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Secularism and anti-Hinduism

The same  day the Supreme Court upheld the appeal of the Podhu Dikshithars of Chidambaram Sri Nataraja temple and restored their rights to manage the temple, the Tamil Nadu government announced taking over of Ayodhya Aswamedha Mahamandapam in West Mambalam. This Mandapam, the Mithilapuri Kalyana Mandapam, Sri Sitaram Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Gnana Vapi were managed by the Sri Ram Samaj Trust for decades with efficiency. I have been following the growth of this trust into an extremely popular organisation that promoted Hindu religion and culture. Right from its inception six decades ago, the trust holds free concerts of renowned musicians. This indeed was a boon for the predominantly middle class population of this part of the city, far different from the affluence of Mylapore and later T Nagar.  Under the lead of dedicated public spirited men like Vepathur Venkatarama Iyer, K Subramaniam and a host of prominent local citizens, Sri Ram Samaj was rendering yeomen service attracting large attendance, not just for the very many vedic, religious  and music programmes, but also as a meeting place of vedic scholars.

Perhaps, the ability of the Samaj to mobilise resources and grow to expand its services manifold, seems to have attracted the attention of the government to gain control over its rich resources.

A few months ago, the government tried to seek more control over the Sri Maruthi Baktha Samajam Trust, Nanganallur that also became extremely popular and built a huge following thanks to the spirited endeavours of a few individuals and with little government help. Again, the affluence of the trust attracted the government to take over the trust.

If the complaint is on mal-administration or improper maintenance of accounts, the government has the power to demand explanations and attempt corrections. When there are very many administrative activities of the government that have not been winning kudos for efficiency or financial integrity, where is the justification for it to take over well-established institutions which have been serving the cause of society well for decades ?

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department of the government is often administered by politicians and civil servants, not necessarily committed to the tenets of Hinduism. Leaders of Dravidian parties like M Karunanidhi and K Anbazhagan are professed atheists; the AIADMK is an off-shoot of DMK. Thus, often the Thakkars and other members of the temple administration do not subscribe to the tenets of Hinduism. Hundreds of temples in the state are in a state of neglect and suffer thefts of idols, precious jewellery and other assets. Hundreds of acres of their lands have been illegally acquired or occupied denying them remunerative rents. There has also been many instances of thefts of precious idols, jewellery and other movable assets of the temples.

Dr Subramaniam Swamy would do well to mobilise the leaders of Hindu religion to put a stop to this tendency on the part of the state government to interfere in the religious affairs relating only to Hinduism.

Significantly, our political leaders do not dare to exhibit similar alacrity in the administration of churches or mosques. Look at the alacrity of our political leaders in wooing other religious leaders by hosting Iftaar parties and Christmas feasts. The strange logic of secularism in the state seems to mean anti-Hinduism.

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