(Originally published on Jul. 05, 2011)
Have you ever wondered why our governments loot the Hundi collection at Hindu temples across India whereas they dare not to touch Churches and Mosques?
Stephen Knapp (www.stephen-knapp.com) discusses this subject through one of his latest books, Crimes Against India and the Need to Protect its Ancient Vedic Traditions.
For many, this news will be entertaining or interesting; for some, this is just a painful reminder on the lost values of Sanatana Dharma which, in a religious costume, is called Hinduism. There’s nothing new about it. This has been happening for a long time and we, the so-called Hindus, are mute spectators to the govt. atrocities against Temples for several decades.
Contrary to the beliefs, India is never a secular nation. If it was, such things would never happen. Our Governments would never lay their hands on churches or mosques. They need the vote. Let’s all thank our dirty politicians for making India where it is today. Every government, irrespective of the party, is corrupt to the core. Add to it religious prostitutes & saffron-clad magicians who exploit Hindu beliefs and ultimately block their spiritual vision. Add to it caste-based reservations and caste-based politics. They are prostituting their own holy-motherland. They are more deadly than the deadliest daemons in our Puranas.
Perhaps, India would have performed better under the British Rule. I am sure, Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose and all those who shed their blood for the nation are shedding tears at the state of affairs ever since we got independence. Our politicians have done more harm to India in the past 64 years than those Christian and Muslim invaders who ruled India for hundreds of years.
India needs another freedom struggle. And, I am not a Hindu fanatic.
Hindus, in general, continue to be more and more ignorant about their own root values. Ask a Hindu what Hinduism is about; he/she will have no clue! A careful examination of our vedic texts combined with spiritual experience through meditation at the personal level would reveal beyond doubt that Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is pure science; that of the universe and its prorotype present in every being. Our Sanatana Dharma is nothing but the mother soil to grow and protect any religion. That is why we are tolerant to any religion.
Wondering if Lord Mahavishnu was protecting the evil in Kaliyuga, this is what Lord Subrahmanya said to his dearest disciple Sage Agasthya during one of their discussions (read by my beloved father (late) Sree N Kameswaran on Palm Leaves, sometime during 1987) on what Lord Krishna should have said through Srimad Bhagavad Gita on India’s current state of affairs:
Parithraanaaya Dushtaanaam Vinaasaaya cha Satkruthaam-
adharma Samsthaapanaarthaaya Sambhavaami Kaliyuge ||
Hey, Lord Krishna, this is what you actually said through Gita:
Parithraanaaya Saadhoonaam Vinaasaaya cha Dushkruthaam
dharma Samsthaapanaarthaaya Sambhavaami Yugeyuge ||
Then, why is the delay in taking your next avatar? Please look at all those “udara nimiththam bahukritha vesham” leaders among us who have done enough damage to our spiritual roots. Some even claim to be Your next avatar! Oh Lord, let the elimination begin right from them!
Here are a few excerpts from his book:
The Hindu Reigious and Charitable Endowment Act of 1951 allows State Governments and politicians to take over thousands of Hindu Temples and maintain complete control over them and their properties. It is claimed that they can sell the temple assets and properties and use the money in any way they choose.
A charge has been made not by any Temple authority, but by a foreign writer, Stephen Knapp in a book (Crimes Against India and the Need to Protect Ancient Vedic Tradition) published in the United States that makes shocking reading.
Hundreds of temples in centuries past have been built in India by devout rulers and the donations given to them by devotees have been used for the benefit of the (other) people. If, presently, money collected has ever been misused (and that word needs to be defined), it is for the devotees to protest and not for any government to interfere. This letter is what has been happening currently under an intrusive law.
It would seem, for instance, that under a Temple Empowerment Act, about 43,000 temples in Andhra Pradesh have come under government control and only 18 per cent of the revenue of these temples have been returned for temple purposes, the remaining 82 per cent being used for purposes unstated.
Apparently even the world famous Tirumala Tirupati Temple has not been spared. According to Knapp, the temple collects over Rs 3,100 crores every year and the State Government has not denied the charge that as much as 85 per cent of this is transferred to the State Exchequer, much of which goes to causes that are not connected with the Hindu community. Was it for that reason that devotees make their offering to the temples? Another charge that has been made is that the Andhra Government has also allowed the demolition of at least ten temples for the construction of a golf course. Imagine the outcry writes Knapp, if ten mosques had been demolished.
It would seem that in Karanataka, Rs. 79 crores were collected from about two lakh temples and from that, temples received Rs seven crores for their maintenance, Muslim madrassahs and Haj subsidy were given Rs 59 crore and churches about Rs 13 crore. Very generous of the government.
Because of this, Knapp writes, 25 per cent of the two lakh temples or about 50,000 temples in Karnataka will be closed down for lack of resources, and he adds: The only way the government can continue to do this is because people have not stood up enough to stop it.
Knapp then refers to Kerala where, he says, funds from the Guruvayur Temple are diverted to other government projects denying improvement to 45 Hindu temples. Land belonging to the Ayyappa Temple, apparently has been grabbed and Church encroaches are occupying huge areas of forest land, running into thousands of acres, near Sabarimala.
A charge is made that the Communist state government of Kerala. wants to pass an Ordinance to disband the Travancore & Cochin Autonomous Devaswom Boards (TCDBs) and take over their limited independent authority of 1,800 Hindu temples. If what the author says is true, even the Maharashtra Government wants to take over some 450,000 temples in the state which would supply a huge amount of revenue to correct the states bankrupt conditions.
And to top it all, Knapp says that in Orissa, the state government intends to sell over 70,000 acres of endowment lands from the Jagannath Temple, the proceeds of which would solve a huge financial crunch brought about by its own mismanagement of temple assets.
Says Knapp: Why such occurrences are so often not known is that the Indian media, especially the English television and press, are often anti-Hindu in their approach, and thus not inclined to give much coverage, and certainly no sympathy, for anything that may affect the Hindu community. Therefore, such government action that play against the Hindu community go on without much or any attention attracted to them.
Knapp obviously is on record. If the facts produced by him are incorrect, it is up to the government to say so. It is quite possible that some individuals might have set up temples to deal with lucrative earnings. But that, surely, is none of the governments business? Instead of taking over all earnings, the government surely can appoint local committees to look into temple affairs so that the amount discovered is fairly used for the public good?
Says Knapp: Nowhere in the free, democratic world are the religious institutions managed, maligned and controlled by the government, thus denying the religious freedom of the people of the country. But it is happening in India. Government officials have taken control of Hindu temples because they smell money in them, they recognize the indifference of Hindus, they are aware of the unlimited patience and tolerance of Hindus, they also know that it is not in the blood of Hindus to go to the streets to demonstrate, destroy property, threaten, loot, harm and kill.
Many Hindus are sitting and watching the demise of their culture. They need to express their views loud and clear Knapp obviously does not know that should they do so, they would be damned as communalists. But it is time some one asked the Government to lay down all the facts on the table so that the public would know what is happening behind its back. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not secularism. And temples are not for looting, under any name. One thought that Mohammad of Ghazni has long been dead.
Submitted on 2011/07/12 at 6:08 pm by Anuradha Mahesh
Your article is well said and upto date.
Now the big discussion going on here in Kerala is the Yukthivaadi Sangham has come forward with a demand that all the treasure found in Sri.Padmanabha Swamy temple (estimated more than 1 Lakh Crore of precious jewels and diamonds) Trivandrum should be used for the development of the state and to pay off all the state liabilites and debts to World Bank, IMF and for the rehabilitation of the poor and needy etc. Though the Govt and the Travancore Palace Maharaja Marthanda Varma strictly says that it should not be touched and whatever is recovered is Swami’s treasure.
Submitted on 2011/07/12 at 9:13 am by Seshadri
I would like to add a few thoughts to this discussion.
Bottomline: Money Corrupts.
People who go to the temple donate money in some way or the other. There are businessmen who pray for good business and at the end of the year they donate a % of their earnings (say to Tirumala). Irrespective of the way in which the earnings were made (you see what I am getting at?). I would say most of it is “Blood” money earned by unethical business practices (cheating/looting naive people).
About the people donating legitimate earnings, even if all these people who read the above posting stop donating their hard earned money, it will not be worthwhile for the government to butt in at all.
If you think its your monitary wealth that the deity is seeking, think again.
If you think your donated money must be used for public good, find ways to do it yourself. Go to a municipal children’s hospital and volunteer some time from your busy schedule.
A Temple run by a corrupt Government is not a legitimate medium for donation and definitely not a medium to please your deity.