Renovation and conservation of Hindu temples

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Foreign Minister Jaishankar, who reached Varanasi to participate in the G-20 meeting, said during a conversation with the intellectuals that there is a need for conservation of temples at the world level. The need is now greater than ever before. The proliferation of temples is essential for the full expression of Indian heritage abroad, apart from being a center of Indian traditional knowledge and promotion of crafts. He said that approval has been received for the construction of new temples in France and Bahrain. Soon the construction will start there with the help of the Government of India. For this, the Culture Protection Department has been constituted in the Ministry of External Affairs. In the context of Indian interests at the world level, the construction of temples symbolizing the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, their conservation-promotion and their restoration is also a part of foreign policy. 70 percent of the temple construction work in Abu Dhabi has been completed. Very soon the foundation of a new temple will be laid in New Jersey, USA. He said that temples are being built and old temples are being conserved with the expectation that Indian heritage should be universally seen abroad. Therefore, importance has been given to cultural belief and expression in India’s foreign policy as well. Not only in Nepal, China, Bhutan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but also in America, all Hindu temples are playing the role of ambassadors of spreading Indian culture and tradition as a symbol of Indianness. The establishment of temples in Gulf countries is a fine example of the concept of globalization. The revival of temples has helped bring together not only Hinduism, but the world. This has not only increased foreign contact and business, but also strengthened mutual relations through cultural exchange.

Temples are the visible symbols of Hinduism as well as our heritage, the home of God, the temples also represent our prayers. Therefore, along with their renovation, conservation is also very important. What the Foreign Minister said about the temples in foreign countries is also necessary for the temples of India. Due to the apathy of the Hindu society in India, the lands of temples are being encroached upon. In the states where temples are controlled by the government, the government is spending the money received in offerings on non-religious works other than religious work. In many states, there are even reports of spending the amount received in the form of offerings in temples for Haj.

Recently, the Madras High Court has said in an important decision regarding the conservation, maintenance, repair and protection of immovable properties and lands associated with temples that temples are cultural and historical heritage and they are protected under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. . The land of the temple cannot be separated from it against the interests of the institution, that is, it cannot be sold. The importance of the wish of the donor is paramount. It cannot be ignored for the pleasure of the executive i.e. the government against the interests of the temple. Not only this, the High Court has ordered the implementation of the Minimum Wages Act in the salaries of temple employees. Also said that trustees cannot be made only by political influence. Not only this, the High Court upheld its earlier order to set up a 17-member Heritage Commission for the upkeep, repair and preservation of temples in Tamil Nadu and conduct an independent audit of temple properties. Although there is a government charitable department for the maintenance of temples, but in view of the inaction of the Tamil Nadu government, the Madras High Court, taking suo motu cognizance, issued 75 instructions on June 7, 2021 and constituted a 17-member committee to oversee the conservation-repair etc. of temples. Heritage Commission was constituted. The Tamil Nadu government had filed a review petition in the High Court challenging several directions of that order, including the constitution of the Heritage Commission. On this, a bench of High Court Justices R Mahadevan and PD Adikeshavlu gave this order on June 2. The review petition was filed by the Tamil Nadu government and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department (HR&CED). In this, the government had sought amendment on several points of the 2021 order.

The indifference of Hindu society regarding the renovation and protection of Hindu temples has become a weakness today, the maintenance of ancient temples is becoming difficult. People of criminal tendency are selling the lands of temples by illegally occupying them. As a result of the apathy of the society and the government, most of the temples which are visible symbols of Hinduism are in a pathetic condition. Both the society and the government need to take their construction and maintenance seriously. The central government should give guidelines regarding the maintenance and construction of temples at the national level. Realizing its responsibility towards the temples, the society should think seriously about the maintenance and construction of temples and make a solid policy. In order to pass on our heritage to future generations, renovation and conservation of temples is very necessary.

– Irwin Khanna (Chief Editor, Dainik Uttam Hindu)

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