Recently my family had the privilege to attend an event where Mr J. Sai Deepak, a young and very brilliant Supreme Court advocate who is representing the People for Dharma spoke. He spoke for around 45 minutes and then answered a number of questions posed to him by the audience. You can see the entire video recording here.
The gist of what Shri Sai Deepak said is as follows
- Sabarimala is where a battle for the survival of Dharma is being fought,
- There are any number of forces inimical to Dharma who are bent on ensuring that Sabarimala and by that Sanatana Dharma is brought down
- If Sabarimala does not survive this onslaught by the state what chance is there for any other temple being taken over by the state and interfering in the customs and traditions or the Sampradaya of the temple
- Sabarimala has proved to be a touchstone and the entire episode has exposed many a so called supporter of Hindutva.
- Nobody is with us devotees of Ayyappa, the Government, the Courts and political parties
- Nonetheless, the brave women and the devotees in Kerala have braved Government atrocities and gone ahead with their fight to save the tradition of Sabarimala’s Ayyappa
- These devotees are extremely brave and have even taken blows to their bodies from police lathis
- The Government has no business to even touch a paisa of any temple.
- As per law, they can take over administration of a temple only if there is gross mismanagement by the trustees. However, even here the government is supposed to hand over the management back to the trustees once things are cleaned up
- In reality, the Government has taken over administration of almost all temples and has been appropriating the revenue of these temples
- A miniscule portion of the temples ‘revenues are doled out for upkeep. It is barely enough to run the temples
Personally, I understand perfectly about how temple revenues are swallowed by the Government and used to fund votebank communities. Not to put too fine a point on it, temple money is used to fund jihadis and missionaries, albeit indirectly. Thus Hindus are victims of communities that are hell-bent on either killing them or converting them. And the worst thing is that the Government is robbing the Hindu community and using their money to fund their destructors.
In a study conducted at the beginning of the current century, it was found that Hindu temples contributed around 22 crores in revenue and barely 6 crores reached them from the Government. At the same time doles to the minorities increased by around Rs 16 crores.
My wife’s family has a close connection with one of the temples in Mandya, Karnataka. Her grandfather was the Parpattedar of the temple. He would spend money from his own meagre resources to keep the temple going. The Lakshmi Janardhanaswamy temple is not a very large temple but has a large devout following.
The highlight of this temple is the Chariot festival in the summer and the Kottarutsavam in winter. Both these festivals need a generous amount of money as they are celebrated over a period f 10 days and there are a number of devotees who throng the temple. It is a custom to feed them during the festival days and all this requires money. My family makes it a point to visit the temple for both the festivals and pray to Shri Lakshmi and Shri Janardhana Swamy. We contribute a relatively small amount for the festivals based on what my mother in law tells my wife to contribute. However, all our relatives from my wife’s side also pitch in and we have been able to keep the festivals going. The Karnataka Government also puts in some money but the process of getting money from them is as painful as getting ones tooth extracted.
In the days when my grandfather in law was alive, he used to go to the tahsildar office and apply for the grant. He had to bribe the government officials with two buckets of puliyogare, a spicy rice dish made from tamarind and several spices. (This is a speciality of the Srivaishnava community of Karnataka and let me assure you that nobody else makes it so well!) My wife’s grandfather was in his mid 80s when he passed away. He served the temple almost till his last day on earth.
I would like you to imagine for a moment an old man of 80+ going on a bicycle with two buckets of puliyogare balanced on either side of the handlebar. How inhuman are Government officials making an old man of 80+ come to their office on his bicycle and demanding a bribe of puliyogare made by him at his own expense! I would cheerfully horsewhip every bastard who made him do this. But it also shows how much he was devoted to the temple and Bhagavan that he was willing to take this trouble to go through this effort.
All this is only because the Government of Karnataka, like other state governments in the South control Sanatana temples through ‘Boards’. The temples contribute to the government revenues due to the money contributed by devotees into hundis. However, this money is not ploughed back for the development of the temples. It goes into the big mouth that the government is and is often given as grants to Christian and Muslim institutions. How can any government take from one community the money contributed by common folk belonging to one faith and finance others that are hellbent on ensuring the destruction of that faith! Christianity and Islam believe in converting non believers to their religion. Islam does it by the sword and Christianity doe it through bribes and exerting industrial scale ‘persuasion’. Sanatana Dharma does not believe in conversions to Hindu faith. However, there are several people, especially in the West, who have chosen to become Hindus of their own volition.
So how does all this lead to Sabarimala? Sabarimala is a temple in the Southern state of Kerala that has a very rigourous process for a devotee to visit the temple. It involves a form of penance for 40 days before visiting the temple. Women of reproductive age are not permitted to enter the temple. This has been fixed between the ages of 10 and 50.
Recently the Supreme court of India has ruled that the restriction on entry of women of the above ages is against the principles of gender equality. While I do not intend to critique this judgement, it would appear that this is unwarranted interference in the customs of a faith or Sampradaya. An appeal has been filed but the SC has postponed the hearing in a nonchalant manner.
The government of Kerala has chosen to use force against those who were trying to protect the traditions of Sabarimala.
I end with this tweet
And you thought India has a Hindu majority! We are besieged on all sides by Muslims, Christians and a hostile media!