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Must Read Please! - "RUINED TEMPLES" - THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS – 26 OCTOBER 2009.Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:51 AMTo:undisclosed-recipientsThanks to the correspondent T.Muruganandam and "The New Indian Express" for this important report.Our Pranams to Sri A.M.Rajagopalan and Sri Narayanaswami.- B.R.Haran-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS – 26 OCTOBER 2009.
Seventy-Eight percent of the temples under the control of the HR & CE Department are in shambles. According to activists, its time the government hands over the control of the temples to an independent, politically neutral body. – T.Muruganandam reports: -
`They are being run like govt depts' SEVENTY-EIGHT PER CENT OF THE TEMPLES UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE HR & CE DEPARTMENT ARE IN SHAMBLES.
Some years ago, a devotee tried to reno vate the ancient temple of Lord Ran ganatha at Thirumalpadi near Van davasi. The temple that sits on a hill ock was totally dilapidated. The devo tee went from door to door and begged for money and toiled day and night to get the temple renovated. The kumbhabhishekham was slated to take place in 2007.
But a local politician interfered and stopped the kumbhabhishekham for his own reasons. Though the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department took action against the politician, he was later let off because of his closeness to top lead ers in Chennai. Rers in Chennai.
RECALLING this incident, A M Rajagopalan (86), editor of Kumudham weekly, who was instrumental in the renovation of many ancient temples for the past few decades, says the government and local politicians instead of acting as force multipliers try to put a spoke in people's initiative. Individual initiative to renovate temples runs into a virtual wall of government procedural formalities and clearances, testing their will and patience and wasting lots of time, he says.
Kings built most of the temples, but they never intervened in the traditional worship there. Even the Britishers never interfered in the administration of temples, he points out, strongly arguing for handing over temple administration to a non-political independent body.
According to him, there are 381 temples that are 1,000 years old, 72 of which are very important for their architectural splendor.
After Independence, various political parties started influencing the administration of Hindu temples. Since India was declared as a secular country, people expected the government to stay off religion and religious institutions. But the opposite has happened.
Rajagopalan says that the HR & CE department does not have infrastructure to renovate and manage all the ancient temples. "Many temples are being run as if they are government offices.... In all fairness, the Hindu society should be allowed to run the temples according to Agama Sastras and traditional values."
Veteran journalist R S Narayanaswami, who has been researching on temples for over four decades, lays the blame squarely on the successive governments for impoverishing the temples, resulting in their poor upkeep.
Under the pretext of land reforms, the State drastically reduced the income of temples over a period of time.. In 1953, through a legislation, the ratio of the net produce from the temple lands to be shared between the temples and its tenants was fixed at 60:40. After the DMK assumed office, the ratio came down to 25:75. Even this low share is not being realized by many temples.
Narayanaswami describes the government's efforts to renovate 48 ancient temples as grossly insufficient. "There is a need for a major scheme for renovating ancient temples as they are the cultural heritage of our State."
In figures 38,465 temples in the State are controlled by the HR&CE dept that comes under the State government.
Under the pre text of land reforms, the State government drastically reduced the income of the temples over a period of time -- NARAYANASWAMI
30,000 temples are getting less than Rs 5,000 as annual income. Of these many are in dilapidated state and need funds for renovation, according to the HR & CE dept's policy note.
A M Rajagopalan says that there are 381 temples in the State that are 1,000 years old, 72 of which are very important for their architectural splendor.
DEMAND TO HAND OVER CONTROL TO AUTONOMOUS BODY
"Most of the funds for temple kumbhabhishekham are raised by devotees and not the govt.
So, why shouldn't they be allowed to run the temples themselves?"
EIGHTY-four years after the government took over the administration of misappropriation of funds by the then dharmakartas (trustees), the maintenance of many temples continues to be poor, prompting the call for handing over the administration to an independent body.in the State on grounds of poor management and
The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) Department, through which the State government manages the temples, admits that over 30,000 temples "are getting less than Rs 5,000 as annual income. Among these temples, many of them are very dilapidated, requiring huge money for renovation." In all, the HR & CE department controls 38,465 temples.
In other words, over 78 per cent temples under government control are in a shambles. Reason enough for the temple protection activists to demand that the administration of Hindu temples be handed over to an independent board comprising retired judges, heads of religious organisations and others. According to an estimate, of the 30,000 dilapidated temples in the State, at least 500 are ancient and have historical importance. The Pandiyas, Pallavas and kings of the Vijayanagar Empire built most of them.
According to activists, it's time the government hands over control of the temples to an independent, politically neutral body.
The activists point out that the government has done precious little to clear vast swathes of temple lands that are under encroachment by individuals. Land is meant to generate wealth; encroachment chokes the revenue stream. Also, though temples own lakhs of acres of land and other property, major functions like kumbhabhishekham (consecration) and periodic renovation take place mostly through donations by devotees. "If the devotees need to raise funds them selves, why shouldn't they be allowed to run the temples themselves? It's time the government handed over the administration to an independent body," the activists assert.
At present, 4,78,681 acres of dry, wet and manavari lands, 22,599 buildings and 33,627 sites belonging to religious institutions are under the control of the HR &CE department. Agricultural lands owned by the temples and mutts are under occupation by 1,23,729 lessees. All the buildings and sites are occupied by tenants.
Besides, cases of temple break-ins resulting in idol theft or breaking of hundis (fund collection boxes) and killing of temple watchmen have gone up manifold over the years, exposing the government's total ineptitude, they say.
Temples came under government control in 1925 after a recommendation to that effect by a commission in 1921.
HR and CE Minister KR Periyakaruppan could not be contacted for his comments.
FORGOTTEN PANEL REPORT FOR BETTER TEMPLE ADMINISTRATION
T HE DMK regime in 1989 consti uted a five-member committee headed by Kundrakudi Adigalar for recommending measures for better administration of the temples in. The panel included former Justice Krishnaswamy Reddiyar.
The panel submitted its report in 1990 but the government never made its recommendations public. The AIADMK regime that followed also did not do anything on the report.
HERE ARE THE EXCERPTS FROM THE REPORT: -
The government should avoid acquiring temple lands even for public purposes. Only when the government is unable to get sufficient lands from other sources, temple lands that are not of any use to the temples can be acquired by paying the prevailing market value The committee is of the view that the funds of the temples should not be spent or diverted to non-religious works either directly or indirectly Administration of each temple should display the list of movable and immovable assets of that particular temple In general, the income through the temple lands is very meagre and that too is being paid to the government in the form of land tax, water tax, etc. Hence, it would not be proper for the government to extend the income tax applicable to the individuals to the tem ples also as they are, in fact, assets of society. As such, the temples should be exempted from income tax Long-term leases (more than 10 years) should be cancelled so that the income of the temples goes up considerably.
The temple lands in urban areas should not be sold out under any circumstance.
Such lands could be used for constructing houses, marriage halls and shopping complexes through Tamil Nadu Housing Board so that the income of the temples could be increased A special scheme for renovating all historically important temples, visited by saints should be drawn up and all these temples should be renovated within a five-year time frame
Electronic Media and Hindu Sentiments – 2 - ThamizhchelvanMonday, October 26, 2009 2:56 PMTo:undisclosed-recipients
Electronic Media and Hindu Sentiments – 2
27 Oct 2009
Even rationalists couldn't disown Mangalsutra
In the last seventy years, the Dravidian racist organizations and political parties have been trying their level best to alienate Tamils from the Hindu fold, by propagating that 'Tamil culture' is totally different from 'Hindu culture' and all that jazz.
This kind of campaigning increased manifold since 1967 with the help of official machinery after the State came under the rule of Dravidian parties. The so-called self-respect marriage was the first step taken by Dravidian racists towards this objective. Its aim was to denigrate Hindu tradition. It is a different matter that self-respect marriages have been a great failure.
The self-respect marriages happening now are sans purohits, Agni and Vedic Mantras, but not without Mangalsutra. Dravidian leaders who claim to be products of EV Ramasamy's and Annadurai's schools of Dravidian thought, have been brazenly presiding over self-respect marriages, blessing couples by personally handing over Mangalsutras to them. A recent example was the conduct of 84 marriages on the 84th birthday of and DMK President M Karunanidhi, wherein he blessed 84 couples by gifting Mangalsutras.
Silent Tamil parties and effete Hindu organisations
Though the 'Thaali' has become an integral part of the life of , it was quite evident that the agenda of Mercury Creations was to poison the minds of the Tamil people and create a sense of hatred against the habit of wearing Mangalsutra. It is very sad that this programme, which insulted a great culture and ridiculed a divine tradition, has not stirred any protests so far.
It may be recalled that "Tamil" political parties made actor Kushboo's life miserable for stating in an interview to "India Today" that there was nothing wrong in premarital sex, by demonstrating in front of her house with footwear and broomsticks and filing a flurry of cases in all courts across the state, forcing her to render a public apology. They said Kushboo had insulted Tamil women and demeaned Tamil culture.
But by remaining silent now, they have indicated unwillingness to protest against Christian companies. Thus, those who showed bravery against a hapless woman for conveying an opinion do not have the courage to act against a rich and powerful media house. Another fact we can infer from their silence is that these 'Tamil' parties have not come out against Vijay TV because they also run their own newspapers/magazines and TV Channels on the common plank of anti-Hinduism.
But why haven't Hindu organizations protested? Was it because of incapacity, disunity, lack of cadre strength? Even the women's wing of the BJP has not bothered to take note. They could have at least issued a press statement. There is a fear among the Hindu intelligentsia in that what the propaganda of Dravidian parties failed to achieve – to alienate Tamils from the Hindu fold – may well be achieved by the weakness of Hindu organizations! Hindu bodies must realize this and pull up their socks. As news about this outrageous programme has spread across the state, expect these organizations to launch statewide protests and force Vijay TV and Mercury Creations to render a public apology, failing which these organizations must take the legal course.
Individuals rose to the occasion
Though political parties and other organizations kept quiet, concerned individuals registered their protests in no uncertain terms. They contacted Mr. Sriram, CEO of Vijay TV and Mr. Antony, CEO of Mercury Creations, over telephone and protested against the telecast of the concerned programme and demanded a public apology. Sriram attended a call or two but later instructed his Secretary to avoid the phone calls. But he could not dodge the persistent Radha Rajan (Editor, www..vigilonline.com) to whom he said, "We just telecast the programme and we are in no way connected with the production. I will ask the producers to speak to you." But Ms. Rajan gave him a piece of her mind and asked if he would telecast any kind of filth if it comes with money, without any social responsibility.
Antony contacted Radha Rajan and asked her audaciously, "So many movies have come showing scenes of removing the Mangalsutra. Did you question those producers or protest against them? Why are you protesting now?" When Radha Rajan blasted him for his arrogance, he tried to mislead her saying, "I belong to the 'Thevar' community and Pon Muthuramalinga Thevar is like a God for me". But when she pointed out that he could not hide the fact that he was a 'Thevar Christian,' he replied, "We have just aired the opinion of the participants," and without showing any remorse disconnected the phone.
Two other Hindu activists, Mrs. Uma Ananth and Mr. Venkat, also called Sriram and Antony and demanded a public apology. Parameswaran of strongly condemned the telecast of such an outrageous programme and demanded a public apology from both. Gautham from Kanyakumari called up Antony and blasted him for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. He asked him if he had the courage to produce programmes demeaning a minority community's culture. Antony reportedly told Gautham, "It was not a deliberate act. We have just aired the opinions of the participants. Moreover, I am a devotee of Vaikundanathar and so I would not hurt the Hindus". Antony, apart from 'acting' as a devotee of Muthuramalinga Thevar and Vaikundanathar, showed no remorse to those who spoke to him.
However, realising that the protests were increasing, Antony approached Sri Ramagopalan ji, Founder President of Hindu Munnani. He refrained from discussing this issue with Sri Ramagopalan ji but invited him to be chief guest for a future programme on 'Siddhars'. As Ramagopalan ji was unaware of the issue he consented to this request. As Antony was leaving the Hindu Munnani office, he got a mouthful from Parameswaran who reached there by chance and later informed Ramagopalan ji about the issue.
Columnist BR Haran, who learnt of Antony's visit to the Hindu Munnani, urged Sri Ramagopalan ji to take up the cultural atrocity with Vijay TV and ensure their apology via 'scroll' on the screen the whole of Sunday 18 October. He suggested Ramagopalan ji organize a protest demonstration in front of Vijay TV office, and urged Sri Vedantam ji, International Vice President VHP, to support the protest.
Shri Ramagopalan ji called Sriram and asked him to render a public apology for telecasting the said programme which had hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu majority. Sriram had the temerity to tell Ramagopalan ji that he had sent a report to his Head Office at Honh Kong and could act only as per their advice.. The same reply was given to Uma Ananth when she demanded an apology.
When the Television Company and Production Company are Christian institutions working with an anti-Hindu agenda, what can employees like Sriram do? Still it is sad that Hindus work in such companies at the cost of their dignity and self-respect, without being able to do anything when their own culture and religion are degraded in front of their eyes.
Meanwhile, Chennai based advocate R Subramaniam sent a legal notice to Vijay TV-CEO Mr. Sriram (Respondent-1), Mercury Creations-CEO Mr. Antony (Respondent-2) and Vijay TV Anchor Gopinath (Respondent-3) with copies to the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu and Commissioner of Police, Chennai City. He condemned the first three respondents and demanded a public apology before telecasting the next episode of the programme, failing which he requested both the DGP and CoP to take immediate action against them.
The offence committed by Vijay TV and Mercury Creations is violative of Sections 153(a), 153(b) and 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code and they deserve punishment in accordance with those sections.
(To be continued…)
The writer is a freelancer
RE: Government control of temples is destroying HinduismThursday, October 22, 2009 1:34 PMFrom:"D P PILLAI" <email@example.com>Message contains attachments1 File (14KB)
Thanks for forwarding this article, though it is originally published in March 2009, it still is very much a live issue.
It indeed is very well written and appropriate. I fully agree with the views of the author and appreciate the spirit behind it.
The bane of Hindus is INDIFFERENCE often confused with TOLERANCE.
This weakness has been exploited by conquerors, rulers and modern day politicians.
This has been bothering my conscience for a long time but I do not know what to do.
And I believe there many like minded Hindus wanting to do something about it but do not know what and how.
I will support any action to make a difference / change.
If you have any further information or action plan, please do let me know. Do include me in your mailing list.
D P PILLAI
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