Swaminathan Venkataraman, MBA in Finance from IIM Calcutta and a B.Tech in Electronics Engineering from IIT, Madras who is an executive council member of the Hindu American Foundation, and a financial analyst based in New York, writes the following under the caption “So-called secular Indian state controls temples, not churches and mosques” on November 15, 2017–
Rich temples such as Tirupati, Guruvayoor, or Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple have routinely been raided to fund state budget programmes or line politicians’ pockets, while what happens in Tamil Nadu can only be described as wholesale loot.In April 2016, more than a 1,000-year old temple, built by Rajendra Chola I in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu, was pulled down by the state government in the name of renovation.
The government said the temple was only “dismantled” and would be put together again.
In May 2010, the temple tower of the famous 500-year-old Kalahasti Temple in Andhra
Pradesh, built by King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara, collapsed.A UNESCO report released in August 2017 raised alarm that the Tamil Nadu government, which manages more than 36,000 temples, neither had the capacity nor qualified experts to carry out conservation work, leading to the “massacre” of ancient temples.
These magnificent temples would be national treasures in any other country, and protected with great care. Tamil Nadu’s temples are indeed known globally, but the sheer scale of the treasure is unappreciated (dozens or hundreds of temples are over 1,000 years old) and numerous gems languish in obscurity, crumbling away for lack of care.
Foxes guarding the hen-house:
This sorry state of affairs is the direct result of temples being managed by callous and corrupt state governments. Several Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) acts have allowed states to assume financial and managerial control of more than a hundred thousand Hindu temples.These HRCE departments are headed either
by a cabinet minister or by ostensibly autonomous boards. According to a Supreme
Court judgement, governments are free to appoint Marxists and non-believers to manage
During deliberations that preceded the passage of the landmark Madras HRCE Act of 1951, the premier of Madras, O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiar, assured the House of his government’s intention: “In bringing forward this Bill, Sir, let me make it clear that I have the highest interest of our faith at heart…. The regulation of Hindu temples and maths is regulation of the community’s life and conduct;the revival of our temples is the revival of our people…. If we do not make our temples a positive force, radiating a healthy progressive, social and cultural outlook, we shall be playing into the hands of the surging Godless crowd….” How ironic then that temples are managed by Marxists in Kerala, atheist Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu, or Christians such as Y. S. Rajasekhara
Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, who tried to build a church right on top of Tirumala.They have wreaked havoc on the financial sustainability of temples, although ostensibly practising Hindu politicians are also culpable. Virtually all of Reddiar’s stated intentions
stand belied or worse. T. S. S. Rajan, who introduced the bill in 1949, said, “Ours maybe
called a secular government, and so it is. But it does not absolve us from protecting the
funds of the institutions which are meant for the service of the people.”
This has been the pre-eminent rationale to justify government management of Hindu temples. In reality, state after state has used the precedent of Tamil Nadu to pass HRCE acts, seeing temple funds as cookie jars they can raid for all and sundry purposes.
Mismanagement extends to all aspects of temple administration, and borders on the
The HRCE Department controls more than 4.7 lakh acres of agricultural land, 2.6 crore
square feet of buildings and 29 crore square feet of urban land. The government, however, collects a mere Rs 36 crore in rent, while any reasonable measure will run into thousands of crores.
Financial mismanagement is compounded by gross incompetence when it comes to temple maintenance. There are numerous instances where ancient murals and paintings were white-washed, mandapams were demolished and walls sand-blasted causing
precious inscriptions to disappear.While the government eventually issues notifications
acknowledging the errors of such senseless acts, the damage is already been done, and new forms of egregious violations occur at other temples. There are long running rackets in the smuggling of exquisite ancient sculptures abroad and while there have been some notable successes in recapturing artifacts recently, they remain the tip of the iceberg.
Moreover, the initiative and intelligence for these successes come from private efforts, like the one initiated by the India Pride Project. Such a loot has been the inevitable
outcome since modern bureaucratic control of temples commenced during the British
rule. The first Collector of Chengalpattu, Lionel Place, noted in his “report on the jagir” of 1799 that, soon after he became the collector, he took over the “management of the funds of all the celebrated pagodas” into his own hands and allocated expenses for their festivals and maintenance. By 1801, these were converted to “fixed money allowances” under a “permanent settlement”. An article on the Tirupati temple by the collector of North Arcot in the Asiatic Journal in 1831, is even more explicit: “It was a strange but determined piece of policy when throughout the country the pagoda lands were resumed by the company and tusdeck allowances were granted in their place…. Now let us contemplate the result of this plan.From one end of the country to the other,
the pagodas are ruined, unmaintained…. The revenues of Tripetty are on a gradual decline and will die in the lapse of years a natural death.Some of the most celebrated temples in the country are worse off. But there are still, alas, many more strongholds of the devil.”
Legal apartheid against Hindus:
These acts of what can only be called “state-sanctioned violence” acquire the colours of apartheid when compared with the rights of other religions in independent India. One of the great ironies of Indian secularism is that a vocally secular government sees no contradiction in managing Hindu temples—and only Hindu temples. The dramatically different legal, nay constitutional, position of the Hindus vis-à-vis other religions is best understood with reference to a few key provisions of the Indian Constitution, summarised below: Article, 14,15,25,26, 29 and 30….Articles 29 and 30 together constitute
yet another assault on the Hindu community and its unity.The right to manage institutions conferred by Article 30 ought to be a natural right for all communities. But Hindus alone have been denied this privilege. Article 29 virtually guarantees that Hindus will splinter into smaller groups that can claim minority status on the basis of language or culture, thereby securing immunity from the depredations of the state. Groups such as the Ramakrishna Mission, and now Lingayats, have claimed/are claiming minority status for this reason, as are many private educational institutions run by Hindus.
As far back as 1927, the passage of the Hindu Religious Endowments Bill caused communities in Canara and Malabar to claim to be “separate and independent
communities”. This harms the unity and integrity of India by encouraging more groups
to separate as distinct entities, not because they have seen themselves as such historically but simply for constitutional convenience. This also severely hampers the Hindu community’s ability to respond to the menace of religious conversions. Hindus are
routinely accused of not performing adequate social service for the poor, unlike Christian missionaries. But how could they, when the government usurps temple funds and interferes in educational and other institutions?
By contrast, churches are completely free from interference and run schools and hospitals on a for-profit basis that fund conversion efforts. Such institutionalised
discrimination against an ostensible 80 per cent majority community is without parallel
anywhere in the world. Hindus have a right to manage their temples:The near total ignorance and indifference among the educated elite of India about how temples are managed is only now beginning to change, with the growth of a right of centre media
ecosystem. But granting Hindus the right to manage their temples should not be a
partisan issue. On the one hand, politicians of all hues have been guilty of misappropriating temple funds. On the other, intellectuals on the Left have
opined just as much against state interference in temples. There are legitimate questions about how temples would be managed and how corruption can be avoided, but no one
questions the right or ability of minorities to manage their places of worship.
Claiming that the government must manage temples makes the implicitly bigoted assumption that Hindus alone are incapable of managing their temples.
Swaminathan Venkataraman, writes further under the caption–Discrimination
against Hindus, on December 31, 2017 as follows
a. Though Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, Indian
governments have been giving special rights to minorities (non-Hindus), but discriminating against Hindus. After getting power in 2014, even BJP-led government has continued Congress-led government’s pseudo-secular and discriminatory policies; and has done nothing to remove discrimination against Hindus. This discrimination is destroying Hindu civilization.
b. Some examples of this discrimination are as follows:
i. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 requires Hindu-run
schools to provide free education (with negligible compensation from government) to
25 per cent students from weaker sections, and to comply with many other stiff conditions whereas minority-run schools are exempt from this law. This Act has made the cost of running Hindu-run schools prohibitive resulting in closure of thousands of Hindu-run schools all over the country.
ii. Though government must help all deserving people irrespective of their religion, Minority Affairs Ministries in Central and State governments are giving scholarships, free-ships,and many other incentives to minorities as per Sachar Committee’s Report, 2006; and Hindus are deprived of such benefits.
iii. Prominent Hindu temples all over India are under government’s control whereas no
mosque or church is controlled by government.
iv. Educational institutions run by Hindus face government’s interference whereas
minorities’ educational institutions enjoy full freedom under Article 30 of Indian Constitution. Because of this discrimination, even Ramakrishna Mission (unsuccessfully) claimed before the Supreme Court that it was a nonHindu religious minority.
v. Lakhs of Hindus were made to leave Kashmir in 1990; and since then they have been
living in refugee camps in Jammu, Delhi and other places waiting for their rehabilitation in Kashmir. Discrimination against Hindus will continue till its victims stand against it.
t India and the Need to Protect Ancient Vedic Tradition’, November 5, 2015 that– The
Hindu Religious 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.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 revenues 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 courses. 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
[Source: World Hindu News (WHN)-http://worldhindunews.com/2015102449495/control-of-hindu-temples-and-temple-fundsstephen-knapp-book-opens-our-eyes/
2. The so called secular, anti-Hindu Governments at the Centre and in the States have not only been usurping the temple funds and relegating them for purposes of Islam and
Christianity, wilfully depriving and neglecting Hindu temples that desperately deserve repair, renovation and care, but also consistently conniving to deride, deform and denigrate Hindu laws and social systems that have protected Hindu culture from ruination and decimation amidst perennial onslaughts. The Nehru Government deliberately passed the anti-Hindu legislations Hindu code, instead of an India Code (not to speak of a Muslim code or a Christian Code). Later, constitutional amendment to declare the India as a Secular Nation, in spite of prior trifurcation of Bharat on the basis of religion, that caused mass exodus of Hindus (in millions) from the Pakistan (both East and West) leaving their hearth and home penniless, with their all movable and immovable properties (later to be declared as enemy property) was a Himalayan blunder, if not a devilish design by the Gandhi-Nehru gang. The puerile policy of
minority appeasement pursued for decades since Independence, spelled further disaster
caused by persistent infiltration through the porous border, in all states, especially the
bordering states now seething under a demographical upheaval and pan-Islamic campaign. The Christian missionaries are also not sitting idle, and have geared up efforts to baptise the Adivasis and allied castes fuelled by the caste politics so long pursued by the pseudo-secular Congress and the leftist regime in different States and at the Centre. The situation is further worsened by the stoic or apathetic attitude and activities of the pseudosecular regimes.
With the change of power at Centre and the elections knocking at the door, not only Rahul Gandhi, now the Congress President and all so called secular opposition leaders including the West Bengal Chief minister, are frequently visiting temples with their photographs printed in various newspapers to desperately win Hindu votes. TMC leaders in West Bengal are now inviting thousands of priests to offer them lined cloth for pujas with yellow Namavali, Geeta etc. prior to calling separate conference for minorities and so called dalits ( a misnomer and distorted coinage).
3. Pseudo-secularism: A Hindu has an advantage– one can criticize its systems and practices without the fear of being accused of sacrilege and awarded death sentences or ostracization. Under the protective umbrella of broad Hindu society Hindu secularists, politicians or intellectuals all alike condemn whoever speaks in favour of Hindus even on right ground. On the other hand they look the other way at the most apparently communal activities or utterances of other religionists or tacitly support them. This adds fuel to fire and older weapons in the hands of Hindu fanatics if
any. Even the Hindu liberals, at least a sizeable section of them feel hurt and let down. The suppressed anger finds an outlet in the form of silent apathy or they even become rebellious inwardly. Thus, when MF Hussain draws nude pictures of Hindu Goddess, he is supported in the name of freedom of expression, while Taslima Nasreen is hounded from her own country. She seeks refuge in a country of her choice that she loves and especially in a city (read Kolkata) that prides itself on being the most liberal and secular she is forced out. None of the demonstrators against her writings in Kolkata on 17″ November 2007 have read or understood a single word of her writing but held the city at ransom that day and terrorized people for hours.
And her fault? She depicted in lucid prose the numerous incongruities in her society
marshaled fromfacts encountered by her since her girlhood days, In ‘My Girlhood Days’ she has exposed the male chauvinism vis-a-vis persecution of women and illiberal practices prevalent in a primal society. She has not even spared her father and indicted her own behavior. In her novelette, Lajja that is an account of facts presented in the form of a fiction she has serialized the events that followed in Bangladesh in the wake of demolition of a disputed shrine at Ayodhya and painted pictures of persecution of minority Hindus.
We put pressure on Nepal, the only Hindu Kingdom in the world to transform into a secular democracy already achieved but keep quiet when secular Bangladesh declares herself as Islamic state. These ultra-secularists born as Hindu though are definitely doing a disservice to the cause of secularism.
Now it is proved that the disputed shrine at Ayodhya was indisputably a temple
converted into a mosque. The facts available in this respect are as under.
A Hindu temple existed there since the days of Vikramaditya Chandragupta Maurya II. For about a millennium there was no problem. A few years before the irruption of Babur across the Western border, one Muslim Imam made a connect with the temple priest and started occasional visit to the temple and exchange the religious and theological matters with the priest.It was really very exhilarating and could pave the way for assimilation of two different cultures and bring two apparently extremely opposite form of religious beliefs closer to each other. But history does not follow as we wish it should.
Ironically the priest died suddenly without keeping an heir-apparent. The Muslim saint or Darbesh stepped in and occupied the temple and started offering prayer in the Islamic way alongside the Hindu form of worshipping the idol. Things were going on smoothly and could have been so but for the intervention of Babur. He destroyed the superstructure and built in its place one with an Islamic architecture and a dome that
is typical of a mosque. But at one corner the Hindus continued to offer pujas. During the
British regime in 1849 the then District Collector placed the sanctum sanctorum of the
shrine under lock and key because of communal tension that started brewing up by the time fomented by as luck would have it, the advanced section of the Muslims and not
the illiterate and ordinary Muslim masses who were so far untouched or ingenuously
unaffected by any sense of communal divide. So far so good. In the meanwhile the Hindus initiated movement to restore their rights of possession. Hindus were very much within their rights to reclaim its custody of the sanctum sanctorum. The Hindus kept on offering pujas till then. As the movement reached its peak in 1986 the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi opened the lock. Immediately the Muslim Personal Law Board filed a suit with the Allahabad high Court. It has been proved by archaeological excavation, there did exist a Hindu temple and the mosque was built on Hindu shrine in utter violation of religious propriety. Fundamentalism of any kind or faith has to be cried down. It is unfortunate that liberal forces among Muslims are silent for fear of being ostracized or even threatened with death. (Puzzles of History, Truth and Untruth Part-I
by Sudip Narayan Ghosh)
4.The pernicious Hindu Code: Sin always comes under a saintly brow and the cleverly
designing political masters have unleashed systematic attacks on the Hindu Shastras and
Sanatan Dharma during the first 70 years after ndependence in the guise of social reform to serve vested interests. There can be no compromise with sin. We cannot accept the authority of a Nehru –an erring mortal and a slavish imitator of the West to enact laws in defiance of the Shastras. The authority of Parliament cannot override the
dictates of the Shastras, God’s Spoken Words, written down for our benefit by all-seeing
Rishis. No Hindu can accept any other authority other than that of the Shastras.
During the passage of the detestable Hindu Code in the Parliament in 1952, an M.P. made the unspeakably outrageous statement that ‘Hindu Marriage is prostitution’. An Indian woman with a Hindu name could utter the blasphemous statement and she was not rebuked by the Prime Minister or any of his numerous colleagues. Could there be a more convincing proof of the shameful limits to which some people can go in denouncing Dharma and still more the license they enjoy in the present Parliament? In his note of dissent, Dr. Dwaraka Nath Mitter, one of the members of the then Hindu Code Committee observed, ‘The majority are against the codification of Hindu Law and it is only a microscopic minority that favours codification. The people who have supported the code are generally men and women of the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj etc. who form a very small portion of the Hindu community.’ The bill was passed only after Nehru issued a
whip to all Congress members to cast their vote in favour of passing the bill.
[Excerpted from ‘Why Hindu Code is Detestable’ published by Shastra Dharma
Prachar Sabha, in October, 1956]
5. As far back as on October 27, 2003, People against the Govt. Exploitation of Hindu Temples, in its Open letter to the Chief Minister, Karnataka, mentioned that– “In the civilized world no law can empower a Govt. to benefit one faith to the detriment of the other. Unfortunately, that is precisely what is happening in your state. At a time when Governments are rushing to abandon the commanding heights of the economy, state presence in the management of places of worship is incongruous. Hindu temples
were once great centers of learning, and even today illustrious spiritual leaders like Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Amritanandmayi Ma have inspired magnificent medical and educational institutions through community service.” The claim that the temples fall within the domain of the concurrent list of the state does not in any shape or form supersede or override the superior jurisdiction of the national constitution which among other things guarantees separation of religion and state as also freedom of religion. In summary:
1) The Nationalization and taxation of places of worship violates the basic tenets of India’s secular constitution. Such extra legal actions constitute a reverse discrimination
against India’s majority community. The Govt. control of temples and allocation of their
revenues to benefit the competing faiths is against the precept of separation of religion and state.Democratic and secular governments do not penalize or patronize religions.
2) There is great resentment amongst the majority community on the misuse of its religious funds, neglect of its cultural assets, strangulation of its cultural and spiritual pursuits as well as of its community service projects, while funding Madrassas (breeding ground for Jihadists). Such a misplaced generosity towards terrorists at the cost of Hindus could easily be construed as an anti-national activity.
3) The Govt. should place its policies relevant to– a) freedom of religion; and, b)
separation of religion and state, before the general public and implement a time bound
plan to establish a representative Hindu Board for taking over the governance,
administration and management of Hindu temples. This issue has made a billion strong Hindu community worldwide very restive and indignant. They seek rectification of this
undescended error by the Karnataka Govt. Therefore, on their behalf we ask you to take
necessary and immediate measures for handing over the jurisdiction and management of temples to the autonomous bodies of the Hindu community. Actions should also be taken simultaneously for undertaking the repairs and renovations of the neglected temples.
Compensating these places of worship for the damages suffered by them during the ill cnceived de facto Govt. control should also receive a priority treatment.”
Such shameless discrimination against Hindu Temples and limitless misappropiation
of temple money by successive Governments can only continue till the so called tolerant (
imbecile?) Hindus remain victims of insane infatuation gripped in sinful stupor. The Government at the centre should fast initiate necessary amendments. We quote five proposals from Dr. Gangaram Tiwari, Rashtriya Adhyaksha, Vaidic Sanatan Dharma and Rashtra Manch (Ayodhya) worth consideration. The organisation has been actively demanding for an (Bharat free from Colonial shackles).
(1) Complete ban on Cow Slaughter.(2) The Adi Shankaracharya Temple, in Jammu & Kashmir presently declared as Takht-e-Sulemani should be restored for the Hindus.(3) The restriction imposed on Saints for worship and darshan of the original Akshay Vat at Prayag should be repealed. (4) The unauthorisedly constructed Church on the land of Sri Ramchandra’s Temple at Bhadrachalam in Karnataka should be removed. (5) Cases against Saints languishing in jails without evidence viz. Sant Asharamji Bapu, Narayan Prem Sain, Dhananjai Desai etc. should be withdrawn and they should be soon released. Because Justice delayed is justice denied. The Sharp wheel of time is turning rapidly
and irresistable, cutting up all in its onward March.