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Shankhnaad | New Delhi | Re-posted- June 1, 2016:: Bharat, in ancient times, was the richest country in the world 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 1025 AD 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.
Hindutva.info | New Delhi | Feb 6, 2016:: Temples are living tradition of Hindu Dharma. They play an extraordinary role in protection, preservation and nurturing of Hindu culture. These sacred places of worship and living symbols of our legacy, culture & civilization that have survived centuries of a history soaked in bloodshed, invasions and plunder.
Having survived some of the most troubled times today these sacred places of worship are being preyed upon by a government that professes about not meddling in religious affairs of any community but that of the Hindu’s. Being strictly under government control, Hindu temples in Independent India are subjected a systematic loot by government officials and agencies that nobody seems to be able to stop.
Indian Government retains complete control over thousands of Hindu Templesand their properties after the enactment of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act in 1951. Every government since independence has been misusing this power conferred by enacting this law that permits the government controlled management committee to sell temple assets and properties and use the money in any way they choose. To get a realistic picture of how an unwarranted Government control thrust upon temples is causing harm and damage to Hinduism in the country do read this :
1. Government takeovers have been a den of corruption, embezzlements and gross mismanagement of temple assets.
All offerings at controlled Hindu temples automatically become a property of the state and not the temple. Although nearly all states in India have set up separate management boards, but they just oversee and are not permitted to claim the funds.
Government control has forcibly dispossessed many temples of thousands of acres of land, property and other assets that have been grabbed by squatters and land grabbers. With the assets looted, many temples are without enough funds for their upkeep and have become relics of a past glory.
Aside from being the central point of Hindu community’s religious, social and cultural life, the temple through the ages was also a learning center where the teaching of Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Tirukkural was passed on from one generation of religious scholars to another.
Government control of temples has destroyed all Veda pathashala and the newer generations are not awareness about this rich heritage of the religion.
For Hindus, the cow is a holy animal and devotees do donate cow’s to temple Gaushala’s as part of their religious beliefs. Instead of using temple funds to maintain these gaushala’s (cow shelters) temples controlled by the government sell these animals to butchers and those who are in the beef industry.
Government control of Hindu temples have created powerful lobbies of vested interests who are not interested in having a neat and clean environment around these religious institutions. With lands, assets and management powers lying vested with the government, one will often come across open gutters, stray animal and load of garbage lying within the vicinity of sacred temple.
Bureaucratic control of temples has led to much damage to many religious paintings and mural reliefs. Many incidents have been reported where the ancient murals and paintings have carelessly been whitewashed; mandapams have been decimated and ancient walls have suffered sandblasts, causing valuable engravings to be completely destroyed.
7. Roots of Indian culture are dying as there is no support for music, dance, literature or art.
Beyond their religious importance, temples have been rich patrons of Indian music, dance, art and and literature. With no power over the fund offerings made by Pilgrims at temples now, an important legacy of Hindu traditions in music, dance and other others is dying fast. Having lost their connection with the past, most temples today only play recorded music over loudspeakers.
People look up to our temples to nurture their kids with religious teachings and learnings that they are not able to teach them. Temple boards are failing in their duties to make obligations to impart religious education to all Hindu youth out of temple offerings.
Temple tanks called pushkarini, kalyani, kunda or talabs are sacred waters that are an integral part of many important temples. They not only symbolized ritual cleansing or about rites of sanctification but spread awareness about hygiene and cleanliness. Apathy of temple institutions have turned many of these holy temple tanks into disease breeding swamps that no organization wants to clean and maintain.
Temple spaces are being grabbed and the government agencies controlling these shrines are not stopping the loot but instead are actively conniving with many of the property grabbers to make a fast buck. At places the whole temple infrastructure has changed drastically as new structures are built and more shops and offices are opened in temple premises.
Religious seers don’t even have the freedom of deciding the mode of Puja ceremonies that can be performed at many important temples. From daily rituals to yearly celebrations, government agencies are directly involved in controlling the religious ceremonies of Hindus at these temples. Privilege of arranging and worshipping as per temple tenets are tempered with and where and how a yagna is to held and which dialect is to be permitted are often decisions of government agencies managing these temples.
By law, temples are supposed to run by Trustees. Many of these trusts have hereditary lines of priests on them who know and have protected these institutions for generations. Government functionaries have played intrigue in appointing their favourites to temple trusts. Moreover the Trustees have been made subservient to government appointed executive officers that effectively places control of the temple in the hands of a government servant or agency.
13. Poorly qualified priests appointed in place of learned priests.
This is big blow to Indian Vedic traditions as lesser learned priests are given powers over and above the qualified one on the grounds that they are under the state government control.
Western universities, especially those in Germany, United Kingdom and USA have shown great interest in knowing about vedic religion and studying its traditions but at the Hindu temples where these traditions were kept alive for thousands of years, under government guardianship have stopped this patronage that has destroyed this knowledge base.
With there being no patronage, temple priests are unable to pass on this accumulated knowledge to newer generations as there are hardly any new keen learners or or teachers left.
The brutal suppression of Hinduism by government agencies is best exemplified by non-believers and communists being on management boards of many temple trusts. Government takeovers has resulted in persons with no devotion, no profound knowledge about Vedas or Hinduism, non-Hindus and even communists who have nothing to do with any religion end up being on governing bodies of Hindu temples.
Yearly profit of temples in crores is not utilized for the advancement of temples and its activities, which leaves Hindu priests inadequately paid and Hindu pilgrims ineffectively cared for. Facilities for pilgrims at most temples, be it travel framework, medicinal, lodging, food service or paying obeisance at the main shrines are deficient that impacts the overall impression of the faith.
Not allowing the temples to be true guardians of Hindu faith and permitting them to care for their followers, their culture, traditions and social life, government control of these institutions has crippled the growth of the religious life of country’s majority faith.
Courtesy: Sankhnaad and Hindutva Info.