Tamil Nadu is home to India’s most magnificent Hindu temples, which overflow with cash due to the immense number of devotees thronging them. However, temples in the state have repeatedly been subjected to administrative high-handedness on the part of the government, which by the way, has complete control over all major temples, a luxury it enjoys exclusively with Hindus.
A recent development in Tamil Nadu has set social media on fire, rightfully so. Close to 47 major temples of the state have been asked to cough up a total of 10 crore rupees as ‘contribution’ to the CM’s relief fund, so as to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Ironically, Tamil Nadu is a state which has been ravaged with cases of COVID-19, tracing back to what they call a ‘single source’ (read Tablighi Jamaat).
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department secretary, K Panindra Reddy directed all officials of 47 temples, to contribute a surplus amount of 35 lakhs to feed the poor during lockdown. Other temples have been directed to pay 15 to 25 lakh rupees. But here’s the catch, while on one hand the Tamil Nadu government is shamelessly looting money belonging to Hindu temples, on the other, it is running from pillar to post to find mosques, so as to provide them with free rice during the month of Ramzan.
The state government has ordered the distribution of 5,450 tonnes of free rice to 2,985 mosques of the state as of April 16, so that those who were keeping Roza’s would not suffer. This rice at Rs. 21/kg will cost the Tamil Nadu government little over Rs. 11 crore. This effectively means that the Tamil Nadu government, of which the BJP is an ally, is snatching funds from Hindu temples in order to cover-up their costs of appeasing the Muslims.
This brazen attempt of the government to loot Hindu temples off their funds, even as all temples of the country face a cash-freeze due to the ongoing lockdown and minimal footfall of devotees goes on to show how temples can be held to ransom by governments whenever they deem fit. What is shameful, however, is the fact that the loot is being effectuated only to appease a particular community. Is this money, which is obliviously being used to cover-up for the cost of providing free rice, not haram?
Social media was in no mood to let the Tamil Nadu government do as it fancies, especially when the attempts to deprive temples of cash are so brazen.
#TempleTakover due to-
👉 Sheer Ignorance
👉 Self-Absorbed nature
👉 Division amongst Hindus
👉 MAJOR Underlying factor : Lack of Dharma-education
Culminate into temples being soft targets
Hindus' Wake Up
— Sanatan Prabhat (@sanatanprabhat) May 2, 2020
Temples in TN including Madurai, Palani, Thiruchendur, Thiruvannamalai, Rameswaram & others to contribute Rs 35L each for feeding the poor due to lockdown.
— Milind Dharmadhikari ® (@Milind_MMD) May 2, 2020
There are 36,000+ temples under the TN HR& CE. Lakhs of Poojaris are solely dependent on the offerings from the devotees. With the lock down, they are facing starvation. Instead of helping them, the TN Govt has its eye on the wealth of Hindu temples !#LootTemplesGiftMinorities
— HinduJagrutiOrg (@HinduJagrutiOrg) May 2, 2020
Earlier India was an Islamic State with jaziya on Hindus. Under British, a White Christian State with "Dogs and Hindus not allowed."
— Sankrant Sanu सानु संक्रान्त ਸੰਕ੍ਰਾਂਤ ਸਾਨੁ (@sankrant) May 2, 2020
While Hindus can almost be extorted for cash from temples by governments, Christians, Muslims or other minority communities do not have to cough up money whenever the government desires. This, because Churches, Mosques and Gurdwaras do not fall under the jurisdiction of the government, and the government has no authority to dictate to them how such places are to be administrated. The governments have no role in the governing of religious places belonging to minority communities.
What is more disturbing is the fact that such loot of Hindu temples is permitted by the Constitution, while other religious communities enjoy absolute freedom from the government in their places of worship.
The practise of the government being bestowed with powers to administrate temples dates its origins back to colonial India, when the British thought it fit to assume control over temples whenever they so desired. The Madras Hindu Religious and Endowments Act 1927 was initially also supposed to include Muslims and Christians, however, following protests, they were dropped from the purview of the said regulation, making government control over temples applicable only to Hindus.
The recent act of the Tamil Nadu government should serve as a wake up call for all Hindus, who should strive to take back complete control over their temples, and restore them to their former glory.