Skip to main content

'Obnoxious' practice of VVIP, preferential treatment in temples to privileged people

By NS Venkataraman* 

In the earlier days, there was restriction for entry in the place of worship for people based on caste and creed. This practice prevailed in several religions. Though such practice has now been largely given up due to proactive campaign, the practice is still prevalent in some places. Hopefully, this practice would go away completely soon.
While the above practice is under debate for several years now, the most obnoxious practice seen today is the practice of providing preferential entry in the place of worship for those who pay entry fee, as against those who do not pay or who cannot afford to pay entry fee and opt for free darshan.
Such people not paying entry fee often wait in the queue for long time (sometime several hours), even as they see the people paying fee getting quick entry and the so called VIPs , who could be ministers or celebrities such as sports persons, cinema actors or rich business persons or top officials of the government , straightaway being taken for darshan without waiting.
It is even more obnoxious to see the condition, where the darshan for devotees are completely stopped when a person like President, Governor or ministers visit the place of worship.
Unfortunately ,there is no discussion or protest about such undesirable practice of giving preferential entry in the place of worship for some people and denying it to others.

How can devotees be treated differently?

The question here is as to how any difference can be observed between the people, even in the place of worship.
Obviously, it is the belief that God would not distinguish between the devotees based on money power or the position held in the society. In other words, in the place of worship, all people should be treated equally and this is the basic dictum in all religions from time immemorial.
It is famously said that death is a great equalizer. Should not the devotees getting preferential entry , be conscious about this fact that death event make no difference between the rich and the poor people? What is applicable to the death event should be equally applicable to the life event also, particularly in the place of worship.

Who is responsible?

There are two players responsible for such obnoxious practice of having preferential entry to some so called “privileged people” and denying it to others.
One is the administrators of the place of worship who seem to view the administration of the place of worship largely as commercial activity and think that collecting entry fee is nothing wrong. These administrators are guilty of introducing undesirable “VIP culture" in place of worship for whatever reasons.
The other guilty people are those who pay entry fee to get quick entry and the so called VIPs who get free and ready entry , unmindful of the feelings of frustration of those who cannot afford to pay or who do not want to pay as a matter of principle. These people fail to realise that those who do not pay entry fee and forced to wait in the queue for long time are as genuine devotees, as those who gain entry at the cost of others by using their money power or position in the society.
The entry fee paying devotees to get quick entry and the so called VIPs getting free and ready entry are self centred people , who try to get advantage for themselves over others. They are also responsible for creating sort of “class difference” in the place of worship , which is absolutely unacceptable.

What would saints say?

Several mythological stories reveal as to how God bless poor and sincere devotees, more than those who visit place of worship using money power and sometimes with pomp and show .
Mahatma Gandhi said, “I hate privilege and monopoly. Whatever cannot be shared with the masses is taboo to me.” ('Harijan', 2nd November 1934)
Certainly, great Indian saints like Kanchi Paramacharya and Bhgawan Sri Ramana Maharshi would have disapproved the money power playing a role in providing entry to the place of worship.
What is urgently required is that all genuine devotees, whatever may be their wealth or position in the society , should decide that they would not seek any special privilege for them in getting quick or ready entry.
If some Governors or ministers cannot wait in the queue with other devotees due to security or other reasons, let them not visit the place of worship or let them visit after shedding their so called special status.
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai



A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive.