Liberate Temples from Govt. Control – Protests and Closure of Temples in AP and Tamil Nadu

· Date:November 21, 2010

Priests Go On Strike, Some Temples Closed; Devotees disappointed; Salaries for Priests not Fixed even after Supreme Court directive 13 years ago

“If everyone howled at every injustice, every act of barbarism, every act of unkindness, then we would be taking the first step towards a real humanity.”  Nelson DeMille

            Hindus go to their Temples to have a personal darshan of their beloved Gods and Goddesses, to request the solutions for their troubles and tribulations, to get the blessings for their family members, to conduct various shodashopachara pujas, to enquire about auspicious date and time for personal and professional use, to attend religious and spiritual discourses, to attend a number of other cultural program, and for a host of other reasons. It is for their peace of mind, to reduce the stress and strain, and to feel the vibrations of the Temple; many Hindus go to these sacred places. They expect the priests to play a vital role in fulfilling their responsibilities to conduct various pujas, homas, etc and also to meet the religious and spiritual needs of the people who come to the Temple.  The Priest, who are called Pujaris, archakas, bhattacharyas, acharyas etc, are expected to be knowledgeable in the Vedas, Pujas, homas, abhishekas, alankaras, vrathas, various mantras, astrology, panchangas, ithihasas, mythology, etc. They area considered as servants of God and expect them to be purist and upholders of traditions. If the servants do not look good, the masters would look worse. These masters are none other than the government officials and governing departments.

            When the society expects the Priests to serve the needs of the Gods needs and the needs of the people who attend the Temples, it is the responsibility of the Temple founders and managers to make sure that their needs are also met. It is the utmost duty of the Hindu community to provide adequate salaries for the maintenance and sustenance of their families.

            In India, the liberty and freedom of all Hindus are denied. No other country dare usurp the rights of 80 percent of their citizens.  Different state governments have taken over all the Hindu Temples that make huge sums of money and are managing them without any input from Hindu community. With their authority and power, they have been mismanaging the Temple funds, Temple lands, Temple structures, Temple rituals, Temple jewelry, and Temple traditions.

            Do these governments take over Christian Churches and Muslim mosques? Can they deny the freedom and liberty of Christians and Muslims to manage their institutions?  Can they sell their lands, loot their funds, steal their jewelry, destroy their institutions, allow their lands to be encroached, give their money to the construction of Hindus Temples, and use their money to send Hindus to Tirupati, Rameshwaram, Dwarak, Amarnath, Badrinath etc. The Indian government and state governments dare not do it. No body has to imagine what happens to all these politicians if they do any of these things.

            Endowments Departments in different states take as much as 75 percent of Temple funds and use them at their will. No accountability, no transparency and no verification.  They have the authority to suppress and subdue Hindus who question their authority. Many politicians who happened to be Hindus have become so selfish they can mortgage their culture and their country for fame, name, power and money. They can deny any thing and get away with it. Even the Courts cannot be effective. Secular government would not enforce any law that would ameliorate the Temples and the salaries for the Priests. It is shame and a disgrace on the human race itself, especially to Hindu community for it’s benign neglect.

Supreme Court and Priest Salaries

            Most of the employees, who are classified as secular staff, of the Endowment Department are paid regular salaries. Unfortunately, majority of the priest who are classified as religious staff, are not paid commensurate with their responsibilities. Many of them are paid meager salaries. They are not able to support their families. In some cases the salaries are not even paid on time. It is the duty of the government, Hindus and the society to treat the Priests happy and contented.

            The case of salary issue to the priest went all the way to Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had directed the state government in 1997 to pay salaries to temple staff on par with those of the government employees.  However even after 13 years of Supreme Court directive State government failed to take appropriate steps develop pay scales and pay the equitable salaries to the priests.

Sri Kamal Kumar Swami

            Addressing the regional AP Archaka Samakhya in Warangal October 31, 2010, Sri Kamalkumar Swami, President of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi, said that Archakas have been accorded a very prestigious position in the society; however they are living in a desperate and poor conditions due to the meager salaries paid to them. If their salaries are not improved soon, they may have no choice but take the matter to the streets and stage dharanas across the state. He said that went to a number of Temples across the state and observed pitiable conditions the Archakas are facing. Giving as an example he said that a more than a 70 year old priest at Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple of Kondaparthi in Hanumakonda Mandal is doing pujas even though he is no paid regular salary. The Archaka said that how can I not offer Naivedyam to my Lord. As long as I am living and however old I am, I will attend to the needs of the Lord.  The state is failing miserably in meeting the needs of the Temples and the priests, especially small and local Temples. Sri Kamalkumar Swami said many Ammavari (Goddesses) Temples in villages are very powerful and attracting more people. He also observed that Temples managed by local people and some of the Ashrams are being run very efficiently.

In AP, there are more than 37,000 temples in the state, employing nearly 70,000 priests. There is a staggering disparity in their salaries. Depending on the annual income of the temple, through “hundi” collections and paid rituals, the priests are paid a consolidated monthly remuneration, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 4000.

            While empathizing with the plight of priests, Endowments Minister of AP, G Venkat Reddy assured that a decision on pay hike would be taken after receiving the report of the Justice Venkatrami Reddy Commission, set up to examine their demands. “We have no objection to hiking salaries if the temples have sufficient revenues,” Reddy said.

Protests and Closure of Temples in AP and Tamil Nadu

            The last week of October witnessed a number of demonstrations by the priests as well as Temple employees resulting in a closure of Arjita Seva Ticket Counters and/ or a number of Major Temples. Although Regional AP Archaka Samakhya discussed at length to on a strike, they decided to postpone for two months based on the assurances from the government.

Some of the highlights of the events as reported in newspaprers:

I   Andhra Pradesh

            1 “There are 19 major temples which make an annual income of more than Rs 10 crore, while 1,130 temples get an income of up to Rs 25 lakh. The pay commission scales are made partially applicable to the priests of these temples, while their counterparts who manage smaller shrines are paid consolidated salaries.

“It is the staff of the small temples who suffer the most. As over 32,000 temples in the state earn less than Rs 2 lakh per year, the “archakas” of these shrines get a paltry sum from the government,” secretary of AP Archaka Samakhya KVSRN Acharyulu told The Tribune.

Though the endowments department had promised to pay a fixed monthly remuneration of Rs 5,000 for priests in rural temples and Rs 6,000 for their urban counterparts, there had been no action so far, he said.”

            2) The strike paralysed rituals and services at eight major temples in the state, whose annual revenue is more than Rs2.5 million. At present, the priests are paid a measly sum of Rs400 to Rs500 for their service at several temples. They are demanding salaries as per the recommendations of Pay Revision Commission.

II Tamil Nadu

            On Tuesday (October 26), staff in all temples that are under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department (HR&CE) went on strike demanding better salaries. As a result, there was no puja at the 36,000 temples in the state. Nor were the deities served food.

            Thousands of devotees who came to offer puja and partake of prasad at some of the more famous pilgrimages — Madurai Meenakshi temple, Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy temple, Kabileshwar temple (Chennai), Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, Palani temple and Thirutani temple, had to return home disappointed.           

Recommendations to the State Government and All Hindus

            1) Salaries of the Priest should be fixed and paid similar to any other employees with all the privileges accorded to regular secular staff in the Endowment Departments.

            2) Supreme Court directive should be implemented forthwith. It is a travesty of justice to wait 13 years and still not be able to implement the court decision.

            3) Supreme Court should enforce Contempt of Court policy and charge the State authorities with fines, imprisonment or both. If the Supreme Court judgment is not implemented by the state, it should take appropriate punitive action against those governments who fail to enforce it.  Supreme Court cannot remain a blind spectator if it has to regain the trust and faith in the justice system.

            4) Dakshina is a very sensitive issue to all the priests, devotees and the administration. The priests should not be pestering the pilgrims and should not take advantage of the vulnerable Hindus who visit the Temples.

            5) Government should come up with a policy regarding Dakshina where the priests would not be asking the defenseless Hindu pilgrims.

            6) All the priests have to make up their mind to accept adequate salaries in par with other employees based on the qualifications.

            7) It should be a pleasant experience for all Temple going Hindus who go there to have a peace of mind, to have feast for their eyes to behold the God/ Goddess in the Temples, to seek the blessings of the presiding deity, and to have concentrated mind with no distractions.

            8) With dwindling number of priests in the Temples and in the villages, non-Brahmins must be encouraged to go the Veda Pattasalas to get the training in Priesthood.

            9) The government, the Priests and all the Hindus should work together to preserve, promote and protect Hindu religion; should have a global vision; should understand the true meaning of Vasudhaika kutumbam; should stop creating boundaries among Hindus based on caste; should treat others with respect and deference;  and should abide by the essence of all the scriptures regarding the conduct as the definition of a Caste rather than a birth of an individual.

            10) All Hindus should realize that Abrahamic religions are taking advantage of the caste system and converting some of the frustrated Hindus who were insulted at different levels; and should realize that these other religions may increase their numbers in such a way they could impose their faith on Hindus to their dismay.

            11) All the Hindus should work together to repeal the  Endowment Act from all the States to make sure the Hindus would have the opportunity to mange their Temples the way other religions are able to do.


We need your assistance to continue our mission of abolishing Endowment Act and free Temples from the government control. If we have to make an impact on our movement to bring changes to preserve our culture, we need you financial support. Your generous donations to continue our efforts to free Hindu Temples from government control, awaken the Hindus about the plight of Hindu Temples and the impending danger of illegal conversion techniques are essential. We are requesting all the individuals and organizations to support financially to continue our movement to free Hindu Temples from the government control and stop these conversions.

 NOTE: GHHF is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 ( c ) 3 of the Internal Revenue code.  

                    Our tax ID # 41-2258630

                   Please send your tax-deductible donations to:
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 For more information                      

            Please visit our website:

 V. V. Prakasa Rao, PhD, (601-918-7111 cell), (601-856-4783 home); Prasad Yalamanchi (630-832-2665; 630-359-5041), D. Satya (732-939-2060): Vinay (248-842-6964):  Dr. K. R. Venkatramaiah (Canada) (416-925-8167). Nemana Satya (732-762-7104), Sekhar Reddy (954-895-1947), Tulasichand Tummala  (408-786-8357),  Raju Polavaram (919-959-6141); Pavan Neti (630-338-9364); Srinivas  Murthy  (212-538-8716)

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  1. chris Reply

    November 22, 2010 at 12:10 am

    One religion …..HINDU
    Can the people fight to have a ID card that bare only the RELIGION: HINDU.No caste, no sub caste and all the stupid things i ndians are proud of.?????? 5

  2. Surya Reply

    November 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Do not fight by closing temples
    closing temples will drive people to go to church. its not going to make an effect. Instead we must do pracharams about govt. misuse of temple funds 5

  3. skg Reply

    November 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Liberate Hindu temples from Endownment board.
    It is time to liberate all the Hindu temples from Endownment board. Who gave the right to these politicians and scoundrels to loot money from the Hindu temples ?. It is pity to see that a famous temple like Srikalahasti’s gopuram cracked and fell down and no body even tried to fix it before it cracked. So many examples of the intensional loot of the Hindu temples across South India. Politicians cry crocodile tears instead of addressing the real problem. These dogs need to address the real problem by liberating the Hindu temples instead of looting them. 5

  4. Nandini Reply

    November 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Situation in Karnataka
    Dear friends, one more solution is to have Hindu friendly parties in power such as in karnataka. The beleagured Yeddy ji has done many good things in our state such as releasing the ancient Udupi ashta mutts from government control. Yeddy ji also brought peace between kannadigas and tamils by installing statue of thiruvalluvar in bangalore with installation of kannada poet sarvajna in chennai. Yeddy ji has also given aid to many temples across southern states. 5

  5. Nandini Reply

    November 23, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Situation in Karnataka
    Dear friends, one more solution is to have Hindu friendly parties in power such as in karnataka. The beleagured Yeddy ji has done many good things in our state such as releasing the ancient Udupi ashta mutts from government control. Yeddy ji also brought peace between kannadigas and tamils by installing statue of thiruvalluvar in bangalore with installation of kannada poet sarvajna in chennai. Yeddy ji has also given aid to many temples across southern states.
    Yeddi has also moved to remove Gokarna temple and the centuries-old Sri Janardhana and Mahakali temple of Ambalpady, Udupi, to go out of the hands of the government. read details here – 5

  6. Shadananan Reply

    November 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Unite Hindus
    The Hindus in Tamilnadu and Andhrapradesh are really more united and active than the Hindus in Kerala.We ,Keralites, say that we are proud of our level of Education.But, what is the use if we are unable to unite for our existence?Instead of standing together we are lying scattered in Political parties which are openly working against us.So education is useless unless you have a good brain to utilize it.Now also it is not too late.All Hindus should leave all political parties which are working against Hindus and should join Hindu based party.I had a few Muslim friends and Christian friends while studying in Professional College.Most of them are now settled either in Gulf or America/Europe.They have countries outside India ready to welcome them. Now think of we Hindu fools.Which foreign country is ready to welcome Hindus with an open heart?We have to exist in our India only and our Center of Existence is Hindu Temple.Don’t allow Criminal Politicians to steal our money and to work against us using that money.Which Church or Mosque is allowing Government to interfere their activities?(It may need approval from Vatican or from Mecca!).Not too late.Let us join and fight against this discrimination to Hindus. 5

  7. Dr.Vijaya Rajiva Reply

    November 23, 2010 at 8:38 am

    To Shri Chris
    I am assuming that you are not a Hindu because of your lack of sensitivity to the grave issues discussed in this article about Hindu temples.

    No, we Hindus are not proud of the caste system which began (according to scholars) a few centuries before the Christian era.

    But that is not the only thing about Bharat. There is a long more than 5,000 year civilisational history.
    The great achievements of this civilisation have been hailed by many, even including white racist supremacists like David Duke.

    I recommend that you read some good history of India.

    Today, the country has been mired in corruption, thanks to a venal and corrupt government at the centre.

    To return to the temple issue. If you have seen any of the great Hindu temples you will understand the article above.


  8. skg Reply

    November 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Yeddy is good and he needs to be careful.
    Fully appreciate Nandini’s comments about Yeddyji and liberation of temples in Karnataka. little advice to Yeddji. He needs to follow Modiji carefully. The evil personified Deve Gowda and his thug son HDK are desperate to dislodge BJP and Yeddyji from power. So, Yeddyji shouldn’t give any chances to them to dislodge them. His blunder of allocating lands to his kin should have been avoided by all means. Any way he is a human and he made this mistake. He can’t blindly follow his predecessors in Karnataka. He needs to set an excellent example. We expect him to take back Karnataka to the days of Vijayanagar Empire. Good luck to Yeddji. Praying sincerely for his stay in the power and hoping he will not make silly mistakes again.
    Jai Hind. 5

  9. Shadananan Reply

    November 25, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Know Hinduism
    Most of the non-Hindus (even some Hindus themselves) don’t know the basics of the Hinduism.They simply make note of some exaggerated explanations like “Lord Krishna has 16008 wives, worshiping Shiva Lingam, Bhramha is resting on a Lotus Flower originating from umblical cord of Sree Hari, etc’.But whoever read The Bhagavd Geetha thoroughly will find the real explanation with the help of Astronomy.The “Brahmam” is the ultimate state of matter from which everything in the universe evolved.Though we Hindus knew it 1000s of years back,the Western countries are in an LKG school level in understanding it.The more they understand it the more they are closing towards Hinduism. The ShivaLingam is not merely a stone carved in the shape of a Lingam.It really represents the existence of Bhrahmam in the shape of a Jyothir Lingam (High energetic beam of matter is ejected from the core of Black hole (Bhrahmam)along the poles which extends for billions of kilometer in space in the form of Jyothir Lingam).It also represents the existence of Universe as a combination of Power/Energy and Matter.In the case of Lord Krishna who really is the “Brahmam”, everything in this universe including all Husbands and Wives are Him.In the past to explain it some number was used.Understanding it , of course is a little difficult.Now come to caste system,in our books it is clearly written that the caste is based on your job/activity and not based on your birth.Even a Bhrahmin becomes a Bhrahmin only if he achieve the real knowledge of Bhrahmam and absorbs it in his mind.The existing caste system was created by the Feudal System in the past for their own benefits and is being maintained by Political Parties in the present for their own benefits.It is not the part of real Hinduism.Don’t get confused. 5

  10. Shadananan.V.K. Reply

    November 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Sorry, a minor correction is required in my comment below.The Jyothir Lingam extends Billions of LIGHT YEARS in the space (for human measurements it is almost endless) ,and not billions of Kilometers.Billions of Kilometers is only a few light seconds. 5

  11. Aron Reply

    November 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    How can a secular government run or take over a religious place of worship?

    Can anything be more laughable and still be called secular?

    Indians have reinvented the term secularism to mean ‘State-curbing hinduism’-

    while madrasas with Saudi funding sprawl all across and you cant touch them, nor churches with evangelical money from abroad!

    Only Indians can stand on heads and call that straight-

    Oxford dictionary-

    Secularism- not connected with religious or spiritual matters:
    secular buildings
    secular attitudes to death
    Contrasted with sacred

    Weber’s dictionary-

    Indifference to or exclusion or rejection of religion

    Now if you lookup for this much bandied about word by our secularvads- in merriam-webster dictionary-

    secular state

    The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary.

    Now lets see Cambridge dictionary-

    secularism noun /’sek.j?.l?r.?.z?m//-j?.l?-/ [U]
    the belief that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country

    which means vice versa-

    Does that obtain here? why is Haj subsidy here? ‘Minority rights’ educational enterprises, scholarships, quotas…?

    Cambridge Dictionary-

    secular humanism noun [U]
    a set of beliefs which emphasize the importance of reason and of people rather than religion


    Not all legally secular states are completely secular in practice.

    In France for example, many Christian holy days are official holidays for the public administration, and teachers in Catholic schools are salaried by the state.[3] In India, the government gives subsidy in airfare for Muslims going on Haj pilgrimage(See Haj subsidy). In 2007, the government had to spend Rs. 47,454 per passenger.[4]

    Thus, in the Commonwealth Realms, the head of state is required to take the Coronation Oath[5] swearing to uphold the Protestant faith.

    The United Kingdom also maintains positions in its upper house for 26 senior clergymen of the established Church of England known as the Lords Spiritual. 5

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