March 24, 2021
Coimbatore: With the chorus to #FreeTNTemples growing louder by the day, leaders from industry, media and political parties joined thousands of citizens online to make a peaceful yet strong demand to restore ownership of Hindu Temples to the community.
“This entire movement about free Tamil Nadu Temples is not an effort to protest, agitate or corner somebody. This is out of a very deep anguish,” said Sadhguru in a video message where he called on people “irrespective of religion” to support the movement to correct a “fundamental injustice.” Sadhguru retweeted more than 100 videos shot by citizens and Isha volunteers which show the shocking and alarming condition of temples in the state.
“Everything that is Tamil is rooted in devotion and the fulcrum of this devotion is the temple,” said Sadhguru as he described the pain and anguish of devotees compelled into silent spectatorship as centuries’ and millennia-old temples crumble due to government apathy and neglect.
The campaign launched at the beginning of this month has taken on a life of its own on social media with support pouring in from all quarters. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Ltd. called on citizens to “demand funds to resurrect temples” and lamented the lack of “respect” for “our heritage” (https://twitter.com/kiranshaw/status/1374627960452345861?s=19)
Former CBI Director Nageswara Rao; and actors Kangana Ranaut and Raveena Tandon were among those who endorsed the campaign online. Kangana called the condition of temples “heartbreaking” (https://twitter.com/KanganaTeam/status/1374625016239722497?s=1001).
Raveena Tandon had strong words for those presiding over the neglect of temples calling them “internal enemies”. (https://twitter.com/TandonRaveena/status/1374641682247950340?s=19). Actors Sridivya and Shreenidhi Shetty, Director of Draupathy Shri. Mohan and C.D Ravi, the Chief of the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP were among those who lent their voice to the campaign. Leader of Hindu Makkal Katchi Arjun Sampath also tweeted in support. Actor, lawyer and writer Kasthuri Shankar tweeted, “My heart bleeds for the heartless exploitation of our sacred spaces” and called on the community “to unite in one voice to rescue our faith,” (https://twitter.com/KasthuriShankar/status/1374671995334389761?s=1001)
Earlier this month, Sadhguru wrote open letters to the Tamil Nadu CM, Shri. Palaniswami and the Opposition Leader Shri. M.K. Stalin urging them to include in their manifesto a plan to free TN temples from state control.
The #FreeTNTemples campaign has turned the spotlight on the silent majority – the community of Hindus – whose places of worship have been usurped and shackled by government control. The campaign has garnered national attention for its pan-India appeal as several Indian states have tightened their control over Hindu temples.
The Indian Constitution guarantees the Right to Worship as a fundamental right for citizens of all communities. While all other communities manage their own places of worship, Hindu temples alone have been administered by the draconian Hindu Religious and Charity Endowments Act which gives state full administrative control in all aspects of temple management including maintenance, financial control and staff appointments.