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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kerala govt. starts auctioning traditional temple lamps, utensils under guise of Covid-19 economic crisis

The communist government in Kerala is selling traditional brass utensils and Nilavilakku (lamps) that belong to temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), under the guise of economic crisis following the Covid 19 pandemic.

Nilavilakku are traditional lamps lit everyday in all Hindu homes. They are considered auspicious as they symbolise the start of worship. All these items had been donated by devotees to various temples under the board. But devotees fear that other precious antiques donated by devotees might also be included in this auction. 

There are 5 Devaswom Boards in Kerala, which manage temples in different parts of the state. All of them are controlled by the state government.

Recently, an amount of Rs. 5 crores received as interest for gold and other deposits in various banks in Kerala was handed over to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund by the Guruvayur Devaswom Board. The new move of auctioning precious antiques is being considered by temple devotees as another anti-Hindu tactic by the communist party, with an added incentive to fill their own pockets.

The TDB expects to collect a huge sum from the sale of tons of these precious metals and antiques. These items which were donated by Hindu devotees are stocked inside the temples. Such property of famous temples like Ettumanoor, Malayalapuzha, Chettikulangara and Valliyamkavu, all of which are hundreds of years old and rich in heritage and history, is being auctioned. 

1248 temples that fall under the TDB have started collecting and counting such items. It is being done under the supervision of the Devaswom vigilance officers and the Deputy Devaswom Commissioner. It will then be compared with the register for auditing. It needs to be seen whether they match or not. 

It has been decided that lamps used for festivals will not be auctioned. The devotees feel cheated since all this is being done without the consent of the actual donor. The brazenness with which such items are being taken out of the temples is being questioned by various temple advisory committees. The Devaswom Board is of the opinion that such committees are not authorised to question such auctions. It should be noted that such auctions were tried in 2012 and some items were taken out of our temples. It had to be stopped back then following opposition from devotees. 

N Vasu, the Travancore Devaswom Board President, said that the board will take all steps ‘necessary’ to come out of this economic crisis. He added that ‘unused lamps’ are available in all temples. He was of the opinion that instead of alienation, this sale will provide additional capital to the board. It must be noted that all 5 Devaswom Boards in Kerala are being controlled by atheist communist cronies. 

Logical thinkers might mistake such auctions as childish, but there is a larger conspiracy behind the sale of temple valuables. Demand in foreign museums for rare documents, murtis, siva lingam and other rare items is high. The value of such items once it reaches foreign countries rises many fold. The valuation of artefacts and antiques does not depend on weight or beauty. Price and value depends on the periodicity and history behind the same.

This is exactly why buyers never come for buying these metals just to melt them and use the same as raw materials. Experts are of the opinion that such auctions might only end up helping antique smugglers to legalise their operations. Since communists are atheists, devotees suspect quid pro quo transactions. 

Vishwa Hindu Parishad District Secretary of Alappuzha, M Jayakrishnan, has said that followers will sit on dharna in front of famous temples to oppose this move by the communist government. Kerala Kshetra Samrakshana Samithi (save temples association) General Secretary K Narayanankutty said that there will be protest marches towards devaswom offices and temples under devaswom jurisdiction. Ayyappa Seva Samajam president Kalidas Bhattathiripad is arranging a dharna in front of Haripad Sree Subrahmanya temple.

A similar move in Andhra Pradesh to sell land and other assets donated by Tirupati Temple devotees has set off a wave of protests there too. An ex-Congress CM from Maharashtra is also facing flak for selectively asking for temple gold to be ‘monetised’ to fight the Covid induced economic crisis.

The secular state and parties have bled Hindus & their institutions dry for decades. Temples have become nothing more than cash cows. We must not allow the Covid crisis to become another opportunity for temples to be looted of what remains – not all temple assets must be looked at as revenue-generating sources, there is a religious, spiritual and devotional aspect related to certain things that cannot have a price tag put on them.

Even temple assets like land that generate revenue must be utilised solely for benefit of Hindu society, and our temples freed of government control. The secular state must look at other sources of funds such as down-sizing bloated government departments, nationalising land banks illegally leased by the British, confiscating unused funds of FCRA NGOs etc to tide over the current economic crisis.

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