Tonight, went to Samaya TV to discuss on the news that the famous Dharmasthala Manjunatha temple was being considered to be taken over by the govt.
One senior Jyotishi told things about the Kshetra. Not much arguments.
The core arguments were between me and Talakadu Chikka Rangegowda. It was well anchored by Aravind. This is my second presence as a panelist in Aravind's show.
As usual, the pro government take over arguments were on "mismanagement", "Why should Jains run Hindu temple", "there have been complaints against the Dharmadhikari" etc..
My points were:
1) I am a Bhakta of Dharmasthala temple. I go there voluntarily. I give money on my own. I trust the good work is done by the Trust headed by a Jain. I have absolutely no issue that they are Jains. They are running awesome anna dana. Kitchen Annapurna featured in June 2015 Mega Kitchen National Geographic Channel. Their educational and other institutions are doing wonderful job. For 800 Years, Jain Bunt Heggade Pergade family has administered it splendidly. 21 Dharmadhikaris have come to this seat till date. Government's job is to provide basic facilities and govern. I drove 15 KM to the studio and 10KM were in "Kattale Bhagya" power cut. When the govt can't take care of basic things, why they heck are they wanting to take over well run temples?
2) pSeculars always want Hindu temple money by giving some or the other excuse. Let's stop this now. Why should govt control 35,000 Hindu temples in Karnataka? Why should other states like TN control similar count of Hindu temples? Are all these having mismanagement? There are 164 A category and 283 B category temples with KA govt. Were all these managed by "other religions", before take over? Govt just wants money. And some excuse. I gave examples of how very simple excuses were used by governments to take over cash cows.
3) Talking of mismanagement, there was a murder of a Church father (KJ Thomas) in Bengaluru. There were large scale Wakf land grab amounting to 2 lakh crore as reported by Anwar Manippady. Should the govt take over churches and mosques/dargahs citing mismanagement, murder or other issues?
4) When I heard that only Hindus should manage Hindu temples, I showed that Mohammed Ali, First Division Assistant appointed by the govt in Bengaluru Rural district to manage Mujrai or Endowments department. I don't want a Muslim to manage Hindu temples. Hindus have managed for 1000s of years, and will easily manage ourselves. This argument seriously hurt Mr. Gowda as he saw the hypocrisy of opposing Jains, but having been forced to support Muslims!
5) If there is a big issue with Dharmasthala, people can file an FIR file. If no action taken approach the Magistrate directly. Or file PIL file if land is an issue. Why is the police there? Use them. Instead, trying Govt executive order to grab temple is not something we will allow.
6) I gave examples of Sahasralingeshwara temple of Uppinangady fighting with Karnataka Govt's Mujrai department's 1997 act. The 2007 judgment clearly said that the Endowments act itself is unconstitutional. Google for "Karnataka High Court Sri Sahasra Lingeshwara Temple vs State Of Karnataka on 8 September, 2006".
The judgment concluded:
"We have already ruled that the Act is hit by Articles 14 and 26 of the Constitution of India. We have further ruled that it is not possible to severe them. Hence, we deem it proper to strike down the entire act and consequently strike down the notification as un constitutional."
Use this wherever you see temple issue with govt. Governments can't and should not take over temples.
7) I also gave the example of Chidambaram Natarajar temple in Tamil Nadu. The judgment of 2014 January 10th, gave Podu Dikshitars a big victory in a century old case. If Endowments department of a state govt takes over a temple there should be a reason. Merely issuing show cause and circular is not right. Once you take over you will have 2 years or so to rectify it; notification should mention what reason - only take over mismanagement of temple affairs. This was Dr. Swamy's famous case. The 1951 take over of TN govt was deemed unlawful. Dikshitars had printed temple constitution in 1849 itself. Was opened to all castes of Hindus. This point stumped the others and there is not much they could say on this.
Overall; My repeated stress was that Hindus have freedom of religion like everyone else. If there are issues, let other parts of constitution address them (like theft, mismanagement etc.). So called secular government taking over temples violates Articles 14, 25, 26 and 27 of Indian constitution. As a Hindu, I don't want any temple to be managed by the government. Government's job is to take care of power, water, security and other basic necessities. Hindus know how to manage temples and they have been doing it for 1000s of years. Leave our temples alone.
I think it went on well. If a video is uploaded by Samaya News, I will share here.