|Rama, Sita, Lakshmanan and Hanuman idols. IndiaMART|
|Times of India|
This is with reference to my earlier posts on the mismanagement of HR & CE (The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment) of Tamil Nadu government that runs more than 36,000 Hindu temples across the state and on frequent theft of age old valuable Panchaloga idols (made of an alloy of 5 metals) from the temples. Between 1992 and 1917, in a span of 25 years, no fewer than 1,200 ancient idols from temples in Tamil have disappeared into the hands of international smugglers who do the job nice and square in collusion with local thugs. The scale of theft is appealing and mind-boggling. It is high time the state government took preventive steps to cut down the temple idol thefts and safeguard the rich heritage of Tamil Nadu.
In a new item appeared in 'The Hindu' of 12 July 2018, the honorable justice of Madras High Court, Chennai could nor contain his anger over frequent theft of innumerable gods' idols from the places of worship and warned the HR & CE that, if need be, they could face a probe from the CBI - Central Bureau of Investigation of Delhi, if serious action was not forthcoming from them. The court, responding a complaint under PIL cited the theft of some precious artifacts from Srirangam Ranganather temple and a panchaloga idol from equally famous Arunachaleswarar temple, Tiruvannamalai. Despite several representations to the HR & CE officials and to the local police about missing of precious idols, doors made of exotic wood, many kalasams (pots), sculptures, unblemished granite pavements and other treasures which had been buried by kings of the past on the 157-acre campus of the temple, there is no semblance of any action either from the local police nor from the HR & CE. This is quite disgusting and at stake is loss of temple treasures.
As stated in my posts, the HR & CE is being run by irresponsible people who have neither faith in God nor responsibility to preserve the sanctity of the place of worship. Every thing in the temple belongs to the people of Tamil Nadu and is part of our heritage and they have no right to tamper with idols of divinity. As long as the government turns a blind eye to such unscrupulous officials whose eyes are glued to swindle our national treasures to make fast bucks, so long such robberies at temples by the officials continue unabated without any solution on hand. The government and judiciary should come up with a severe deterrent to stop this menace.
Further, these HR & CE officials would rather spend their time within the comforts of luxurious A/C coupes, rather than go out to many temples, in particular, to remote places to get first hand information on how safely the idols are kept on the premises what steps need to be taken to prevent future thefts. It is mentioned in the article of the Hindu that 30 panchaloga idols at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple at Senthalai village near Tirukattupalli in Thanjavur district are not kept safely. The value of these idols runs into a few hundred crores of rupees. Same is the story at Uma Maheshwarar Temple in Konerirajapuram in Nagapattinam district where precious idols are in a room locke-up with just ordinary lock. It is said, considering the workmanship of such idols their value would run into several hundred crores of rupees.