Bringing temple administration under the direct control of the government cannot be termed as interfer ence in priests’ rights (“Reforms in the house of God”, Jan. 13). That a majo ity of the large temples are well-managed is a redeeming feature. Temple reforms, wherever needed, should be implemented to prevent misuse of public offerings and discriminatory practices. It is good that temples [in Tamil Nadu with a certain defined character] are now covered under the RTI Act, which will bring in transparency.
The article reveals the writer’s misconception about Hindu temples. A Hindu temple is not a public place, unlike a church or a mosque. Temples attract devotees primarily because of the sanctity of the sanctum, traditionally maintained by Brahmin priests. Corruption began only when the state started interfering in the name of reforms. The tradition of the Dikshitars of the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple goes back to more than 2,000 years and their commitment to maintain its sanctity is commendable. The Supreme Court has indeed given a valid verdict keeping in mind the sanctity of the temple.
The write-up throws some light on the issue of temple control by particular groups. The bungling here is attributable to the lackadaisical approach shown by the government. It is perceived by many that the government was sympathetic to the Dikshitars. Every reform, right from the abolition of Sati to temple entry, was initiated by political leaders and opposed by conservative religionists. Religion cannot afford to place one group over the other in matters of temple rituals and administration.