The Communist party of Kerala and the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is facing the wrath of Bhagwan Ayyappa’s devotees after they decided not to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision allowing entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple. According to The New Indian Express report, revenue in temples has fallen by 40 per cent after TDB’s decision to not file a review petition against the Sabarimala verdict. Other Devaswom boards in the state are also facing the heat of Bhagwan Ayyappa’s devotees. They are working on the strategies to pacify the anger of the devotees, and the campaign to avoid offering monetary donations to the temples.
The former TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan was the first one to make an appeal to devotees to not to offer any money to the temples and instead deposit paper pieces with the writing “Swami Saranam” in the donation boxes. The New Indian express quoted Prayar saying that his request was a peaceful way of protest against the stand of TDB.
TDB officials said that donation boxes in several temples are only full with paper pieces. The TDB officials claimed, “It is almost sure that the revenue at Sabarimala would see a drop owing to the protests. The campaign has affected revenue at other temples as well.”
The campaign is slowly gaining momentum in almost all the parts of Kerala. This unique way of protest is also bound to hurt the Communist government as they use the money donated to temple to fund its minority appeasement drive. It’s a good way to teach lesson to the government which controls Hindu temples and uses its money for their cheap interests. The same method should be adopted in all temples which are under government control. This campaign should spread effectively across all the parts of the country. The devotees should not donate money to government controlled temple and instead drop a chit with chants written on it.
In the name of secularism, successive governments have taken control of Hindu religious institutions. They control the religious rituals carried out in temples, decide who will be appointed as the chief Pujari of the temple, manage their finances and even tax the income of Hindu temples. According to a Pgurus report, “The Kerala Government has made it mandatory for the TDB to deposit a major chunk of the annual income of Sabarimala Temple in the Government account in the state treasury and nationalized banks. No question is asked about how the money is spent by the government though there are reports that the money is transferred to some of the church and mosque accounts.”
Only Hindu temples are subjected to interventions, places of worship of other religion such as churches and mosques are free from any government intervention.
Hindu temples are facing an assault from ‘secular’ state governments all across the country. These governments under various Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) Acts, control our temples.
Control of Hindu religious institution violates the following constitutional rights of the Hindus:-
Article 14 — Equality before Law. The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 15 — Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Article 25 — Freedom of Religion.
(1) Subject to public order, morality, and health…, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.
(2)(a) Nothing in this article shall… prevent the state from making any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.
Article 26 — Freedom to manage religious affairs. Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right.