DMK pledges funds for Hindu pilgrimages, Rs 1000 cr for temple renovation
Given that the DMK is a party founded on ideals of secularism, with the Dravidian movement strongly espousing the anti-religious way of life, this announcement drew strong reactions in many quarters.
Among the highlights of DMK’s manifesto announced on Saturday, March 13, is the party’s proposal to set aside funds for Hindu worshipers wishing to make a religious pilgrimage. The party, under the subtitle “Fund for Religious Tourism” in the manifesto, said an annual selection of up to a lakh of Hindu worshipers would be funded with Rs 25,000 each to travel to one of the famous pilgrimage temples such as Rameswaram, Kasi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Tirupathi, Puri Jagganthar, etc. This program will be carried out by the Tamil Nadu tourism department, he added. The manifesto also states that the DMK would allocate Rs 1,000 crore exclusively to renovating Hindu temples, especially those in villages where renovations are long overdue.
Given that the DMK is a party founded on ideals of secularism, with the Dravidian movement strongly espousing the anti-religious way of life, this announcement drew strong reactions in many quarters. Critics alleged hypocrisy on the party side. Party sources, however, pointed out that the formation of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, to bring temples under state control and administration, is an important facet of the Dravidian movement. And so, they said, funding temples and religious activities is part of the government’s job.
Asked about this special attention given to Hindus in their manifesto, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva told reporters that the manifesto contained promises for all residents of the state. “Every problem of each person has been given importance. Importance has been given to every problem in Tamil Nadu, ”he said.
The discussion also comes at a time when Isha Yoga founder Jaggi Vasudev’s statement that “the temples have been placed under government control for their income.” BJP National Secretary General in Goa, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu CT Ravi in response tweeted: “Once the BJP comes to power in Tamil Nadu, we will free our temples from the clutches of the government. Devotees will be allowed to manage the temples according to the Shastras.
BJP’s Narayanan Tirupathi told TNM that DMK’s concern for temples is a “joke.” “This is a total lie and a fraud on the Hindu people. The money for all the temples comes from the HR&CE board which comes from the faithful. What is the role of the government here? The HR&CE department is full of corruption. “We want the government to come out of the temples. The temples and worshipers don’t need the government’s attention. The revenues come from the worshipers,” he said.
Narayanan said, “People know DMK is anti-Hindu and by means of the manifesto they are trying to show that they are pro-Hindu.
However, in an interview with TNM earlier, DMK leader P Thiaga Rajan said the argument that temple money is used to subsidize governments is false. “The claim that money from Hindu temples is used to subsidize secular governments is totally false. In fact, every year the government, which by constitution is a secular government, allocates hundreds of crores to the HR&CE department, it is a cost to preserve our cultural heritage that our ancestors left us ”, he declared. .
Read more: Jaggi Vasudev Says ‘Free Hindu Temples’ – But How Under Government Control?
Other propositions based on religion
In addition to religious tourism, the manifesto has many pointers under the section of the Department of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments. This includes:
> Cable car installations in hill temples such as Tiruttani, Sholingar, Thiruneermalai, Trichy Malaikottai, Tiruchengode, etc.
> Increased green cover on the Tiruvannamalai trail around the hills and maintenance of temple structures.
> A center in Vadalur for the faithful of Vallalar.
> The allocation of Rs 200 crore for the renovation of mosques and churches are some of its other points.
> The party also proposed to develop tourism in sacred cities such as Palani, Tiruttani, Tiruvannamali, Tiruvarangam, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam, Coutralam, Nagore, Velankanni and Vadalur by establishing better connectivity of buses and good quality accommodation.
> As for the priests of the temple, in particular for those of the villages falling under the Pujari social assistance scheme (started during the reign of DMK), a monthly salary of Rs 2000 will be granted. Pensions will also be increased from Rs 3000 to Rs 4000.
> The DMK manifesto also adds that around 205 people from different castes, who have been trained to become priests and are awaiting appointment, will be appointed priests in temples as soon as DMK comes to power.
The 2006 government decree during Mr. Karunanidhi’s tenure as chief minister allowed people of any caste the right to become a temple priest in the state. Until then, the priesthood in the Hindu temples remained exclusive to the Brahmins. The beginning of this order, however, began in 1970, when Karunanidhi, the head of DMK, amended the Hindu law on religious and charitable endowments to allow the appointment of priests.