On temples, some little known facts and a story of “secular” loot

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by parijataka, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    @pandurangahari, @Raj30, @KS, @Galaxy,

    Very painful to read, is there any way for an average citizen to get the various state govts to repeal the harmful Hindu Endowments Act act and for govt to stop interfering in Hindu religious affairs? All 4 Southern states have the Act, Maharashtra is planning one on similar lines to get Hindu and Jain temples under govt control. Just imagine Kerala state budget will not balance without the money donated by bhaktas in Hindu temples, shame on India state. Is this the meaning of secular state in India - govt controlling religious places of worship of one particular community ?

    In Kar, Yeddyurappa had released several temples from state control against protests from Muzrai department - stray incidences like this are helpful but our govt will not stop dipping its hands in temple coffers unless Hindus wake up!

    (Figures for the stats given by author are there in links in the source)

    On temples, some little known facts and a story of “secular” loot

    In 2009, even as the governing body of Tirumala Tirupati was facing questions over 300 missing gold coins, a priest was arrested after confessing to stealing a deity's two gold necklaces weighing more than a kilo. Governing body officials “said the priest was only a small fry and that there was a larger scam happening at the Lord Balaji temple - which is in possession of jewellery worth more than Rs 45,000 crore”. No inventory of the temple assets, controlled by the government, has been done since 2005. An inquiry in July 2008 by the Vigilance Department of TTD resulted in the suspension of several officials but the findings were never made public.In 2010, the state government of Orissa apparently sold several hundreds of acres of land belonging to Jagannath Puri temple to Vedanta Foundation at throw-away prices. The matter is now under investigation.

    In 2003, the Telugu Desam government in Andhra Pradesh “offered ayurvedic giant Dabur as much as 120 acre of land for a monthly lease of Rs 5,833”. The land belonged to Kodanda Rame Swamy temple in Chittoor.


    In Tamil Nadu, an audit in 2007 of the ancient Parthasarathi Temple in Chennai, managed by the government, revealed that records of seventeen temple grounds (~41000 sq. ft.) in T.Nagar were missing; In addition 11 other grounds had incomplete records and lacked clear titles. The audit also found properties that were let out to non-existing tenants & those that were sold apparently on an ad-hoc basis.

    In 2006, A probe conducted by the Justice Tipnis committee on disbursal of surplus funds by Siddhivinayak Temple noted in its report, “the most shocking aspect..is that there is no method or principle followed for particular institutions. The only criteria for selection was recommendation or reference by trustees or the minister or a political heavy-weight, generally belonging to ruling party"

    In 2006, Acharya Kishore Kunal, the Religious Trust Administrator in Bihar mentioned that “government control over the temples..has resulted in loss of temple properties worth Rs. 2000 crore”. He went on to point out “the alienation of property” that had taken place via “sale, lease and forcible occupation by persons with criminal antecedents” and how “several temples, mutts and trusts…(had) slipped into the hands of criminals masquerading as priests and swamis."

    In Kerala, anecdotal evidence suggests that the extent of donations from the Bhaktas at Sabarimala expropriated by the government is such that without them, the government treasury will not be able to break even.

    This is the story of some of India's richest temples. This is about the little known fact that they are all controlled by the government. This is a story of "secular” loot. These sacred places of worship and living symbols of our heritage, culture & civilisation that managed to survive centuries of invasions and plunder are today prey to a rapacious government’s systematic loot.

    By virtue of control over the Trust Board, the government also controls the surplus funds generated by these temples. Bear in mind that these are some of the richest temples anywhere in the world, not just in India. What happens to these surplus funds? The reality is no one quite knows.

    All we know is that they are rarely - if ever - diverted back to improving the temple, the facilities, the salaries of priests or for Hindu religious pursuits. For the most part, they are transferred arbitrarily by the government for “secular”, non-Hindu purposes. The most damaging side-effect of this is lack of resources for maintenance and upkeep of temples, leading to irreparable damage to many medieval and ancient structures.

    In what may be the most appalling instance of such wilful neglect, disbursements to temples in Karnataka for renovation and maintenance between the period ’97-’98 to ’02-’03 fell (more than halved) from Rs 16.5 crores to Rs 7.1 crores even as revenues collected from temples rose from Rs 58.63 crores to Rs 79 crores! Interestingly, over the same period, disbursement to Madarsas, Mosques and Haj committee rose more than 4 times from Rs 14.25 crores to Rs 58 crores and disbursement to Christian institutions and churches more than doubled from Rs 5 crores to Rs 12.75 crores.

    To the best of my knowledge, such intervention in temple affairs, their management and finances rarely extends to mosques or churches. And where such interference is feared, protest is swift.

    But here is the most cruel twist to this sordid state of affairs. While the government shamelessly continues this “loot” of Hindu temples & sacred spaces, political parties, with an eye on votes, compete with each other to provide sops to Imams & Mosques. Thus, we had RJD & Trinamool Congress in 2010 demanding the implementation of a Supreme Court order to provide salaries to Imams of “government-aided mosques”.

    Yes, you read that right.

    In this wonderful “secular” country of ours, where the government arrogantly takes over the “right” to manage some of the richest Hindu temples, we actually have “government-aided mosques”, complete with Imams whose salaries are supposed to be paid by the Government.

    In 2012, the government of Paschim Banga went one step further. It announced that Imams will be “give a monthly honorarium of Rs. 2,500” and “homeless, landless Imams” will be given land to build homes, with the government footing the bill for “construction expenditure” too.

    Sadly, most Hindus remain blissfully unaware of all this and of course, no “liberal” will raise their voice on this matter. Should a concerned Hindu mention this in polite conversations, you can safely assume he or she will instantly be branded as “communal”.

    Fortunately things are changing. In Nov ’12, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha (the apex body of Hindu religious leaders) decided to take up this matter. Other activists are gathering information and evidence to challenge these laws in courts. But we have a long way to go – and we cannot afford to be complacent. Why? Because we have not seen the end of this yet.

    From a report dated 15th May ’12: “The Tamil Nadu government today proposed amendments to a 1959 act governing temples seeking to bring 'samadhis' and 'brindavans' under its ambit for effective control.” The reason? “(these) samadhis and brindavan..are being worshipped as a place of public religious institution..and..own vast property..(these) are not being controlled effectively”. Sigh.
     
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  3. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    Stop going to the temples...
     
  4. Raj30

    Raj30 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Finally Hindus wake up ! Supreme Court notice against Hindu Religious and Endowments Acts
    18/12/2012 13:00:18 HK

    New Delhi: Hindus across the country have been taken for granted over the years in the name of Secularism. Hindu Religious and Endowment Acts in various states of India is unconstitutional and violation of the rights guaranteed to the people who practise and profess the religion and of the religious denominations under Article 14,15 (1), 19(1)(g) 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution. Although Hindu organisations were opposing and creating awareness against the fraud and discrimination, so far no meaningful actions came forward.

    Finally here comes a silver lining in the horizon – Thanks to petition filed by Sri Dayananda Saraswati Swamiji, Sri Paramatmananda Saraswati Swamiji and Sri Vishweswaranand Giriraj Maharaj , challenging the Hindu Religious and Endowments Acts - Supreme Court has issued notice to the States of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

    The petitioners said they were aggrieved over the provisions of HR & CE Acts as they took away the internal autonomy of the religious institutions and denominations.

    They said “even the conduct of religious rites and rituals are completely constricted and regulated by the Executive Officers and by the Trustees appointed by the Government, in violation of the rights guaranteed to the people who practise and profess the religion and of the religious denominations under Article 14,15 (1), 19(1)(g) 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution.”

    The proposed expenditures and budgets for conducting religious rituals have to be considered upfront by the authorities of the Department and the Government and only after meeting with their approvals can money be expended for such rituals. The temples are thus virtually treated as the personal fiefdom of political masters.

    While other Religious institutions get various grants from Government’s , Temples , especially in those states ruled by Anti Hindu fronts lead by Congress or Leftists the money from temple often ends up in the pockets of these politicians and also get diverted for pampering the minorities.
    While there is full freedom for Mosques and Churches in the country to manage and administer their holy places, Encroachment of temples is noting but a plain criminal act by the Government’s on Hindus.
     
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  5. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Guys, I believe we are our own enemies. All these things will change with time and if people put their political will towards it.

    Unless we do not practice the ideology of our forefathers, we can never hope to change the discourse within this country. We really need a new grand narrative of India and this grand narrative needs to be taught daily to kids. The currently macaulised media and the hindi film industry needs to be discarded. The social media has already made the MSM outdated. The Indian film industry is like our politics. full of nepotism and sycophany. The way they like to portray India and its culture is at direct odds with the life of a common man. The opium for the masses as religion is incorrectly defined by left leaning non-liberal media cannot allow such things to be reported as clearly its an agenda driven purely to keep themselves relevant. Every country including china has given up communism in all but name but we have the CPI, CPM thriving in India.

    The things as I said will change and they are changing.

    2 things are happening as we speak;

    RSS is launching a liberal (right wing) OR (in your face) News channel which is free to air. It will be a news channel. This will be a boon for the social media as the irrelevant Indian mainstream media is clearly hanging by a thread to its decimated audiences. You can clearly see the fear in the MSM when reporters like Shiv Aroor, Rahul Shivshankar etc are moving towards the right from a very left leaning group. The interesting thing is Tehelka which wishes to act like a mouth piece of left wing by showing they are centrists, is being booed on twitter and most of their analysis is dissected by a twitter action group - Centre Right India.

    The grand narrative is being attempted to be re-written by Indian authors who are not ashamed of being Indians. The current crop of JNU bigwigs are loosing the plot when they blamed rapes on Swami Vivekanand.

    The time is nigh.
     
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  6. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

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    There is no point in giving money to the temples for no reasons. We need to realize that money does not go to the deities but to the management of the temple or govt.

    Way forward:
    1) Temples should work in the direction of reducing coordination failure
    2) Temples should lay out their plan of action for general public like money needed for renovation or charity or schools
    3) All collected money should be recorded rather than just put in 'daan patra' i.e donation box without any records. This leads to theft and ambiguity
    4) If a temple has more funds then it needs then it should come up with other ideas or put in some long term investment like gurukul system
    5) Small temples with less donations should come together to pool their funds and contribute meaningfully to the society

    Some of the temples follow the above mentioned rules, but many of them are self-serving. A modern India needs modern temples.
     
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  7. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    irrelevant
    This seems to have gone unnoticed.

    The Hindu : Today's Paper / NATIONAL : SC notice to A.P. on petition challenging HR and CE Act

    Tamil Nadu is not the priority here IMO though it should also be pursued..Jaya has some right wing tendencies and Karuna is not going to come to power in the future..But Andhra and Kerala are the top priorities since one state is already ruled by a Islamist dominated govt and the other may well see a young preacher in the CM chair in 2014..
     
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  8. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Brilliant Brilliant for those who are destroying the Hindus.

    And shame to all those including me who are helpless and watching silently
     
  9. Raj30

    Raj30 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Bharatkalyan97: Reclaiming the Hindu temples from the Govt. clutches. 34, 682 temples in AP handed over...
    Shri Dayananda Saraswati Swamiji, Shri Paramatmananda Saraswati Swamiji and Shri Vishweswarananda Swamiji had a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution challenging the validity of many of the provisions of the A.P. Religious Endowments Act, Tamil Nadu HR & CE Act and the Pondicherry Religious Institutions Act.

    Notice was ordered to be issued by the Supreme Court on 14-12-2012.

    Now as a first positive sign on January 5, 2013 A.P. Government has announced its decision to handover 34,682 temples back to trustees.
    The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH : 34,682 temples to be handed over to archakas

    TODAY'S PAPER » NATIONAL » ANDHRA PRADESH
    HYDERABAD, January 5, 2013
    34,682 temples to be handed over to archakas

    SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
    SHARE · PRINT · T+
    The government has taken an in-principle decision to hand over as many as single-trustee 34,682 temples whose annual income is less than Rs. 2 lakh, to archakas. It will finalise the decision after thorough consultation with Law Department on the possible legal implications.

    This measure is opted for this category of temples, although the Government, by law, can appoint Executive Officers for any temple having an annual income above Rs. 50,000. This is because hundi collections in a temple may fall short of the requirements at times.

    A decision is also taken to create a corpus fund with Rs. 500 crore to pay salaries to the staff of 3,000 odd other temples which, in contrast, are getting annual income as mandated under the Endowments Act. Legal opinion is sought for this also.

    Security issue

    At a Prajahitham media conference here on Thursday, Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah and Commissioner B. Balaramaiah said the government would be asked to give one-time grant of Rs. 350 crore to create this fund.

    The Minister said a new security system using electronic gadgets was being formulated in coordination with ECIL to prevent burglaries at seven major temples including Srisailam, Vijayawada etc.

    Master plans have been finalised for Srisailam and Basar temples involving an outlay of Rs. 642 crore and Rs. 30 crore respectively to give facelift for pilgrim facilities. Similar step would be taken up at Annaravam, Simhachalam etc.

    Answering questions, he said the bullocks and cows offered by devotees at Vemualawada temple were being offered to small farmers and were not sent for slaughter houses as alleged. The plea by many NGOs to hand these animals to them would be considered. He said the punyanadi harati programme which received overwhelming response, would be taken up regularly at specified places, covering the Krishna, Godavari, and Tungabhadra.

    The leasing of endowments lands would be allowed only through auction periodically with a provision to hike the rent as required.


    ECIL asked to develop security system to prevent burglaries at seven major temples
     
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  10. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Khaugress is appeasing Hindus due to fear of losing elections perhaps.
     

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