Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tamil Nadu's Religious Harmony : A Big Question Mark ?

I've warned about this before, but this kind of bias against Hindu and Vedic temples continues to go on. There needs to be serious demonstrations in India itself to oppose this kind of arrangements that work against the Hindu community for the benefit of the Christian and Muslim communities.

Tamil Nadu Unfairly Targets Hindu Temples While Giving Other Religions Full Freedom

Tamil Nadu is home to some of the richest Hindu temples

Tamil Nadu is home to some of the richest Hindu temples

The Tamil Nadu government claims to be secular but has been treating Hindu institutions and temples differently compared to institutions of other religions. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department administers 36,425 temples, 56 mutts, 47 temples belonging to mutts, 1721 specific endowments and 189 trusts. The department claims to be watching over all religious institutions to maintain secularism but it has only been looking over the Hindu religious institutions and this policy is not being applied to any other religions like Christian or Islamic institutions.

The indifference and lack of stance against such an issue by Hindus along with the pushy missionaries being let into the region are the two main causes of such an injustice. This has allowed the Tamil Nadu government to process the way it does, assuming such a level of control.

Prominent mutts of the 1840’s—when the British ruled—were asked to take over certain temples and endowments. The heads of these mutts made sure to get written documents from the British Government assuring the mutts that the temples would not be taken into repossession by the government.

The mutts ran the temples well and efficiently using funds provided where they should have been used—to perform important rituals and for renovations in the temple. Overall, the funds were used for the primary purpose of the temple—supporting worship. However, contrary to this, thousands of other religious institutions were simply handed over to the trustees with the government providing little or no supervision at all with what was being done with the funding and whether it was being utilized for the purpose of which it was given for.

The Madras Hindu Religious Endowment Act of 1925, was passed by the local Legislature for the purpose of providing better governance and administration of Hindu temples. This act was widely changed and adapted several times to consolidate the government’s power over the Hindu institutions, both before and after Independence. After independence, the act was widely expanded.

What Hindus must remember is that it is not the job of a government body to rule over and administer what is going on with Hindu temples, especially when the same body is not doing the same for churches and mosques in the same region. There must be something wrong if policies that were originated, to be applied to all religions, are only being applied to one religion continuously. Hindus should group together and petition against such government bodies, bringing outside agencies to help and audit the HR and CE Department and its activities related to this issue. Hindus should work together to gain back access to the temples so that they are handed over to their respective trustees or appropriate Hindu associations.