Last week, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai made an announcement. He mentioned, “Currently, Hindu temples in the state are under different types of control bylaws and rules. Temples that have suffered at the hands of bureaucrats will be freed by our government. We will bring a law which will give rights (back) to the temple management to look after their own development.”
He additional added that the federal government of Karnataka plans to introduce new laws on this course. Barring a number of mentions in footnotes of newspapers, most mainstream media homes conveniently brushed this apart, making little or no room for dialogue. But for tens of millions of devotees throughout the state, this got here as an indication of blessings from above.
Bommai’s message could be very important, and a symbolic one.
For one, it’s maybe the primary such (promising) indication ever made by a sitting Chief Minister of a state in south India. Second, points which might be of Indic curiosity have usually been sidelined, even by events that decision for a Hindu civilisational renaissance. But, with the emergence of political functionaries to energy akin to Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, India is witnessing a resurgence of its Santani id, which was a hush-hush affair for a very long time.
For causes starting from technology of revenues to vested colonial pursuits, Hindu temples have confronted the brunt of unruly legislations beneath the Mughal after which the erstwhile British rule. This, sadly, continued even after India gained Independence from the British in 1947. At the time of Independence, our lawmakers ought to have prioritised roti, kapda, makaan to be offered first. Instead, impressed by Soviet-style socialism, the Indian National Congress (INC) beneath prime minister ‘Pandit’ Jawaharlal Nehru started by codifying Hindu practices, which had been regarded as ‘outdated’ and ‘medieval’. But within the case of different communities, private legal guidelines had been allowed, to enshrine the ideas of a remarried interfaith alliance that underwent a nasty divorce only a few years in the past throughout Partition.
India, that’s Bharata, is resuscitating the roots of its Hindu id. I don’t imply to counsel that we misplaced contact with the id en masse. No. But, as VS Naipaul rightly put it, India is a ‘wounded civilisation’. Mughal invasions, colonialism, and now the apathy in direction of the Hindu causes beneath the garb of secular politics have damage the bulk sufficient that the folks of India favoured a special method to pluralism. An method that requires the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code. One which requires a ban on regressive and outdated non secular mandates akin to triple talaq and nikah halala.
Karnataka’s cultural id, like the remainder of India, has additionally been tampered with. Unfortunately, there’s a continued debate even at this time, on whether or not Tipu Sultan was an Islamist fanatic or a freedom fighter, whereas the proof helps the previous. He not solely unleashed violence upon the Kodavas, who had been identified for his or her navy prowess but in addition captured, transformed, and killed hundreds of Canara Catholic Christians.
Our historical past offers us a glimpse into how temples haven’t simply supported the native financial ecosystem, but in addition empowered and educated folks in additional methods than one. The Vijayanagara Empire is one such instance. Under the in a position stewardship of the Rayas, folks voluntarily contributed to the temples, and in flip, the funds from the temple treasury had been utilized in a really clear method to serve the needy, construct infrastructure, set up academic establishments, and so forth.
Recent occasions such because the reconstruction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham hall have restored religion that the aforementioned might be achieved, regardless of all of the obstacles that we’ve endured as a civilisation.
Freeing Hindu temples from authorities management is vital due to a number of causes. One, the temple is run by sarkari babus (government-appointed executives) who lack cultural sensitivities and are from different faiths, in sure circumstances. Two, the funds which might be collected by the federal government are sometimes misused for causes which might be in opposition to the consent of the devotees. Three, the state shouldn’t have a job in meddling with non secular affairs. That is the very definition of secularism.
This definition has been tweaked on occasion, in keeping with the whims and fancies of some political events. When the British enacted such legal guidelines throughout colonial rule, (The Madras Religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1925), Muslims and Christians rose in revolt. So did the Sikhs. Hindus had been an exception, but once more. While the announcement from Karnataka has given recent hope to the trigger, the Karnataka authorities should additionally be certain that the laws is a promising one, the place the scope of exploiting authorized loopholes is minimal or none.
The creator is a multilingual actress who just lately starred in ‘Bhuj’ and ‘Hugama 2’. She established Pranitha Foundation, a NGO targeted on training, healthcare and disaster reduction. Views expressed are private.