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Stop the takeover of Temples by the Government

13 Aug 14
Written by
Published in Heritage

Dear Brethren,
Please read the news wherein a very famous Hanuman temple in Chennai, in a prime locality and run by a private trust, has been taken over by the TN government.

Right from Independence, Hindus have been taken for granted and taken for a ride by successive secular governments.

Hindu Civil code--Hindus Property Succession Act--Hindu Religious Endowments (Constitutionally a Non-Hindu I.A.S officer also can be appointed as the CEO of Hindu Religious Endowments Board!!!!!!).

The original idea was to save the Hindu Temples and property that belonged to Hindu Shrines; hence a Government Body named Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments was established. Who were the culprits, the land grabbers? It was the Hindus themselves.
Many of the people who were entrusted with looking after Temple property instead got temple property written and registered in their names, and looted the Donations and daily collections through Hundis. Most of the Temples have seen broken Hundis when they were managed by a group of people.

The Constitution of India stipulates India to be a secular country, but the Government of India and provincial Governments under the Congress Party, Communist parties or other political parties have been targeting only Hindu temples for government takeover in the name of better management leaving aside all mosques, gurudwaras and churches.

Now the reason for this takeover is the enormous amount of Public money that goes into the Hundis of these temples which become Government property and hence available to the Government treasury for distribution and spending for their popular purposes.

While Hindu temples are being taken over, Muslims are being showered with freebies by all political parties and even the government
Both are happening on almost similar timelines.
It is not that there is a direct link between Hindu money and governments’ secular freebies...But somehow, if one can question the funding for these secular programs, ...a connection can be easily made.

Hindu money is being used for secular purpose...and the secularism that is being practised in India is to say the least, “ANTI-HINDU” in its core; which in Essence is the destruction of the Hindu Way of Life and the Hindu dharma (Sanatana Dharma).

For example, annual earnings of the Tirupathi Balaji temple is over Rs 4000 crores, but only about 20 per cent of this amount is reported to be spent on this temple, and the rest i.e. about Rs 3000 crore is diverted every year by the State government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) for non-Hindu purposes, leaving Hindu priests poorly paid and Hindu pilgrims poorly looked after in terms of travel infrastructure, medical, hostel, food service facilities etc.

A classic example is the subsidising of the trips to Bethlehem by the AP govt under YSR Reddy vide a notification, setting aside an amount of Rs. 70 crores for the pilgrimage to Bethlehem for Christians.

Elsewhere in Andhra Pradesh, out of 420,028 acres owned by temples in Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Guntur, Kurnool, Warangal, and Hyderabad, 60,843 acres were allowed to be occupied illegally by professional land grabbers. The state government, the inheritor of the responsibility under the HRCE Act to prevent such actions, did nothing to prevent these incursions, even though it has a staff of over 77,000 people (paid from a 15% charge on temple revenues), to look after temple interests.

In August 2005, the state of AP decided to sell 100,000 acres of the Sri Narasimha Swamy Temple in Simhachalam and other nearby temples. On March 14, 2006, the government auctioned 3,000 acres of temple lands in East Godavari district. Proceeds from these sales rarely reach the temples, which have to depend on the same government for doles to light their lamps and pay their priests. 884 acres of endowment lands of the famous Sri Rama temple at Bhadrachalam have been allocated to Christian institutions by the current government. In Simhachalam, 300 acres belonging to the temple have been allocated for churches and convent schools, who even exercise an illegal authority to stop devotees from visiting the temple atop the hill!

However this fund among others should have been used to give better salaries to all Hindu priests attached to temples or freelance priests and for free distribution of religious books like Vedas. Hindu priests offer religious services to Hindu community from birth to death.
Hence when you deprive a servant of the supreme Godhead of a basic means to survive, he is forced to resort to corruption right in front of the sannidhi of the god, thereby making us even more apprehensive to go to the temple, and hence allude to, and agree with the popular media portrayal of corruption in Hindu temples. It is not the greed of the priest but it is his basic need that makes him do what he wants to do.

The Congress Government of Narasimha Rao connived with the Supreme Court and the government advocates under -represented the Hindu public interest before court, with the result that about 50 lakh imams are getting their salaries and perks from the Government of India and provincial governments, through the facade of Wakf boards right from 1994 (1993 AIR 2086, All India Imams Organisation vrs Union of India, May 13, 1993).
No Muslim country in the world pays any Haj subsidy to Muslim pilgrims but the Government of India pays subsidy to the tune of Rs 800 crores a year. It is totally communal and retrograde. No priest should get salaries from the government or all priests from every religion should get salaries from the government
Since government is paying salaries to all Muslim Imams through wakf boards, it is fair and equitable to pay salaries to all Hindu priests belonging to any caste or gender, whether attached to any temple or not (freelance priests).

Similarly,is the situation in Tamil Nadu (TN), which has been alternately ruled by two Dravidian parties, DMK and AIADMK, both of which are anti-‘Hindu God’ parties, but both of which have been unanimous in controlling all Hindu temples through the Hindu Religious and Charitable endowment Department.
The DMK Government even tried to exclude this department from Right to Information Act to cover up mismanagement, plunder and loot. It is reported that the Karunanidhi Government swindled about 200 kg gold in gold plating of vimanas and ‘golden chariot’ schemes in various temples. The theft of the centuries old Panchaloha Idols by this DMK govt reached its highest during 2006-2011, when more than 3000 idols were stolen from temples across TN.

Thousands of small and medium temples (in addition to nationally and historically important temples such as Jagannath in Puri, Tirupati, Kashi Vishwanath, Vaishno Devi, Shirdi, Guruvayoor, Chamundi Devi, Dattapeeth, Kali Mandir of Patiala, Amarnath, Badrinath and Kedarnath), are already under government control and have been so for decades in many of these cases.

The attack on Hindu temples is an attack on the body and soul of Hinduism, because
temples are the sacred and sanctified places where most Hindus practice their faith. Others may not understand our ways of worship, but to the practicing Hindu all deities represent the One Supreme Reality or Being in diverse ways and forms, that make the divine accessible to all levels of religious and spiritual temperaments.

The images of our gods and goddesses are not just stone or metal idols. They are profound symbols and splendorous representations of the One in its many manifestations. They are holy reminders of the divine being everywhere, they are aids to meditation and worship, and they are also ceremonially sanctified centres of spiritual energy and divine grace.

Our priests should not be reduced to the status of government servants who have to depend on miserly salaries from the state, that has usurped their traditional means of sustenance, and who are thereby forced to demand money sometimes aggressively, from devotees. Our Acharyas should not be sidelined to being helpless observers even as the institutions they are vested with leading are being reduced to insolvency.

The need of the hour is the enactment of a Uniform Central Law providing for religious boards elected by Hindus, so that Hindu temples could be liberated from clutches of secular governments and given independence of administration, and powers over the public funds generated via the Hundi. Also the need is for privatisation of the temples and recovery of the lands and assets that originally belonged to such temples.

Please remember the viability of Hinduism rests in the health and vitality of our temples. The reverse discrimination against Hindus and our institutions by a supposedly secular government cannot be allowed to continue any more.

Please raise general awareness among your friends after reading this, to openly protest against the taking over of Hindu temples by the governments and to show your support for privatisation of the Hindu temples, so that they can be run by learned scholars and prominent men of the Hindu society.

Jai Shri Ram. ____________________

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