Wednesday 1 September 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

31 August   2021



Secularism Foremost in Tamil Nadu?

The Sri Lankan constitution through article 9, requires Buddhism to be upheld as foremost. This is relative and lacks the power to spread itself exponentially. This article in the constitution is currently valid.

In neighbouring Tamil Nadu – which is the Indian parallel of Northern Province of Sri Lanka, ‘Secularism foremost’ fear is developing in the minds of Hindus.

In his Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Is It Calculated Onslaught Against Hindu Religion by Tamil Nadu Government in India? -N.S.Venkataraman, presents the problem as follows:

[Every other day, government has been announcing that it has retrieved the un authorisedly occupied land belonging to Hindu temples.  . Concerned minister is visiting temples frequently and has  “inaugurated” Tamil archana , as if Tamil archana has not been done before.

While this has created an impression that Tamil Nadu government is  favourably disposed towards Hindu temples, it has been then said that some  retrieved land  belonging to temples could be utilised for setting up educational institutions

While the government is administering  many  Hindu temples  , government is not owner of them. Hindu temples are not public sector undertakings. The government  cannot use the temple land for any purpose and  it cannot change or modify  the procedures for conducting rituals in the temples as per it’s whims and fancies.]


What does the law say?

Section 55 of the THE TAMIL NADU HINDU RELIGIOUS AND CHARITABLE ENDOWMENTS ACT, 1959 (Tamil Nadu Act 22 to 1959) states:

[55. Appointment of office-holders and servants in religious institutions.—

(1) Vacancies, whether permanent or temporary among the office-holders or servants of a religious institution shall be filled up by the trustee [in all cases]. [Explanation.—The expression “office-holders or servants” shall include archakas and pujaries.

(2) No person shall be entitled to appointment to any vacancy referred to in sub-section (1) merely on the ground that he is next in the line of succession to the last holder of the office]

Section 6 (22) of the Act defines Trustee as follows:

[6 (22) “trustee” means any person or body by whatever designation known in whom or in which the administration of a religious institution is vested and includes any person or body who or which is liable as if such person or body were a trustee;]

In terms of hierarchy, the trustee’s special powers in relation to the altar is stated as follows:

[24 (3) Before entering the sanctum sanctorum or pooja gruha or any other portionheld specially sacred within the premises of a religious institution or place of worship, the person authorized by or under sub-section (1) or the police officer referred to in sub-section (2), shall give reasonable notice to the trustee or head of the institution and shall have due regard to the religious practice or usage of the institution.]

Section 25 confirms the essential criterion as belief in God:

[25-A. Qualifications of trustees._ A person shall be qualified for being appointed as, and for being, a trustee of any religious institution or endowment- (a) if he has faith in God; (b) If he possesses good conduct and reputation and commands respect in the locality in which the religious institution or endowment is situated; (c) If he has sufficient time and interest to attend to the affairs of the religious institution or endowment; and (d) if he possesses such other merits incidental thereto.]

Keeping the above measures in mind let us examine the following by Mr Venkataraman:

[Government says that it has appointed” trained archakas”  who are not brahmins. The question is as to whether  these so called “trained archakas” have been  tested by senior priests who have been traditionally trained as per agama shastra. As per the Vedas and other spiritual texts, people belonging to Brahmana Varna (not caste) are to be ordained as priests. They need to undergo Vedic learning under an Acharya for several years before they can become priests. There are several rules and regulations. Only knowledge does not make one a priest. Have the government appointed persons attained such knowledge and experience to fulfil what the scriptures tell?]

Democracy works on the basis of majority belief. Autocracy works on the basis of the logic of the leader. In the case of places of worship where ancestral powers are invoked through mantras and other traditional ceremonies – the mind of the original source of belief is invoked. In a democratic parliament it is the belief of the parliamentarians that empowers them to make laws. In democracy this is opposed by the minority side and to the extent that opposition is belief based, it would automatically eliminate the powers of majority - lacking in belief.

In the case of  management of places of worship – that which is inherited through – Hindu pathway is a Hindu heritage and is beyond the jurisdiction of secular leaders. As per my belief, the silk road was reopened for economic purposes and we have the pandemic with exponential powers.

Interference with Hindu heritages would have similar outcomes for the government that uses secular measures against heritages, towards current benefits.

The input into a manifestation includes Energy which is often referred to as Motive. When such motive is subconscious it is a natural part of us and is inseparable from us. Its power is exponential. This has been recognize in Democracy through the electorate system. In the case of temples the temple is the electorate.

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