As momentum towards freeing Hindu temples from state control – one of the great ironies of Indian secularism – gains steam, there are many who are unaware of how the current situation affects us as a collective society.
J Sai Deepak, mentor to the legal team of the Indic Collective Trust explains the entire situation in a matter of eight minutes. He explains how right from the beginning in 1925, the now-debunked Aryan Invasion Theory, combined with Dravidianism began the process, with the support of missionaries.
Sai Deepak talks about how money being donated to state-controlled temples is in essence equivalent to a jiziya or a tax on Hindus for being Hindu. He speaks about how the matter went relatively unnoticed till Swami Dayanand Saraswathi filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India in 2012, one that is languishing now because the judiciary seemingly has no time for it.
State control of temples has encouraged corruption, Sai Deepak explains. We have seen how the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) department in Tamil Nadu colluded with certain elements to loot a temple’s wealth, thereby encouraging corruption. By targeting only Hindu temples, the secular state – which should maintain distance from all religions is indulging in discriminatory practices. And by allowing non-Hindus to occupy administrative positions within the temple management, the state is also allowing predatory proselytisation. By allowing temple real estate to be squandered off for non-temple purposes, the state is effectively rendering those whose livelihoods are dependent on temples, unemployed. The most important point however, is that how such a policy of a secular state weakens Hindu society collectively.
Our November 2017 issue Free Our Temples spoke extensively on the matter of Temple Control.