This refers to “Safeguarding temple treasures” (Editorial, April 29) and “Excavation begins near Padmanabhaswamy temple” (April 29). Who is the appropriate and legitimate authority to safeguard the treasures of the temple? In the first place, it has been under the control of the erstwhile Travancore royal family till the Supreme Court ordered the Additional District Judge to take over its control. The functions associated with this temple centre on the head of the royal family. There may have been mismanagement in the affairs of the temple. But it is for the head of the former royal family to rectify the mistakes and ensure that the temple administration functions well. Who can look after the temple properties better than him?
By quoting a few lapses on the part of the administration, one cannot reach a general conclusion regarding alleged inefficiency of the former temple management committee. It is unfortunate that negativism is following the royal family, which has safeguarded the temple treasure all these years. However, the appointment of a new committee is a welcome step toward the democratisation of temple affairs.
Most temples in South India need proper monitoring and systems with a regularisation of the methods used in gathering and spending their income. Almost all of them can be made to run on their own in addition to the outside income they generate through donations. The government must think in terms of having a separate department for temple administration with an IAS officer at the helm of affairs. The Reserve Bank of India must take control of the temple assets.
Reports on the temple are disturbing, especially to the people of erstwhile Travancore, and they are eager to see an end to the controversy. I strongly feel that the services of the erstwhile royal family should not be dispensed with totally. The Supreme Court must hear the views of all parties concerned.