rule Movement, her work for education and her having been the Chairperson of the Indian National Congress.

Drawing the attention of the reader to the fact that the membership of the TS included luminaries in India like Gandhiji, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Justice Subramania Iyer and Dr. Bhagwan Das.

The service provided by the Social Welfare Centre to the underprivileged women and children.

The free medical service provided by the Theosophical Order of Service to the underprivileged and the various relief, rehabilitation and women empowerment projects of the TOS in Tamilnadu.

The valuable work of the main-gate bookshop of the Theosophical Publishing House and the various books & translations it sells, including the Thirukural of Thiruvalluvar [the most renowned Poet-Saint of Tamilnadu].

We, at Chennai, look forward to the cooperation of members and well-wishers across the world.

Kind regards.
Yours sincerely,
CHAGANTI V.K. MAITHREYA
President
Madras Theosophical Federation
&
Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai Region

Note: Please note that the blue loop goes over the Adyar Estate, in front. Part of it goes over the Social Welfare Centre’s compound.

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DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN'S LETTER TO TOS INTERNATIONAL
29 June 2009

Dear Friends,

The TS Estate at Adyar is under threat of a noisy motorway construction.  Our help is needed.  The President of the TOS in Chennai Region, Mr Maithreya, explains the situation below.  Did you receive his message already? Apparently expressions of concern from around the world will definitely have an impact on the final decision taken regarding the choice of site for the construction. Maithreya tells us that an alternative site for the proposed loop is over the river so there is a choice, it seems.

Here (attached in Word) is the letter I have just sent to the head of the Tamilnadu Urban Development Fund.  I based it on the information Maithreya gives us below.  In my position as international secretary of the TOS, I chose to emphasise the community service work offered at Adyar, but Maithreya gives us quite a few approaches to choose amongst.  Your letters don’t have to be as long as mine, of course.  In fact what counts is apparently not the length of the letters received but the number. I am attaching a series of much shorter statements drafted by Maithreya and myself for you to look at.  Feel free to use any of them as the basis for a brief message.

In order for Maithreya to know how much pressure is being brought to bear on the government authorities by letters from us, it would be a help if we sent him a copy of what we write.  His e-mail address is below.  Don’t hesitate to contact him if you have any questions about something you want to say in your message.

Thank you for your help and my apologies if have already received Maithreya’s message and done the necessary.

Sincerely,
Diana

P.S. One last thing: if you have TS or TOS letterhead to use - or your own impressive letterhead - use it!  Your letter will naturally have more impact.

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DIANA DUNNINGHAM CHAPOTIN'S LETTER TO MR. K. PHANINDRA REDDY
28 June 2009

THE INTERNATIONAL THEOSOPHICAL ORDER OF SERVICE
(A union of all who love in the service of all that suffers)
Founder: Annie Besant (1908) President: Radha Burnier

International Secretary:
Diana Dunningham Chapotin
Résidence Isabelle
18 avenue Berlioz
93270 Sevran, France
E-mail: tosinternational@wanadoo.fr

Mr. K Phanindra Reddy
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Tamilnadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Ltd
112, Theyagaraya Road
1st Floor, Vairam Complex
Theyagaraya Road
T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017
E-mail: mdceo@tnudf.com

Dear Mr Reddy,

I should like to express my deep concern at the Tamilnadu Government’s proposal to run part of its new motorway over the front of the estate of the Theosophical Society in Adyar. I respectfully request that serious study be given to the option of placing the planned loop over the river.

As widely scattered around the world as the many volunteers and donors of the Theosophical Order of Service are, we are united by the one great historical, cultural and spiritual focal point that is the Theosophical Society estate in Adyar. The estate is our headquarters, our meeting ground, our international planning location, our source of inspiration.  It has provided a strong link between the East and the West for 125 years. It is a hub and a hive of activity and yet a deeply quiet place where people from many religious traditions worship in peace and mutual respect: this seems to me to be a source of its power and influence in the world. To run a motorway right across the front of the land is unthinkable to many of us around the globe and we urge you, Sir, to do your utmost to find an alternative route.

Just one small example of the role of the estate was the response to the 2004 tsunami. Even as Chennai residents spontaneously dropped hundreds of bags of clothes and utensils inside the front gate within hours of the first two waves hitting – an area that will become unusable if the corridor runs over it - phone calls, e-mails of concern and offers of aid were pouring in to the headquarters from overseas members - a headquarters building that will surely be greatly affected by road noise if the loop runs as proposed. At the same time, emergency medical treatment was being given to tsunami victims by the local team of TOS doctors at the Social Welfare Centre – part of which is apparently to be annexed for the motorway development. Sadly, just before I heard the news of the route of the proposed motorway, I was on the point of speaking to Mrs Burnier about a building extension at the Welfare Centre to cope with the ever-increasing social, educational and medical work that is carried out there by our TS and TOS teams. Space is already seriously lacking. The government’s plan to lop a section off that land comes as a shock.

You are without doubt aware of the contributions of the Theosophical Society and its service arm, the Theosophical Order of Service, to the life of the suburb of Adyar itself: the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary, the Olcott School, the H.P. Blavatsky Hostel, the tailoring training, pre-school education and medical camps that go on at the Social Welfare Centre etc. These projects serve as models for thousands of people from overseas who come to visit them and report back to their own groups.  The projects serve to inspire donations and they give rise to similar projects elsewhere - in India, in the Philippines, East Africa and South America.

I would greatly appreciate hearing from you about the possibility of finding an alternate route for the corridor.  I realize that the number of motor vehicles and two wheelers in the Chennai Metropolitan Area has increased colossally in the past few decades and that you have no choice but to provide motorways.  I beg you though, Sir, not to do it at the expense of one of Chennai’s most valuable assets, one that has not ceased proving its worth locally and internationally since 1883.

Sincerely,
Diana Dunningham Chapotin

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SHORT STATEMENTS
for those with little time to spare

Nota bene!  It is a fact that individually written letters are far more effective than cut-and-paste ones.  In choosing one of the statements below, please try to adapt it to your own circumstances.  For example, instead of writing ‘The members join me in requesting…’ you can put ‘I request that …’ or ‘We request that …’ Instead of writing ‘It is a shock to learn that …’ you can put ‘We have learned with great consternation that …’

Something else: Remember to put the vice-president of the Tamilnadu Urban Development Fund in the copy line along with two other colleagues and to send Maithreya a copy of your message (me too, if you wish) after you’ve sent it. If one of the Urban Development Fund addresses bounces, don’t worry.  All these addresses are listed directly below.

Send your message to:
Mr. K Phanindra Reddy
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Tamilnadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Ltd
112, Theyagaraya Road
1st Floor, Vairam Complex
Theyagaraya Road
T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017
E-mail: mdceo@tnudf.com

In copy line:

Mr. A. Jayaraman
jayaraman@tnudf.com
Mr. R.Gayathri
gayathri@tnudf.com
U.Vijayaraghavan
vijay@tnudf.com

Copy and paste this line: jayaraman@tnudf.com; gayathri@tnudf.com; vijay@tnudf.com

Invisible copy:
maithreyacvk@gmail.com
tosinternational@wanadoo.fr

Copy and paste this line: maithreyacvk@gmail.com; tosinternational@wanadoo.fr

STATEMENT 1

Dear Sir,

It is a shock to learn that the Government of Tamil Nadu is considering running a motorway along the front of part of the estate of the Theosophical Society in Adyar. 

The members of  … (specify country or group) join me in requesting that a different solution be sought for the routing of the proposed corridor.

Sincerely,

STATEMENT 2

Dear Mr Reddy and Mr Jayaraman,

Please would you be so kind as to note the grave concern I feel/we feel/the members of (branch/Section) feel at the news that the magnificent property of the Theosophical Society may be affected by the construction of a motorway not just in close proximity but right along the front of it. 

Would it be possible to look seriously at a different solution, please?

Yours sincerely,

STATEMENT 3

Dear Mr Director,

I am taking the liberty of contacting you to let you know of the distress I feel at the news of a freeway/motorway possibly running along or above the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar. There is no need to tell you what a blow this would be to all concerned.

I have heard that it may be possible to run the proposed loop over the river. I appeal to you to look closely at this alternative.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours faithfully,

STATEMENT 4

Sirs,

As the coordinator of the Theosophical Order of Service in ..., I cannot tell you how upset I am to learn of the threat of a motorway running along part of the front of our world headquarters in Adyar. The members of the TOS in the Chennai Region use the Social Welfare Centre constantly for the medical aid they offer to the needy, as does the team of educators helping women and children from the local slums. As long time supporters of this work, we are most concerned to hear that part of the Centre land might be annexed.

We trust that you will be able to work out a way of routing the motorway in a way that will not affect/shatter the fine work being done by the Theosophical Order of Service for the local community.

Yours truly,

MAITHREYA’S SHORT MODEL LETTERS

Dear Sir,

We, the Members of The Theosophical Society strongly object to the idea of the elevated corridor that will pass through the front part of our headquarters estate.  Besides disturbing the tranquillity of the spiritual centre, it will also affect our social work activities for the underprivileged, as these are carried on from a Centre near the gate.  Our main-gate bookshop too will be affected. 

Our organisation, its Founders, leaders and members have served India through the freedom struggle and continue to serve the poor in the field of education and relief.

We hope the alternate of taking the loop further north and over the river will be considered.

Thanks and regards.

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Dear Sir,

It is very disappointing to note that some part of our headquarters estate in front may be acquired for an elevated motorway. It would spoil the beauty and peace of the place, besides having an impact on the environment. 

As an organisation, we have served the underprivileged, besides fighting for India’s freedom. Col. H.S. Olcott, Mr. A.O. Hume and Dr. Annie Besant are immortal names in the history of India. Our Social Welfare Centre where we serve poor children and where the Theosophical Order of Service runs its free medical service and our main gate bookshop will all be affected.

Kindly consider taking the loop further north and over the river.

Thanks and regards.

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Dear Sir,

The proposed elevated corridor has attracted the attention of the world-community and caused much dismay. We wish to protest formally against the construction of this motorway, which will spoil the peace, tranquillity and beauty of the estate.  Its environmental impact will also be detrimental.

As you are aware, our Founders and Dr. Annie Besant, besides many Theosophists have fought for India’s freedom and continue to serve the poor. Our Founder President Col. H.S. Olcott was a pioneer in fighting for the rights of the underprivileged and providing them free education.

It would be a tragedy if out main gate bookshop and the Social Welfare Centre are trampled upon by this project, thus grossly affecting the service provided to poor children and women and the free medical service of the Theosophical Order of Service.

We would petition that the loop is taken further north and over the river.

Thanks and regards.

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP !

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Documents for this web page were provided by a member of the Finnish Section.

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Encouraging news

August 30th 2009, theos_talk message 52764:

I heard promising news which had originally been delivered abroad by the Indian TOS (Theosophical Order of Service) leader Mr. C.V.K. Maithreya. The Hindu News writes about this in the link below.

The news is that it seems that it is possible that the Adyar Estuary and the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society will be saved from the new big highway. At this moment the road plan has been changed to go elsewhere.

Thanks to internet, the Tamil Nadu authorities have gotten over 1500 petitions only from abroad against the road near Adyar.

The final decisions about the road are likely be made on January.

The Hindu
Study likely to be over by January

I think this encouraging news may be a sign that the TS Adyar will physically survive and still live long and prosper. Many Theosophists don't understand how unique the Adyar Headquarter area with its nature is compared to the adjacent urban area of six million inhabitants. In fact, it is a miracle that the precious area has so far survived under pressure. The spiritual survival of the Society is, of course, a different thing, and it is up to every member.

Let us wish all the best!
Sampsa

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August 26th 2009
Dear All,

A heartwarming number of you responded to an appeal at the end of June to write to the head of the Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund expressing concern about the planned construction of a noisy motorway affecting the Theosophical Society estate in Adyar. Encouraging news has just been received from Mr Maithreya. Some of you may have heard from him directly.  His message is being forwarded here just in case you haven’t. Sincerest thanks to all those who responded.

Diana Dunningham Chapotin
International Secretary
Theosophical Order of Service

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Dear friend,

The newspaper item in ‘The Hindu’ (given below) carries an interesting news item which seems to indicate that the land for the elevated corridor will not be acquired from The Theosophical Society’s estate. The alternate plan will be implemented, according to the expert.  We trust that this news item will be substantiated by an official confirmation from the Government soon. We need to keep our efforts on, until this is finally received.

Thank you for your letter recording your protest. Theosophists around the world like you would be happy to know that this collective effort of the Theosophical fraternity has proved successful.

Kind regards,
Chaganti V.K. Maithreya
President Madras Theosophical Federation and Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai Region.

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Last update: August 2009
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