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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Maharashtra MVA govt. set to release 1.8 crores as ‘salary’ for madrasa teachers

The Maharashtra MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government, continuing its minority appeasement, has decided to distribute 1.80 crores rupees as ‘salaries’ to teachers of 121 madrasas in the state.

Maharashtra’s Minority Development Minister Nawab Malik made the announcement stating that the decision was taken as part of Dr. Zakir Hussain Madrasa Modernization Scheme.

The decision comes at a time when the lockdown in the state (which incidentally leads in the Wuhan Virus affected figures) has pushed a large section of the society towards poverty irrespective of their religion or social background.

Hindu priests do not get any support from the Maharashtra government unlike their counterparts in the neighboring Gujarat where priests receive government support since 2001.

Recently, a 35-year-old priest from Kandivali committed suicide out of depression. All major temples voluntarily shut down since the lockdown was announced. Smaller temples have followed suit. However, while the major temples have funds to fall back on, that is not necessarily the case with smaller temples that generally depend on ongoing donations from devotees.

Instead of supporting temple priests in this hour of crisis, the Maharashtra government is busy registering cases against priests for opening temples. Its treatment of the Warkaris and Shiv Chhatrapati devotees are in stark contrast to the courtesy extended to Muslims in the state who are asked to contain Eid celebrations “if possible”.

It is pertinent to point out that minority institutions such as churches and mosques are exempt from government control and as such exercise total control over their revenues. In contrast, Hindu temples are controlled by the government, and by extension, their funds are also managed by the government and are often siphoned away for secular causes.

While Congress wanted to appropriate temple gold to deal with the financial crunch faced by the Maharashtra government, the same cash-strapped government doesn’t bat an eyelid before announcing such a scheme. If this isn’t brazen minority appeasement and a gross violation of the much-touted ‘secularism’ which Constitutional moralists swear by, then what is?

The only religious group the secular state has an obligation towards is Hindus, since the state controls only Hindu religious institutions and charitable endowments. Mosques and churches control huge land banks and other assets, their communities exercise total control over these assets, and foreign patrons of these global majority religions pour in generous amounts each year. They have zero need for hand holding by the secular state.

Paying salaries to mullahs and maulvis while leaving pujaris on the lurch is a gross abomination, especially when the government itself is facing an economic crisis as alleged by well-known leaders of the coalition.

The government would do well to remember that apart from financial difficulties arising out of the lockdown, Hindu temple priests also have to deal with anti-social elements. A month ago, unidentified assailants attacked the priests and looted a temple in Palghar where two Hindu sadhus and their driver were mercilessly lynched earlier this year.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HRCE) Act of 1951 has pushed temples over the edge, so much so that many face an existential crisis. The iron-grip of state governments over temple funds coupled with the pandemic comes as a double-whammy for Hindu pujaris who are pushed deeper into poverty.

Secular governments, blinded by their appeasement policy, all over the country conveniently gloss over these facts and turn a blind eye towards the plight of Hindus. Whether it is the otherwise cash-strapped MVA government of Maharashtra which is flush with funds when it comes to paying salaries to maulvis, or the communist government in Kerala which turns a blind eye to serious child sexual abuse by those who run madrasas, or the TMC govt in West Bengal which couldn’t care less about the abject poverty in which Hindu priests are living; the story of Hindus being discriminated against continues.

Hindus are probably paying the price of choosing ‘secularism’ over a Dharmic Bharat in 1947.

(Featured Image Source: Twitter Account of ANI)

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