and was called a 'Golden bird' by the British, a crown in the jewel of British empire when it came to be subjugated by the colonial powers. It was looted a number of times by different invaders due to its rich heritage and temples and wealth in general.
Mahmud of Ghazni looted the Somnath Temple in 1025AD by completely destroying the structure of the temple and taking away all the precious materials from the temple.
India has always been a victim of loot from centuries and this loot continues still date by various sources, including our own government.
By the simple means of controlling the temple finances, the government of India is looting all its wealth and there is barely a record of this 'legalised' robbery being committed in broad daylight.
The first official control of the religious places dates back to 1863 in the form of “The Religious Endowments Act, 1863”. The act nominates trustees to look after the affairs of the religious place and the government should abstain from the control.
In early 1920 government saw huge treasures and donation in the temples and got lured into the riches it promised to the politicians and bureaucrats.
Thereafter, in order to take possession of the treasures “Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1926(Act II of 1927)” was enacted thus began the story of looting of Hindu temples. Under this horrendous act, government can issue notification at any time and take control of the temple or other properties belonging to any Hindu temple (only Hindu shrines, not the Muslims or Christian or any other religious shrines).
In effect, property of Hindus has not been spared even after the Indian Independence; instead looting has started more vigorously and continues till date.
“Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act (HRCE Act) in 1951” was introduced to take over the management of the Temples from under the pretext of preventing the 'mismanagement by Hindus'. The following are the glimpse of few famous loots by the government. The actual list is much longer:
Andhra Pradesh has India’s richest temples in terms of donation. Tirumala Tirupati Devaswom (TTD) commonly known as Tirupati Temple is the richest in India attracting donation of more RS 4000 crores every year of which around 85% of the donation is taken over by the state government. Even the prasadam for distribution is being procured from a Christian owned organization named JRG Wealth Management Limited. The government has spent lacks of rupees for renovation of churches in the state, along with payment of Rs 12000 given per person for HAJ trip to Mecca every year. Along with it the state has already sold more than 100000 acres of temple land to outsiders throughout the state.
More than 50000 temples have been closed down in the last five years in the state due to lack of financial help, instead to providing funds the government diverts the funds collected from the temples to other means. In the year 2003, Rs 79 crores were collected in the form of donations, out of which only Rs 10 crores were given to the temples on the contrary RS 59 crores were spent on Madrasas & Haj Subsidy along with RS 10 crores on Churches.
Under the “kerala Land Reform Act” the state government controlled by the communist party has sold out more than 2500 acres of land belonging to the famous Lord Ayyappa Temple to non – Hindus. The temple contributes Rs 250 Crores every year but now the temple is bankrupt. Over Rs 20 crores has been diverted from the Guruvayoor Devasvom temple for drinking water project in nearby panchayet which includes 40 churches and mosques.
All the major temples like Mata Vaishno Devi temple, Kashi Viswanath temple, Jagannath temple and millions of other temple are taken over by the government to fulfill there lust for money. More than 80% population of India are Hindus, where in all states and union territories the religious minorities enjoys almost uniform law the same uniformity in law is not for the majority Hindus. Every state has passed a law to takeover the temples in lure of huge funds.
Government control over Hindu temples has crippled the cultural, social and spiritual life of Hindus. Government control over important temples is also responsible for gradual disappearance of Vedic learning and Sanskrit. Only decontrol and restoration of Hindu temples and shrines to the Hindu community’s management and control can give justice to Hindus. Like other religion, Hindus too should have the constitutional right to manage their religious place and the money generated by the temples should be used to preserve the heritage and upliftment of the community and after that for nation building.
There is no one to pay heed to this plight of Hindus and this loot is a major contributor to the destruction of India's oldest community, it's culture and heritage.