“If you want to finish the name of a civilisation from history, then you should nullify the glory of its past.” This is the principle which has been worked upon for the past 1200 years which includes the rule of Muslims (Mughals and Afghans) as well as that of British. Though Mughals were not quite successful in destroying the past glory of India, British did it very systematically and intelligently. First they did the study of the supply of Indian ethics and morals after which they systematically destroyed the institutions of Indian ethical excellence. These institutions which supplied the glory, nationalist spirit and morals included the Hindu temples as well as gurukuls which prepared a strong youth to resist an unlawful and immoral rule. Though they were successful in finishing gurukuls but failed in finishing the Hindu temples which are the centre of scientific, cultural and architectural excellence. Compulsion of foreign rulers towards destroying the ancient Indian culture is justified as they had to rule India, but what goes out of the justification is the negligent attitude of the present state governments towards Hindu temples.
At the present date temples are struggling to exist even though we are going to celebrate the 75th “transfer of power day” soon. The temples of South India are facing a challenge to preserve their existence as well as the cultural and traditional legacy of them. It’s all because the present provincial governments of the Indian Union are not ready to give up the British legacy of controlling the Hindu temples. The control of the government on Hindu temples is leading to their decline which is a serious concern. But as the political leaders of India callous towards the feelings of the majority community, the temple issue appears to them an insignificant one because they are habitual of keeping Hindus under their shoe due to which Hindu interests do not bother them at all.
But the control over the temples did not start suddenly. It is a colonial practice which is being continued in the independent Union of India by some provincial governments. According to a statement given by the minister of external affairs Shri S Jaishankar British drained $ 45 trillion out of India in 200 years. And out of these 45 trillions, the major share of wealth belongs to the temples as our temples are not only religious centres but also are the evidence of the cultural and architectural excellence of the ancient 5000 years old civilization. The history of of controlling the temples can be understood by three major events:
- In 1817 the British East India company e introduced the system of controlling the Hindu temples. Since then the temples are being looted systematically which even did not change after the transfer of power to Indians.
- In 1925 the English government passed a law in which they tried to hold control over all religious institutions came to be known as The Madras Religious and Charitable Endowments Act 1925. But due to the mass protest of Muslims and Christians the act was redrafted and changed to the Madras Hindu Religion and Charitable Endowments Act 1927.
- In 1927, after 2 years the previous mentioned act was redrafted, British Imperial legislature passed a new law known as the Madras Hindu Religion and Charitable Endowments act 1927.
Even after the transfer of power, the hardships of temples did not eradicate. In 1957, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act 1957 was passed which gave the power to the government to take charge and complete control of the temples. And this dictatorship over the temples has been going on since then due to which the glorious legacy and inheritance of art and culture has been harmed immensely. According to data from a study, from 1986 to 2005 the temples of only Tamil Nadu lost 45,000 acres of land. 37000 temples are out of revenue to hire more than a priest and appoint support staff. Hindu Religion and Charity Endowments told the Madras High court that 11,999 temples are out of revenue to perform puja and other rituals. According to Government sources, in last 25 years 1200 Where idols have been stolen (real data can be above 5000) and sold old in foreign countries for millions due to which the Garbhgrihas in the temples is beholding the way of the lost idols as a portrait it is hanged at the place to worship which is a complete injustice. Around more than 4 lacs temples out of 9 lacs are controlled by the government. In South India the picture is even more scary. 34039 thousand temples are respectively controlled by the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Though, earlier too, temples were controlled by monarchs in kingships but there was a separate administration for the temples. Moreover the king used to be a devotee of the deity which eradicated the chances of exploitation of temples.
According to some resisting elements the argument that’s given is that the government is controlling the temples for their money and temples should donate all the gold they have to enhance the GDP of the state. But according to the government reports in 2019, the sale of legal cigars alone made a business of more than $ 348 billion dollars. It can be argued that a ban on these anti- social addictions can be used to improve GDP rather than establishing dominance over the temples as all the gold, diamonds and precious stones that the temples had were presented to the feet of Her Majesty at London. All of which they are left with is the gold plated metal, so a control is completely immoral.
Though the Hon’ble Supreme court has ordered the state governments to return the temples to the societies through 3 judgements, the provincial governments of a deaf ear to the apex court. As a result, 15 state governments still control the temples. So, not free in the Hindu temples the provincial governments are ignoring the following questions which raise in in common man’s mind :
- In a secular country, why are any of the Dharmic institutions being controlled by the government as secularism prohibits the government from operating business through any of the religious and Dharmik institutions ?!
- Either all the religious institutions be controlled or none. If mosques, churches and gurudwara are not governed by the government, why are temples ?!
- Who gives government authority to interfere in the internal matters of the community to run their own religious institutions by their way ?
- Isn’t it the violation of article 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution to control any religious institution ?
It’s fortunate that the awakening is spreading in Hindus at a faster pace now. Movements are being run to free Hindu temples. May it be the BJP ruled Uttarakhand or DMK ruled Tamil Nadu the state of Hindus and their temples remain the same. But as the awakening spreads, as society awakens, as the majority will shout for the rights the blind governments will see and the deaf system will listen to us. We are still in process to create an environment of equal treatment for the majority and alienation of politics of minority appeasement. It is very vital to save and free the temples from government control because the nation which forgets its dates, is forgotten by dates too. If we have to live, our India has to live till eternity, then it’s our moral duty to protect our inherited cultural ethics.