Use Temple funds for Uttarakhand reconstruction – VHP

Use Temple funds for Uttarakhand reconstruction – VHP

– Ashok V. Chowgule, Working President (External), VHP

Mumbai, June 29Sat, 2013 – “Pilgrimage (Teerth Yatra) circuits in the form of Chaar Dhaams as four spirituo-cultural outposts on the four borders of Bharat, 12 Jyotirlingamsand 52 Shaktipeeths dotting and networking the whole of Akhand Bharat, the Buddhist and Jain pilgrimage circuits and others act as mobilizing, spiritualizing, unifying and integrating factors for our country hallmarked by the holistic, altruistic and syncretic Rishi-Krishi culture. Pilgrimages to Teerthas (Fords of Liberation) form an important component of spiritual practice for Hindus all over the world which is why even the Hindu diaspora creates its own centres of pilgrimage at blessed river banks, sea shores, hills, mountains, caves, forests, etc., in their esteemed countries of adoption. Additionally, the Hindus also regularly visit temples whenever they have an opportunity. While on such visits, they offer Pranaami (donations) in various forms to the deities to perpetuate and promote their spirituo-cultural cause, patronize the institutions and their service activities including pilgrim facilities and community health and education, etc.,” said here Sri Ashok V. Chowgule, Working President (External) of Vishva Hindu Parishad in a press release.

He further said, over the last couple of decades, in line with a resurgent Hinduism, the number of yatris (pilgrims) is increasing by a substantial quantity. In line with this trend, the amount of donations is increasing at an even more rapid pace.

Unfortunately, these donations are often improperly used to fund activities which do very little for propagating Hindu Dharma or help the poor and needy Hindus. As in the case of Siddhi Vinayak Mandir in Mumbai, the funds have been used by politicians to fund ostensible charity activities but are actually meant for their own political purposes. Temples are religio-spiritual institutions, but the tragedy is that thousands of them and their huge Devottar properties are now under the control of ‘secular’ Governments which is a conspiracy and crime being perpetrated against Hindu Dharma as they have been siphoning its funds for non-Hindu and even in many cases anti-Hindu purposes. And, therefore, their control should be handed over to the Hindu society.

Recently, there has been a tragedy in Uttarakhand, particularly in the Himalayan Chaar Dhaam Yatra route. Apart from substantial loss of life and property, there has been destruction of the infrastructure that had helped the Hindus to make the annual yatra. The Government needs to rebuild this infrastructure of transportation, board & lodging, medical facilities, schools and colleges for the native students, etc., very quickly in order to make the pilgrim traffic and the life of the natives smooth in the circuit. Also, the reconstruction should be done in a way that will reduce the possibility of similar destruction in any possible future calamity. Here it must also be kept in mind that the said circuit is meant for pilgrimage which the people have been conducting here for thousands of years and, therefore, any promotion of tourism, greed and plunder under the guise of ‘development’ here would put unacceptable pressure on the eco-sensitivity of the zone and the recent flash floods exposed the ill-advised and lopsided agenda of the governments for the region.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad strongly suggests that the funds of the temples under government control all over the country should be used for renovating and rebuilding the religio-cultural, spiritual, educational and charitable institutions of the people in the affected areas. Since many of those going to these other temples will also be undertaking the HimalayanChar Dham Yatra, the Hindus will appreciate the use of the funds in this manner. Even as a matter of general policy, the big and affluent temples should patronize the smaller ones existing in their catchment areas in particular and anywhere else in general. Due to the inappropriate policies of the present government of India, the country’s treasury has been seriously depleted. The use of the temple funds for the said purpose will ensure that the reconstruction activity will not be held back under the pretext of lack of funds.

Separately, Vishva Hindu Parishad would appeal to the various institutions and organizations of Sants of Hindu Samaj to also donate to the noble cause of reconstruction of the village temples and facilities for Vedic education and charity in the affected areas of Uttarakhand.

– Released by Anil Agrawal, VHP Media Centre, 57, North Avenue, New Delhi