By Hilda Raja, Ph. D.
The Hindus have a special responsibility. Instead of airing differences and infighting among the Hindu organizations, they should start action somewhere and why not the temples? Why should the so-called secular governments administer the funds of the Hindu temples? What is the constitutional right they have to do so?
This is another blatant discrimination. If the reason is the misadministration, then two areas negate such a reason: 1. Does the government not indulge in mal-administration and misappropriation of funds? How can the money from the Hindus be taken and used for others? This is plunder. Are the wakf boards not mismanaged? Who accounts for the money and the wealth that accrue through the properties of the wakf boards? Why are these monies not utilized for supporting the madrasas, instead the government financing these? Similarly the money that the churches get through Sunday collections and monthly subscriptions are not utilized by them? Apart from donations, fundraising, mass stipends etc., the enormous properties each Christian diocese owns and the revenue that comes out of these, who accounts for?
From a poor developing country like India, money is sent to Rome. The catholic institutions — administered by different congregations are extremely rich — yet they are allowed to manage their affairs, and the salaries of the staff etc., are paid by the government. If they are allowed to manage or mismanage and misappropriate, why not allow the Hindus also to manage or mismanage and misappropriate? This is one way of looking at it without bias. The right of equality guaranteed by the Constitution is not static at one point — it needs to flow and encompass all the areas. So citing religion and creating a numerical yardstick called minority, the Constitutional right cannot be negated. Whether minority or majority, the government should uphold equality and not discriminate against.
No secular government can justify itself by interfering into temple affairs. It is important that all the Hindu organizations and Hindus join in this demand. It is their business to manage or mismanage and let the government keep its stained and dirty hands off and attend to governance and manage that well. Leave the temples and its affairs to the Hindus; it is none of the business of the government.