The political debate in Karnataka is getting heated up with the Congress trying to somehow thwart the process of government formation. There are countless accusations being levied on BJP and B.S. Yeddyurappa for forming the government in Karnataka inspite of being the single largest party in the state as of now. BJP and CM Yeddyurappa are prepared for proving their strength in the Karnataka assembly. It is, meanwhile, important to know how and why CM Yeddyurappa is an important and relevant figure in Karnataka. His earlier and present stance on Temples has made an impact in the hearts of Kannadigas.
A story published in India Today on September 4, 2011 went on to suggest that B.S. Yeddyurappa in his earlier stint as CM had given away taxpayers money to Hindu Temples.
The article published also mentions that 269 temples, religious institutions and religious charitable trusts received 110 crores between 2008 and 2011. It means that on an average every institution mentioned received anything between four crores over a period of three years. While this might look like a huge sum of money, one has to understand that most of the institutes mentioned here were non-profit trusts which worked for the upliftment of the common people.
One has to keep in mind that a big temple in South India receives millions in donations from the public. These donations were used to fund institutions of other religions, like Madrassas and churches under Congress rule. Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, provided the autonomy and patronage to the temples long enjoyed by the minority institutions. Under his tenure, Gokarna temple was deregulated and handed over to Ramachandrapura Math. The salaries and perks of temple priests were also raised by the then CM Yeddyurappa following the long-term demands.
CM Yeddyurappa made sure that Hindu religious institutions and temples are not given a second class treatment in their own country. India today has a problem with the government having spent funds on temple maintenance but what about the considerable funds arising from Hindu temples and religious institutions? The government has absolute control in management of financial matters as far as Hindu temples and religious institutions are concerned. Therefore, the revenues arising out of Hindu religious institutions are controlled and appropriated by the government. This state overreach extends to diversion of funds arising out of Hindu temples for purposes not even remotely related to management and welfare of these institutions. Not only this, the very survival of living temples is imperilled because the government exercises the discretion of taking over and disposing of temple assets for no reasonable cause. The mainstream media was silent about all this and now they have a problem as to why a government tried to revive the Hindu temple from the systematic damage caused by the state.
There have been reports of revenues arising out of the Hindu institutions being applied elsewhere by the Congress government including mosques, churches, Muslim and Christian educational institutions, Madrssas and Haj subsidies. Systematically alienating and plundering the religious institutions of a particular community that too for enriching others and not even regulating other communities is not a trapping of a secular state. The state having inflicted considerable damage upon the Hindu institutions is now bound to make up for its follies and compensate them. If the government wants to exercise control over the management and finances, it should not shy away from making necessary expenditure also. When the state takes over the Hindu religious institutions it will have to bear the expenses as well, the state cannot suck up the revenues of the temples and deny looking after them at the same time. Hindu temples are not meant to be used as state treasure for enriching other communities. Hindu revenues should belong entirely to the Hindus and must be exclusively assigned to Hindu institutions. The least the state can do, if it is in no mood to free the Hindu temples and religious institutions, is to stop misappropriating finances and also res for the misappropriation already caused.
CM Yeddyurappa’s swearing in provides another reason to cheer for his and BJP’s victory in Karnataka. Finally, it has come to light that a chief minister had come to the rescue of Hindu temples which have been the subject of unnecessary state control for decades. Now, he is going to come at the helm of affairs all over again. In fact, the BJP has promised in its manifesto to free the temples of all such curbs. The Hindu institutions will have a say and authority on revenue and expenditure.