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Amend The Constitution:END discrimination against Hindus, by J.G. Arora, 20 August 2007 Print E-mail

Events And Issues

New Delhi, 20 August 2007

Amend The Constitution

END discrimination against Hindus

By J.G. Arora

Former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax

‘Secularism’ is a sublime concept. It is all-embracing and non-discriminatory. Yet it has been dragged to dismal depths in India. In a truly secular polity, there should be no majority and no minority. There would be only humans, only citizens; one law; one nation; justice to all; injustice to none. But in India, secularism has come to mean “anti-Hinduism”.

After fighting foreign invaders for centuries and losing Afghanistan and Pakistan over the years, truncated Bharat was expected to re-assert itself after 1947. Instead, a fake secularism implying ‘anti-Hinduism’ has seized Bharat. No other country has reduced its majority community to such a helpless entity as India.

One of the major issues tormenting Hindu society is the outrageous Government control of all prominent Hindu temples all over India.

Though India is a secular republic and though secularism commands separation of state and religion, many State governments have taken over all prominent Hindu temples, which is an anti-secular action. And, it is discriminatory since only Hindu places of worship have been targeted for government control whereas no Christian church or Muslim mosque has been touched.

This is not to suggest that churches and mosques should also be taken over by the Government. This is just to stress that since secularism implies separation of state and religion, Hindu temples should also enjoy the same freedom from Government control as enjoyed by churches and mosques.

It is also shocking that the State governments are not using temple income for the cause of Hindu religion. Rather, the Government takeover has resulted in diversion of temple funds for non-religious purposes and, as in Karnataka, even for madrassas and churches. Takeover by the State has also resulted in defalcation of temple funds, closure of many smaller temples, encroachment, sale and alienation of temple lands and dismantling of temple infrastructure, which is leading to gradual demolition of Hindu religion. Because of Government takeover, persons with little devotion to Hinduism, and even non-Hindus are governing Hindu temples.

The Government control of Hindu temples and their estates amounts to suppression of the Hindus’ fundamental right of religious freedom guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution.

A truly secular state can neither penalise nor patronise any religion. But the state control of well-known temples in India is demolishing the self-supporting infrastructure of Hindu places of worship. In sharp contrast, the Government of India subsidizes “Haj” pilgrimage when not even one of 57 Muslim countries provides any such subsidy.

Apart from being the centre of Hindu religious, social and cultural life, the temple is supposed to be the focal point for learning the Vedas, Upnishads, Ramayan,  Mahabharat and Tirukkural etc. from religious scholars. Government control over important temples is thus effacing Vedic learning and Sanskrit.


That is not all. Another disability is heaped on the Hindu society by Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution. These confer special rights only on the minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. During deliberations in the Constituent Assembly, it was presumed that the Hindus who constituted the majority would automatically be entitled to the rights given to the minorities by Articles 29 and 30. However, in actual practice, these rights are denied to the Hindus.

In no other country in the world, the majority community has been deprived of basic rights whereas special privileges are bestowed on the minorities.

Articles 29 and 30 giving special privileges to the minorities are, indeed fragmenting Hindu society since many Hindu sects proclaim that they are not Hindu to get the benefits of these Articles. Clearly, being Hindu is a disability. As per the Supreme Court judgment reported as Bramchari Sidheswar Shai versus State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 Supreme Court 2089), even Ramakrishna Mission, a leading Hindu organization, claimed a minority (non-Hindu) status to secure the benefits under Article 30.

Ramakrishna Mission was facing some problems in its educational institutions and apprehended Government takeover. To save itself from the looming danger, the well-known institution claimed a non-Hindu (minority) religion status to secure the protection of Article 30. Though its pioneers like Swami Vivekananda were glorious Hindus, the disabilities attached to Hindu institutions in independent India made Ramakrishna Mission disown Hinduism and claim minority status. Though the High Court allowed its petition, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s decision and held that Ramakrishna Mission was a Hindu institution, and could not get protection of Article 30.

Is there a way out? The answer lies in the decontrol and restoration of the Hindu temples to the Hindu community and amendment of Articles 29 and 30 to extend the rights stipulated therein to all the communities, including the Hindus. That is the only way to give justice to the Hindus, India’s majority community. 

Since it is the Hindu society that has built and maintained its temples, the same should be handed back to the Hindus. Like other religious communities, the Hindus too have a constitutional and fundamental right to manage their temples, shrines and institutions. And they should not be deprived of this basic right.

It is baffling that the Hindus continue to suffer this discrimination in silence. It betrays abject surrender by the Hindus before injustice; as also incompetence of Hindu leadership. It is puzzling that no political party has articulated these inequities, and demanded justice for the Hindus.  

Moreover, Articles 29 and 30 have to be amended to ensure equal rights to all Indian citizens. This is not to suggest that the minorities should be deprived of any right conferred by Articles 29 and 30. This is only to stress that the rights conferred by these Articles on the minorities must be extended also to the Hindus since their religious and educational institutions cannot surrive under Government.

India’s Constitution has been amended about 100 times. Surprisingly, however, no one has thought of amending Articles 29 and 30. It is imperative that a Constitution (Amendment) Bill to amend Articles 29 and 30 to extend the rights stipulated therein to all the communities, including Hindus, is introduced in Parliament at the earliest. Even staunch anti-Hindus would not be able to object to the said amendment since it would merely extend the said fundamental rights to the Hindus without depriving the minorities of the same. Any one opposing this amendment would only expose his anti-Hindu bias.

With the proposed Constitutional amendment, the State would be debarred from interfering with the social, religious and educational institutions set up by the Hindus as is the case of the minority institutions. Educational institutions run by the Hindus would the also be free to propagate and preach Hinduism with the same constitutional protection as given to the minorities. This amendment would end discrimination against the Hindus without inviting any opposition from any quarter.

As per Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Tolerance is said to be the virtue of those without convictions. The Hindus have to demonstrate that they will not tolerate any discrimination. Then and then alone they will not face any discrimination.---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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