Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Norwegian Mass Murder - A Warning to the World

What is interesting about the Norwegian who murdered scores in cold blood in the name of some ideology is his description by the European media as a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’. Which, of course, he is.
 His so-called Manifesto refers repeatedly to a medieval movement called ‘Knights Templar’. Anders Behring Breivik, the mass murderer, believed that there would be a 21st century version of the Knights Templar to save Europe from being run over by Muslims. Knights Templar was an armed Christian movement created in 12th century by Christian fundamentalists with blessings and support from the Catholic Church. It waged number of battles with Muslims of the times and had a bloody history.
While the media in Europe rightfully highlight this aspect of Breivik’s ideological background some in India found it appropriate to link him to the Hindutva movement. In his 1500-page so-called Manifesto Breivik does refer to India, and according to the media reports in more than 100 pages. He does mention about some books authored by Indians. He also makes several other observations – some history related and some about the contemporary political situation in India. But to insinuate that Breivik was inspired by the Hindutva propaganda is misleading and motivated.
Breivik’s act of killing innocents is reprehensible in strongest possible words. But the attempts to link it to Hindutva movement are also equally reprehensible. For, ideologically speaking, his views are more akin to hordes of conservative writers and thinkers of both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, he profusely quotes from the writings of respected conservative writers. His ideological position on issues like immigration, multiculturalism etc is no different from that of the likes of UK Prime Minister David Cameroon or German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
Each one of them have condemned his act of mass murder, so did many conservative thinkers. The duplicity of our ignoramuses is conspicuous in their attempt to blame the Hindutva movement for Breivik’s despicable act but their complete silence on his core Christian fundamentalist ideas. Also, this ‘guilt by association’ theory (there is no association, except some references from writings) is peddled out by these people selectively. By the same logic we have to blame Koran for the acts of Islamic terrorists; banish Marx, Mao, Lenin and Che etc up to Arundhati Roy, for, they are the ideological motivators of the Maoist terrorists. Breivik was also an admirer of the ‘Tea Party’ of Sarah Palin and of course his role models include Putin. Are they to blame for his acts?
It is important to note that this attitude of contempt and condescension of the Left-Liberal cabal is what is responsible for such heinous happenings. Issues that the conservatives raise, which today capture the imagination of a large section of the Europeans – thinkers and commoners alike, are dismissed and derided by these worthies rather than discussed and debated honourably. In fact the conservative writers, who are the biggest losers of Breivik’s horror, have been repeatedly warning the West about this impending disaster.
Breivik’s gory act should be condemned by everybody. But that is not enough. It is time we sit up and discuss the issues like multiculturalism, immigration, problem of Islam’s assimilation with Liberal Democracies etc without any malice. By refusing to do that and by indulging in witch-hunting we would only be inviting many more such tragedies.
Tail Piece: For this horrendous crime of killing around 80 people Breivik can get a sentence of just 21 years in jail. Norway, under the influence of the Liberalist campaign, banished death penalty. It is now interesting to see what these so-called champions of human rights would say when it comes to punishing Breivik. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ulta Chor Kotwal ko Dante…. !!!!

When they are cornered the politicians, like wild cats, tend to go berserk. Same thing seems to be happening to the likes of Home Minister Chidambaram. How else can we explain his utterly ridiculous statement today that the BJP is targeting him because he pushed forward hard with the investigations against the Hindu groups in terror cases?
Now the context is entirely different. A. Raja, the now infamous former Telecom Minister, has said in the Patiala House Courts on 25 July that the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister Chidambaram were very much in the know of the 2G spectrum allotments. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister when the allotments took place. Raja’s contention was that whatever decisions were taken by him in the 2G-spectrum allocation matter were with the full knowledge and approval of the Prime Minister and Chidambaram. In other words he has questioned the logic of keeping him in Tihar jail while his colleagues and collaborators still occupy North Block and South Block.
The BJP has demanded the resignation of both the Prime Minister and Chidambaram. Naturally the Congress could have responded in a mature and politically befitting manner to the BJP.
In stead Chidambaram chose to ‘Diggyise’ the issue by raising the bogey of Hindu terror. His answer (if it can be called one) to BJP’s criticism was that the Party was targeting him because he went after the Hindu groups in the terror investigation. Now, the BJP has not made any allegations against Chidambaram by itself. The allegations came from a very important former colleague of Chidambaram and former Union Minister A. Raja. Does Chidambaram mean that A. Raja too was influenced by Hindu forces to blame him?
Chidambaram’s foot-in-the-mouth reaction establishes the guilt in him. The guilt is two-fold; one, of course, is what A. Raja has revealed – complete connivance in the spectrum scandal; second, by his own admission he was directly responsible for targeting and trying to wrongfully implicate Hindu groups in the terror investigation.
Now the cat is out of the bag. It was Chidambaram’s scheming; to falsely implicate Hindu groups in terror cases so that the attention of the nation can be diverted from the horrendous looting and corruption indulged in by him and his colleagues.
It is the other way round!!
Ulta Chor Kotwal ko Dante…. !!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


It is well-known! Their history and antecedents… Justice Rajinder Sachar, Kuldeep Nayyar, Dilip Padgaonkar, Harish Khare, Angana Chatterjee, Ved Bhasin…. The Indians have known their seditious views on Kashmir for long. They have always been the best friends of Pakistan and their views music to its ears. They have all along been the apologists for assorted Indian separatists. They have been known enemies of the very idea and essence of India.
In fact millions in India are familiar with their anti-India candle light marches many times in horror. Many have questioned their subtle or not-so-subtle propaganda against India and its integrity umpteen number of times. Their sins of omission and commission have been well documented too. One such commendable work was by a Chennai based intellectual group called Vigil. Edited by Radha Rajan, Vigil’s publication a couple of years ago exposed treachery of several of these individuals and the NGOs they spawned.
Actually it is a matter of little surprise that many of them were on the payroll of Ghulam Nabi Fai, the man who has fallen to disgrace after the FBI arrested him for acting as an ISI agent. Fai or no Fai, it is always believed that not just these individuals, but many more in India have been on the ISI payroll. You will find them marching with candles in hands at the India-Pakistan border. You will find them in anti-India conferences in various Pakistani cities. Worse, you will find them in the TV studios in Delhi. They pass off as Liberals; enjoy huge patronage from sections of media; and shamelessly propagate their secessionist and seditionist agenda in our own backyard and under the very nose of our government.
So the right question to be asked is, if it is a crime in Washington DC to use ISI money to propagate anti-India views, how come it is not a crime to do the same in India? If Fai can be arrested, why should there be no action against any of his collaborators?
But sadly, the collaborators are very powerful in India, where patriots are branded anti-nationals and subversionists and secessionists are honoured with plum posts. You will find these friends of ISI in important positions… in the PMO and elsewhere. That is why the Government brushes it aside saying it is a ‘personal matter’. Is sedition a ‘personal matter’?
That is why the perpetrators are brazen. One dismisses saying he didn’t know the background of Fai. Another goes one step further and cheekily declares that he would go anywhere to propagate his views. Take it for a moment that perhaps they didn’t really know the antecedents of the man who was calling them. Many of these Liberals have a common trait. They are very fond of free foreign jaunts where they can enjoy star facilities and wine and dine with their breed at free of cost. But they are invited NOT because they are knowledgeable about the subject – there are many more in India who are real experts on, in this case, Kashmir secession - but precisely because they are on the same side of the fence as the man who was inviting them. Hence their claim of innocence should be taken as just a pretence.
What is the bigger offense? For an American citizen to campaign in his country against India with ISI money or for an Indian citizen to do that in his own country as well as abroad? Then why these worthies are not being made to answer for their acts that are tantamount to sedition? Don’t they owe an explanation and at least an apology?
In fact the arrest of Fai should serve as an example to us. We have far too many in our country who continuously engage in India bashing all over the world. They have several excuses to attack India; dalit issues, women’s issues, Narendra Modi, Sangh Pariwar, minorities. Tonnes of money is available for these India-bashers. Their sponsors include Chruch groups, western phony charity agencies, Vatican and of course pseudo-Liberal and Left academia in the universities and think tanks in the West. At the instance of cash-rich missionary groups these pseudo-intellectuals indulge in crass anti-India campaign on a regular basis. Thanks to these traitorous junkies, today country after country in Europe is attacking India in the name of caste and other social issues. It is these people who propagate world over that the caste in India is the Indian version of racism in Europe and the West.
Like the friends of the ISI these friends and foot soldiers of the western Church agencies too occupy important positions in India today. They can be found in the NAC of Sonia Gandhi; HRD of Kapil Sibal and of course they are omnipresent in our English media. They run phony NGOs that get unaccounted money in hordes to unleash their seditious campaigns.
It is time all these people are made accountable. It is time they are brought to book. We have tolerated their anti-national rubbish for far too long. It is time they are shown their place.
One caution though. I, for one, refuse to buy that the FBI could find out about the objectionable activities of Ghulam Nabi Fai only in the last few weeks. He has been in that country for more than 20 years. He has been in the lobbying business for almost 2 decades. In Washington DC the K Street is an adda of  countless lobby agencies. Lobbying is legal in that country. By fulfilling a few formalities anybody can get into the business of lobbying.
With its elaborate network of spies and agencies it is unbelievable that the US couldn’t have had any inkling of what Fai was doing all these years. Those who know how the US operates would vouch for the fact that Fai’s arrest at this particular point in time must be a part of some larger design. It must be a precursor to something else. What that something else could be is difficult to predict now. May be the US has plans about tackling ISI or it has new designs about Kashmir.
Hence while Fai’s arrest by the FBI must be taken with caution, one important lesson that we can deduce from the arrest is that our own home-grown versions of Fai must be dealt with sternly. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011


 All indications are that this Mumbai blast too would end up at the bottom of the list of countless such attacks in the past, which have not seen the conclusion of the investigation and punishment to the perpetrators. There have been many in the last one decade; three for Mumbai alone. On Aug 25, 2003 Mumbai was rocked by powerful explosions in cars at two places killing 60 people; again the First Class compartments of the famed Mumbai Metro system were attacked in 2006 killing more than 200 people. 26 Nov 2008 saw worst ever attack that went on for three days killing more than 250 people. Last week’s attack was the fourth.

We all admire the spirit of Mumbai. But we forget the fact that several other cities too experienced similar attacks in the last decade. Pune was the latest victim last year. Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi – many cities… and many incidents. What is common about most of these incidents is that the investigations have proceeded nowhere. Except in the Parliament attack case and 26/11 Mumbai attacks case the investigating agencies could hardly achieve any breakthrough in the investigations in all other cases of terrorism.

All that we hear from those who are responsible is helplessness and despair. Home Minister Chidambaram’s statement that there was no intelligence failure perplexed everybody in the world. On one hand he admitted that there was no prior intelligence input about the impending attack. Yet he is not willing to accept that there is some failure.

There was no security failure either. All that the Chief Minister of Maharashtra was ready to bemoan about was that the Home Ministry was not in his control. The Mumbai ATS Chief would appear on TV the whole day but only to tell people that they were still clueless about the perpetrators.

No wonder ruling party politicians become apologists and the opposition the attackers. Apologists would reassure you that ‘behind each success of the terrorists there were ninety-nine successes of the security agencies which go unsung’. Which are those ‘ninety-nine unsung successes’ of the agencies? There was not a single terrorist attack in US after 9/11. Coming September marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11 attacks. The entire world knew that the US is ‘enemy number one’ for the jihadists. It is also a fact that there were numerous attempts by the terrorists to attack America. But each time the US was successful in thwarting the Jihadi attempts. Last one was just last year when a rogue Pakistani parked his car near Times Square and attempted to detonate it. Another rogue Pakistani hatched a huge conspiracy in 2009 to blow up a number of US-bound planes from London. But the British agencies could not only prevent that disaster but arrest the entire gang of terrorists too.

Our ignoramus leaders would then try another argument. ‘Oh, the Americans are attacked in Iraq and Afghanistan regularly’, they say. Pity that they don’t understand the difference between a war and civilian terror. Also, they want to compare India with Afghanistan and Iraq. Thank god, they are not our rulers yet. They will certainly bring India to that brink if allowed to become one.

Then come the irresponsible ones. It is better to ignore them. Digvijay Singh is not the first to talk nonsense. Five years ago in 2006 another Congress leader Arjun Singh kicked up a storm in his own Party’s teacup when he blamed the Mumbai terror attacks on the RSS in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Singh. Arjun Singh too was known for his pastime of RSS-bashing. Digvijay Singh climbed a few notches above his senior in his oral diarrhea. Also, Arjun Singh wouldn’t have probably misbehaved with a girl at a Kshatriya Maha Sabha event; or kicked and rained blows on a hapless youngster in the Congress Party office in Delhi; or perhaps ran after some youths like a street bully chasing them in Ujjain; which his oral diarrhea successor would do in full public and media glare. It is another matter that he gets away with all this because nobody takes him seriously or people pity him for insanity with growing age and plummeting clout.

There is one worrisome lot though, whose writings and statements, knowingly or otherwise cause some concern. This lot includes strategic experts, men in the agencies and column writers. Several of them have started declaring that India has entered the age of what they call as ‘indigenous jihad’ or ‘domestic/home-grown terrorism’. Is this true? Is the phenomenon of Indian Mujahidin the reason enough to conclude so? If the local support to the acts of terror perpetrated from across the border is what we are describing as the home-grown terror, then it has always existed. But if we were to presume that terrorism in the hinterland in India is a product of the domestic network only, we would probably be walking into a well-laid-out trap by the perpetrators in our neighborhood.

This raises the serious question of why we lack full understanding of the nature of terror in India. While the world outside is into full blown action in dismantling this terror network, we, the worst victims of terror according to the US National Counter Terrorism Center in Washington DC, are still debating as to what form of terror it is; whether it is home grown or externally sponsored.

Herein lies the greatest failure of our security establishment in general and the Home Minister in particular. In the last three years the direction in which he conducted the Internal Security apparatus has only culminated in confusion among the agencies, demoralization or marginalization of the Law and Order machinery in the States and creation of agencies like the NIA which lack knowhow or ‘know-why’ yet entrusted with tasks that they are ill-equipped to handle. It is not enough to pump in money in the name of Police modernization; the Home Ministry needs vision, which the present incumbent seems to be lacking.

The result is we are in utter confusion with regard to the very identity of the perpetrators of these crimes. There is SIMI; there is Indian Mujahadin; and then there surfaced another gang called ‘Deccan Mujahadin’ at the time of the Mumbai blasts of 2006. Are they really home grown? This phenomenon of using loosely organized groups with fictitious identities has started long ago. Any good intelligence officer would say that this will be text book tactic of an insurgent group; to create an impression that terrorism is home grown; if possible to create terror modules in which not just the Muslims but even the Hindus would be members. Richard Headly is a test in case. A Pakistani born in America and acquired complete American identity including a name, Headley turned out to be working for the ISI. Can we rule out the possibility in the case of the IM or SIMI or other organisations?

Problem with these outfits is that they are quite amorphous. Even after almost a decade nobody knew fully what this IM is all about. Interrogation of the SIMI cadres revealed that it essentially branched out of SIMI. SIMI is mandated to undertake selective killings while the IM will indulge in mass killings through terrorism. Riaz Bhatkal, Md. Tauqeer, Md. Faisal, Amir Raza Khan…… these are some of the names associated with this outfit. But nobody has any clue as to what the hierarchy is.

For those who talk about the home grown terror it must be remembered that almost all these leaders are suspected to be either in Pakistan or safe havens arranged by ISI elsewhere like Dubai and Nepal. Most of the IM operatives come from one school in Azamgarh, the favorite destination of their friend Digvijay Singh. They have active liaison with LeT, JiM and HUJi.

Our agencies grope in dark due to lack of intelligence and knowledge about these outfits. And for self-seeking leaders this confusion is an opportunity to indulge in petty politicking.

Once again the terrorists must be laughing in their sleeves over our ineptness – in identifying the perpetrators, in bringing them to book through tight laws, in punishing them, and most importantly in implementing that punishment.

As eminent writer Brahma Chellany commented in a recent article: “The ugly truth is that transnational terrorists see India as an easy target because it imposes no costs on them and their patrons”.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


World Council of Churches
GENEVA 27-31 MAY 2008


Available at:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lecture at the WCC Conference

World Council of Churches, a Geneva-based umbrella body 
of hundreds of Church denominations, has held a decennial 
conference at Jamaica, West Indies on 18-25 May 2011. 
Attended by Church representatives from a large number 
of countries this conference deliberated upon a document 
called "Just Peace". 

The WCC has invited responses from representatives of 
world religions. An invitation was received by me to 
present Hindu response to the Document on Just Peace. 

Text of my address at the Conference in Jamaica on 
20 May is available at:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kalka Mail Accident

A pleasant surprise awaited us yesterday. We were all at the all-India meeting of the Prant Pracharaks (Provincial Organisers) of the RSS. This meeting was held at a far off North Eastern town of Tinsukia. The meeting was being held at a very serene and scenic school complex of the Vivekananda Kendra. This one was one of the oldest schools started by the Kendra in the North East.

We were cut off from the rest of the country and the world for the duration of the meetings. There were about 175 of us - all the senior functionaries from the RSS and several important full-time organisers from various like-minded organisations like the VHP, BMS, ABVP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Vidya Bharati and the BJP.

North East wakes up early. By 4 in the morning you would witness daybreak. Sun sets off early too, latest by 6 in the evening. Ideally Bharat should have two or three time zones like the US. At least the East and North East Bharat should have a +1 hour time zone from the rest of the country. That would save a lot of energy and time for this region.

We were completely cut off from the developments in the rest of the country not only due to the distance and allied factors like occasional poor mobile network coverage etc but also due to the intense deliberations taking place on various important issues and plans being drafted for future campaigns. It is normal with Sangh functionaries because of the back-to-back nature of the meetings and the insistence upon diversionless attention on the work at hand.

It is natural that in such a scenario we would miss the news about a tragic accident like the one happened to the Delhi-bound Kalka Mail on 10 July morning. It had apparently happened at around noon on that day. However I was alerted by an NDTV mobile alert when I turned it on at around 2 pm. Our session was to commence soon. So I rushed to locate the Prant Pracharak of Kanpur with the news. The accident area falls in his province. Somehow I couldn't find him before the start of the session.

Finally at 3.30 pm we could meet. I told him to activate our Swayamsevaks near the accident place as also the other nearby paces for necessary help to the affected passengers. It was a ghastly accident. Two general compartments were very badly mangled. We got the information that at least 60 people have died and hundreds injured. What appalled us was that till 4 pm the Railway Accident Relief train had not reached the site of the accident although it was just a 4-hour normal train run time away at Allahabad. It speaks volumes about the inefficiency of our system.

What made us feel satisfied was that the RSS Swayamsevaks were already there at the site of the accident for several hours helping the railwaymen and other security personnel. They were there at the railway station near the dead bodies. They were there in hospitals where the injured have been transported. They were there even in Kanpur attending to the seriously injured.

Our phone went to the key functionary in Kanpur. He was so busy that he could barely speak to us for a minute; he was rushing to the hospital where several injured had arrived. He had already asked a number of Swayamsevaks to reach there anticipating need for blood and other help. We tried for the district secretary of the organisation in the affected area. It took a while, series of phone calls back and forth, to locate him. For several hours he was busy organising relief at the site along with more than hundred Swayamsevaks. Lastly we tried to reach out to the local head of the organisation, a doctor by profession. He told us that he was busy attending to the injured people in his own hospital as dozens of them had arrived.

Should we not feel happy? Here is a voluntary group of socially-conscious individuals which is in full force attending to the victims. They didn't wait for the orders to come from above in the command structure, which in this particular case is far removed from the event. They didn't even bother to inform the so-called higher ups. Only thing that occupied their thoughts at that moment was perhaps the duty to help the suffering passengers. Contrast this with the delays in the response of the Government machinery. It happens mostly because of the command structure.

By evening it was all over in the news. For a change the TV channels were showing visuals (which they would normally avoid by turning their cameras away) of Swayamsevaks involved in the relief activity. True to their intrusive style they managed to interview a couple of Swayamsevaks also. Ideally we would have expected our Swayamsevaks to avoid media bytes etc in such situations. But sometimes the intrusive style of the media becomes too much and one or two end up in minor violation of that fine line of the organisational culture.

I am writing this not to suggest that only Swayamsevaks respond in such times of calamity. Many other socially conscious individuals too do. But the Swayamsevaks enjoy a distinct advantage. They are mentally better trained and equipped due to their RSS background to respond to such situations. Also, they have an organisational structure to maintain orderly management of such otherwise chaotic situations. Perhaps the military enjoys this advantage besides the Sangh. Thirdly and most importantly the RSS has a network that can handle all the needs in such situations - doctors, blood donars, helpers, transport, food, security. You name it and you have people in the organisation who can be immediately put to work. This network of inspired individuals is what the RSS has created as an asset for the country.

They will be there wherever and whenever required. I am reminded of the day after the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev's Satyagraha camp at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. At 5 in the morning on 5 June I saw more than 200 Swayamsevaks at the Jhandewala HQ of the organisation in Delhi. They were to disperse in various directions - to railway stations, hospitals, public parks - to extend help to the victims of the Police brutality. While all the leaders were busy making statements here was a band of young men which was silently scouting the streets of Delhi and helping the victims.

In the true tradition of the RSS, of course.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Save Lord Padmanabha from neo-iconoclasts

Lord Padmanabha’s wealth belongs to Him only

Goddess Lakshmi resides where Lord Padmanabha is. For, the Lord is an aspect of Lord Vishnu himself, whose consort is Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. No surprise that such huge amount of divine wealth has been unearthed in the locked up chambers of Lord Padmanabha's temple in the present day Thiruvananthapuram, earlier known as the capital city of the Royalty of Travancore.

After finding such enormous wealth the right question to be asked first is as to how come a relatively smaller temple of Lord Padmanabha had so much wealth while much more popular shrines like the Balaji at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh or for that matter the Guruvayurappan temple in Kerala itself seem to have much less? No one can dispute the fact that these two temples have been much more popular and have attracted many times more devotees for centuries. Nobody can also dispute the fact that they must have attracted lot more of public endowment in all these centuries. What happened to all that wealth of these temples?

Therein lies the answer to many issues being raised by the overzealous over the recently unearthed wealth of Lord Padmanabha. It is safe only and only in the hands of the Lord, and none - not even the Government-run trusts - deserve to handle it. By now it has become common knowledge that the wealth is the accumulated offerings by the successive kings of the royalty of Travancore and many other kings, rulers - Indian as well as foreign, traders and commoners.

One should acknowledge the enormous commitment of the royalty to Lord Padmanabha in safeguarding this wealth. I have had personal acquaintance with the royals of Travancore. It is known to many in Kerala that the royal family's financial fortunes have dipped considerably in the last few years to an extent that they were finding it difficult to manage the temple affairs too. It has resulted in some problems between the temple priests and other staff and the royals who manage the temple. I am told that there were several such occasions earlier too when the royalty had faced acute financial strains. Yet they never dared to touch the temple wealth, an iota of which would have met many of their needs.

It is nobody’s case that we should condone the omissions and commissions of the royals, if any, in managing the temple affairs. However it must also be borne in mind that successive kings of Travancore deserve rich tributes for protecting this vast wealth with utmost devotion and sincerity. The British had looted several temples in the country and transferred all the booty to the Royal Palace in London. In fact the Queen must in great sorrow after the news of this unearthed wealth and cursing for sure the inefficient officers of the British Raj for failing to do that when they had the chance.

However the rapacious political leadership that succeeded the British has meticulously completed their unfinished task in the last 6 decades. Temples like Tirupati and Guruvayur and many more are a standing example of this domestic loot. The story of the loot of Hindu temples in India by our political masters post-Independence pales Ghori and Ghaznvi into obscurity.

On January 17, 1750 the then ruler of Travencore Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma stood before the Lord Padmanabha and offered his entire kingdom at His altar. After that the successive rulers had rechristened themselves as Padmanabha Daasa – vassals of Lord Padmanabha. Like loyal soldiers they not only protected the kingdom and the temple but also the enormous wealth it had earned over centuries.

Loot of Hindu temples by the political masters in post-Independence India has acquired humongous proportions. Lands and other property of many a temple have been nibbled away by the goons of local and sometimes provincial political termites. Jewellery, cash and artifacts including antique sculptures have been stolen from the museums directly or sometimes through sleight of hand by taking them to overseas destinations in the name of India exhibitions and replacing the valuables with duplicates and sending them back while the originals found their way into international markets for huge sums. There are serious allegations that this kind of loot has made several politicians billionaires while the temples have turned into paupers.

The ongoing litigation that has led to the opening of the locked chambers at the Padmanabha temple appears to be motivated by some such sinister designs only. There is no dearth of treacherous Hindus in our country. They become easy tools in the hands of greedy politicians – a breed for which too there is no dearth in India. The entire game plan appears to be to loot the wealth of Lord Padmanabha by hook or crook.

In a way this litigation has brought back into focus the critical issue of the control of Hindu temples by the political establishment. Temples and their entire wealth – whether it is lands or offerings or antiques – should belong to the Hindu society only. There is a need to amend or discard the Hindu Endowment Act so that the religious places of Hindus become the property of the society rather than the government. Travancore proved that devout Hindus can safeguard temples better than unscrupulous politicians.

Chief Minister of Kerala was sensible in declaring that his government has no interest in taking over the wealth or management of the Padmanabha temple. Suggestions by sections of the media and intelligentsia like creating a museum or trust are also too premature. What is needed is for the entire Hindu society including the saints and spiritual leaders to vociferously oppose any move to take over the temple or its wealth. Let it be protected by the management as before and let there be a larger discussion over the management of Hindu temples by Hindu society itself.