August 11, 2012 - AP Endowment Minister Sri Ramachandraiah attending Seminar on Status of Hindu Temples in Dallas, TX, USA
"Only the Hindu life's ideal based on Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha can save humanity from it's distress. The solution to the problems of the world is not Socialism (Secularism) but Hindu way of life. This is such a science of life, which, while studying about life, does not divide it into bits and pieces but considers the whole life as an indivisible unit." Michael Comans ( aka Sri Vasudevacharya)
Global Hindu Heritage Foundation is very happy to inform that Dr. Ghazal Srinivas was able to convince Honorable Sri C Ramachandraiah Garu, the Endowment Minister of AP to visit Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2012 to gauge the sentiments of NRI Hindus, their passion to preserve Hindu Temples, their abiding faith in protecting their religion, their frustration at the assault on Hindu institutions, and their agony over the government control over Hindu Temples.
As you well know that the Central government and State governments have passed Endowment Acts by which they were able to manage and control almost all the Temples making certain amount of money. Please note that Churches and Mosques are not under government control. They give full freedom to operate their religious institutions while they refrain Hindus to manage their own Hind Temples.
For the last few years GHHF has undertaken many activities to bring changes to the Endowment Act. The government is literally selling the lands, misusing the Temple funds, distributing the Temple money for other religions, demolishing the Hindu Temples, allowing people and politicians to encroach Temple lands, and allowing many Temples to ruins with no renovations.
Unfortunately, many Hindus do not even know the existence of Endowment Department and the damage it is causing to Hindu culture. Hence we have supported two Pada Yatras to make people aware of the plight of Hindu Temples and their rights to manage their Temples in their villages. We have been helping our Hindus in various places to protect their Temple lands and temples jewelry; preserve historical structures; expose the corruption; advocate the proper facilities for the pilgrims; encourage them to attend the Temples frequently and urging them to take necessary steps to revise Hinduism.
1) Sri C Ramachandraiah Garu and Dr. Ghazal Srinivas will be in Dallas TX on August 11.
One full day on August 11, GHHF will conduct Seminar where all of us will have the opportunity to present our concerns and our solutions. The main objective of the Seminar is to identify the main problems Hindu Temples are facing and suggest possible solutions for the government to act.
Some of the members have joined the Conference Call on Sunday night and discussed various ways to make this Seminar a productive one. Consequently, we discussed possible area of Concerns we are going address by stating the problem and the possible solutions.
We have listed the possible areas of Concerns we all came up with during our Conference Call. PLEASE look over the topics and add if we missed any area of concern and send them to us. We will revise the list accordingly.
VENUE will be announced soon. Please visit our Website for updates: www.SaveTemples.org
Please send your CONCERNS to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) We request all Hindus and Hindu Organization to send their concerns to be presented at the Seminar:
We spoke to Sri C. Ramachandraiah Garu who suggested that we send our request as to what kind of information we want from him with respect to his department so that he can be prepared to share and answer these queries.
This is a rare opportunity to meet the Endowment Minister face to face to ask your questions about the plight of Hindu Temples in Andhra Pradesh. SO, we request all Hindu Organizations to express their concerns about the operation of Hindu Temples in Andhra Pradesh and some of the problems that they may have observed or experienced – in terms of land sales, dilapidation of Temples, Hundi money, Jewelry, employees, corruption, accommodation, sanitation, misuse of Temple funds, treatment of pilgrims by the employees etc.
Please let us know the kind of information you want from the Endowment Minister by July 22, 2012 so that he will have enough time to prepare his presentation.
3) Hindu Organizations are requested to attend the Seminar:
We request all the Hindu Organizations to attend in person and show our concern, our outrage, and disappointment with the Government take over of Hindu Temples and the preferential treatment of Christian and Muslim places of worship.
We want give an opportunity to Hindu organizations that are willing to submit one page report stating the problem, the extent of the problem and the possible solutions to resolve it. Please be specific as to what we want the government to do? We will give 5 minutes time for your presentation at the seminar.
If you have any questions or clarification about the Seminar, please call us.
Prakasarao Velagapudi, PhD
Topics to be discussed with Endowment Minister:
1) Temple lands – Identify the number of acres the Temples had over the last hundred years or so and find out how many acres are left at this time; what happened to the lands that are not being accounted for. How to recover these lands?
2) Number of Temples under Government control – Criterion
3) Temples Funds – How much each Temple is making, how it is used, how much government takes away;
4) Renovations of the Temples – Assessment of the integrity of the structure, needed repairs, painting etc.
5) Records of Auctioned lands and sold lands
6) History & Significance of each Temple – Need to develop, make it known to devotees, create pride,
7) Temples as Cultural Centers – promote cultural activities, dances, kirtans, Bhajans,
8) Temples as centers of Learning.
9) Cow Slaughter
10) Jewelry – quantity, safeguarding issues, accounting process, transparency, and Display
11) Museums at the Historical Temples – display of items with historical significance.
11) Volunteer Brigade – by training them, assign them to different tasks in the Temples, volunteers should replace the paid employees.
12) Demonstrations and Strikes by Temple Employees should be banned.
13) Facilities at the Pilgrim Places.
14) Create Sadhu Sadassu – Temple must consult and be directed by Acharyas.
15) Devalaya Prachara Brundam – send team of religious leaders, priests and artists to every village.
15) Conversion – How do counter the deception, allurement and false practices of other religions.
16) Shops near the Temple – bidding process, space allocation, sanctity issues
17) Ticketing of Pujas – corruption
18) Accommodation at the Temples – status of the buildings, reservation system,
19) Sanitation – Bathrooms, cleanliness, availability, location
20) Prasadams –
22) Lease of Temple lands – Maanyam
23) Tourism promotion
• Tourist buses to cover a selected Temples in a day packages – Pancharama Kshetras, Upper rail road covering all major pilgrimages near TTD.
24) Unused Lands – how many acres, how they can be used
25) Appointment of Board Members – should be free from political loyalty; assign them to Acharyas/ Swamijis.
26) Transparency of Accounts – release of Yearly accounts
27) Employee Salaries – should be open for public inspection; should not be decided by the government officials;
28) Unions of Employees – should be banned.
29) Employees of the Temples must be certified by Independent Hindu groups appointed by Acharyas/ Swamijis.
30) Priest Salaries, Tenure, benefits, Dakshina issues
31) Employee responsibilities and prosecution for negligence both professionally and personally.
32) Demolished Temple – how many were demolished, what was the compensation?
33) Funds should be used for religious purposes only – no donations to nonreligious organizations;
35) Lands leased for the use of other Institutions such as Educational institutions for a period of 100 years or so.