LDF Government to revamp Temple looting

via Raghavan Nair published on November 9, 2006

The latest news has been that, the LDF Government has decided to replace the current Devaswom Board with a new one with new terms of reference. It is a pity that the Hindus in the state have no say in the temples, its vast property and governance. It is common knowledge that, there is absolutely no place for temples and worships in the ideology of communist parties. In fact they propagate for the elimination of temples and strongly believe that the destruction of a temple would help to bring down the number of that many believers.


 There has been considerable resentment in their cadre and leadership about the increased awareness among Hindus and the developments happening in and around the temples. They are in fact devoid of suitable ways and means to curb the increase in temple renovations, Satsangs, Pongalaas, Bhagavatha Saptahaas, and Discourses based of Bhagavat Gita etc.  They know for sure that the temples are gradually taking the shape of centers for Hindu Renaissance.  The recent issues related to Sabarimala, the Thanthri case, The Jayamala episode, reports about the anomalies noticed in Devaswom recruitments, intermittent statements from NSS against the board when their own representative is the President, the difference in stance adopted by NSS and SNDP regarding the functioning of the Devaswom Board etc. provided the LDF government the right opportunity to revamp the whole board and bring in the changes they have been dreaming for long.  By doing so, the board will become just another department of the government to induct their party workers at suitable places, implement their policies according to their whim and fancies and make it bankrupt like many other corporations or boards of the government.


In this context it is worth mentioning about how the board was originally formed and what were its aims. It was on 01 August 1949 that Shri.Mannathu Padmanabhan was elected as the first president of Travancore Devaswom Board and Shri.R.Shankar as the General Secretary. Contrarary to the expectations of the congress party that brought them to the Devaswom Board, Mannom and Shankar set out on their efforts to form a Hindu Mahaa Mandal. They believed and propagated that Devaswom Board has such a responsibility and the temples should function as centers for spreading awareness about Sanathana Dharma and Hindu unity. They demanded from the government a substantial increase in the grant amount for the temples and preached that `Maanava Seva is the real Madhava Seva’. They made it clear to the government and the public that the vast properties and wealth belonged to the Hindu temples were attached to Government by Colonel Manroe, while the Churches and Mosques were allowed to flourish with even assistance from the government. The efforts of Mannom and Shankar started showing results and on 25 December 1949, a combined meeting of both NSS and SNDP leaders were held at Changanassery and passed a resolution to form a Hindu Mahaa Mandal.  By sensing the danger involved in the culmination of such a move, the congress leaders and other powerful religious groups who were much concerned about Hindu unity all times started the counter maneuvers which resulted in the passing of a bill in the assembly which curtailed the powers of Devaswom board and brought it under direct control of the government. So, the tenure of Mannom and Shankar came to an end on 22 May 1950. But, they were successful in spreading awareness about the need for unity among all factions of Hindus, especially the NSS and SNDP and reiterated time and again that the governance of temples and its properties must remain with Hindu believers.


The present situation is very similar to what happened in May 1950. Here again, the politicians are playing the referee card cleverly after eliminating the chances for a unified opposition from NSS and SNDP. Over 65% in communist party and about 50% in congress are Hindus and erosion in the cadre would be detrimental to the very existence of those parties. Therefore, both the parties have been trying their best to derail the once declared NSS/SNDP joint action for establishing Hindu unity in the state. The present LDF government succeeded in bringing NSS and SNDP face to face on different issues and created ground for implementing their long cherished plans. As appeasement measures, they may project a few points like appointing non-Brahmins as Poojaris in Devaswom board temples, implementing reservation system in appointment to vacancies in Devaswom Board etc.  But, crux of the issue that remains concealed has been that, they are taking over the management of temples which could have far reaching consequences including utilization of temple areas. The Hindus may not even have the right to assemble in temple areas for Satsanghs or such activities. Already, crores of rupees that come from the Hindus as offering in temples go to state treasury which then finds its way to the minorities in the form of subsidies or grants.


It is time that every concerned Hindu raises against the designs of the government and thwarts their efforts. Or else, there shall be far reaching consequences which could be beyond our imagination.  A delayed response will not bring in desired results, so act now.


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