The ironical human tendency is to burden the already overburdened. The Hindus are already bearing the burden of the lop-sided concept of secularism in India.
Their educational institutes are not protected under RTE or not given the cuddling under the Article 30 of the constitution. The Hindu temples are not free from government interference.
In most of the states, the temples are manned by govt trusts and at the mercy of overwhelmingly secular government.
Their lands are often sold at throw away prices to the industrialists or declared as government land and distributed to the landless.
The WAQF boards being the third largest land owner after defense and railways are ironically insulated from the government clutches.
Of late the Maharashtra Medical Education Minister forwarded a proposal to the state Chief Minister asking him to direct the temples to finance the health and government hospitals in the state.
Firstly, unlike the Abrahamic religions, the temple is abode of the presiding deity and the endowments are his belongings and not to the state. The presiding deity is a legal person and can sue and be sued in a court of law. The exact reason why Ram Lala Virajmaan is a party to the Ayodhya Ram Temple dispute via Hindu Mahasabha. So the narrative that the government can direct, appropriate the temple endowments need to be changed.
Secondly most of the temples atleast in Maharashtra are running charitable hospitals already on their own, so asking them for more is certainly uncalled for. In the past too, monies upto $ 2 lakh have been directed from the Siddhivinayak temple to the charity of a minister Vilas Rao Patil Undalkar of Congress-NCP dispensation.
Thirdly, the government meddling in the temple affairs has mostly been on account of Article 25 which seeks to regulate the temple affairs. In a landmark decision by the Supreme Court last year, wherein it directed the state government to free the 46000 temples from its grip, it asked the government to specify the time limit within which it can rectify the temple affairs for any ‘misdeed’ under its regulation and then free it up of its government control. The executive cannot control the temple affairs till infinity.
However the state governments know that Hindus being a divided and an emotional lot will not resent much to their meddling in the temple affairs.
The Orissa government sold the land belonging to the Jagannath Puri Temple to Vedanta in 2010 at throwaway prices to set up a mining complex,only to be quashed in Supreme Court. Why should the Hindus be the exclusive financer of the development that is provided by the government.
In Karnatka, almost all the temples finance 5% of their earnings to a common state pool from wherein the money is appropriated by the state government.
Late back in 1980’s, the Kerala government reduced the land holdings of the Guru Vayur temple from 13000 acres to just 250 acres to provide land to the landless under the land ceiling act that excluded the church and the mosques.
Same was with the 1977 operation Barga launched by the Communist government of West Bengal which decimated the land holdings of the temples in the state.
The lopsided secularism is costing the Hindus a lot . On one hand the status of Ram Temple at Ayodhya is itself disputed while on the other, the Government readily takes its share in the temple endowments shamelessly.
Its high time that a concentrated pressure is launched by the Hindu pressure groups to free the Hindu temples from the executive control, or either get the worship places of all the temples under the control of the state.