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Shrine entrepreneurship

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Jun08 033If any one can do anything about this menace, it is the BJP government. The Chief Minister needs to show statesmanship here, make the statement that he will not allow religion to be misused in this fashion, and have all the temples removed/ shifted, where required say over one grand city-wide "Satyanarayana Pooja". Once he sets an example with the temples, it will not be difficult to convince the other religious leaders to follow suit.

The following is what I had written to the TOI in Nov,'03, under the same caption:

The Chief Minister's exhortation to the BMP to immediately demolish unauthorised shrines that have come up in public places (vide the report in your columns on the 31st Oct) has not come a day too soon. You can see these so-called shrines sprouting up all over the city, proving a menace to both traffic as well as general peace in the area. These have to be recognised for what they actually are as purely commercial establishments. No god, whatever the faith, can ever reside in any of them. They need to be brought down ruthlessly, lest the menace eventually overtake the city.

Even in the case of the licensed ones, the BMP should ensure that they conform to the setback rules, rather than allowing them to blatantly encroach on to the footpaths in total disregard to the inconvenience caused to pedestrians. Also, where existing shrines prove a major traffic hurdle, the BMP should take initiative to ceremoniously re-locate them to some vacant site nearby with the consent and co-operation of the local people. There are enough examples of the church having done exactly that.

Such people-friendly approach is also good politics, and in addition will have the blessings of the gods too. The gods too would be happier with a people-friendly image.


The situation since has only gotten worse. The recent road widening exercise by BBMP has made the problem even more acute, particularly for the pedestrian. A typical case is the one near the Canara Bank bus stop on the ever busy 100 ft road in Koramangala. Some pictures:

The then Congress govt couldn't have been expected to do more than just make the right kind of noises, the matter being a political hot potato. If any one can do anything about this menace, it is the BJP government. The Chief Minister needs to show statesmanship here, make the statement that he will not allow religion to be misused in this fashion, and have all the temples removed/ shifted, where required say over one grand city-wide "Satyanarayana Pooja". Once he sets an example with the temples, it will not be difficult to convince the other religious leaders to follow suit.

Such a step will have a country-wide impact, and can become the best vote getter for the party in the soon to follow elections from all the sections of the population, except may be the fanatic few.

[PS: added pictures inline {blr_editor}]

Comments

tsubba's picture

temples (updated)

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agree. nice post. perhaps, he can consult the various agencies and make a list of all the structures that are obstructing and then issue a official request, which a specified date of response, for people to shift them with ofcourse govt bearing the cost of translocation. from his side, make it a completely civic issue. yenanteeri? btw there is a cult movie called udbhava on this theme.
silkboard's picture

shrines and the road setback 'trick'

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Murali sir, I hope you are aware of the way in which some of these road side shrines are misused.  Say I have a business by the side of the road. I am short on space. But I want to get more floor space for my shop/business. One option would be to encroach on the road or pavement. So, a short cut used sometimes is - build a small Balaji or Hanuman temple on the edge of the road. Once the 'temple' gets some visits, and acquires some legitimacy, you can stretch your shop a bit more on the pavement, at least as far as the "new temple" stretches.

Note that this trick isn't the reason for all the "obstructing" temples. Many such cases are a result of mindless road widening. But I have heard the above trick isn't that uncommon. I have pictures of two such examples. But I am not that bold to post them here.

ssheragu's picture

shrines management

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it is vey true that people, just to legalise usage of footpaths for personal gains or just to earn some money through wayward means, construct shrines on footpaths, create acceptability using it and then utilise for their personal gains; thus they misuse and hamper pedestrian movement. a similar case I THINK is the area occupied by Shiva temple on HAL airport road.

to eliminate such pavement shrines the following should be followed

1. public should be educated not to patronise pavement shrines

2. a board should be put up adjacent to such shrines by BBMP or BDA stating that patronising such shrines is against any GOD or RELIGION and is a great injustice to humanity and is in fact a big nuisance to the public themselves

once the shrines cease to be patronised the BBMP or BDA can demolish these shrines without attracting any public outburst.

Srinath Heragu

shas3n's picture

Gujarath example

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See what Mr. Modi is doing in Gujrath

http://ibnlive.in.com/new...

-Shastri

-Shastri

Naveen's picture

Bravo Modi Sir !

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This is something that had to start someplace soon. But Narendra Modi ? In Gujarat ?

After the Godhra fiasco, one would have thought he would be the last person to touch upon this, but here we are - Modi has been vindicated. Not only by the people of his state who elected him back again, but also by this action.

I am beginning to like this guy even more !

We desperatley need people like him here in karnataka !!

Vinay's picture

This Modi news was surprising

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It was surprising, to say the least. Didn't expect him to start this off. Good work..

murali772's picture

follow the example!

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Now that Mr Modi's BJP government has set an example, can we hope our BJP government will follow suit? In order not to hurt sentiments, the established temples can perhaps be ceremoniously shifted instead of bing demolished.

I would like to believe that Mr Modi is shaping up as a statesman.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
ssheragu's picture

Brave Modi Sir

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ssheragu hats off to Mr. Modi I hope that our beloved CM (who also had the benefit of Modi campaigning for him) initiates the same in Banagalore and Karnataka as a rule all places of worship (temple, church or mosque should be relocated thanks Srinath Heragu
murali772's picture

Modi not Ghazni

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Quote from TOI:

A few months ago, when temples were razed in Gandhinagar for development projects, VHP chief Ashok Singhal had compared Gujarat CM Narendra Modi with Mohammed Ghazni. On Friday, he said the comparison was made “out of affection’’. He said: “Demolition of temples by Ghazni is different. I share a good rapport with Modi. He has assured new plots for temples.’’

Neither are we asking B S Yediyurappa to be a Ghazni. But, would he like to do a Modi in this aspect at least?

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
ssheragu's picture

sprouting of shrines on footpaths or public places

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ssheragu

(1) as I had noted earlier, the location of shrines on footpaths causing inconvenience to public is a disservice to GOD

(2) around such shrines we can put a board stating that "SERVICE TO HUMANITY IS SERVICE TO GOD"

"PUBLIC AE REQUESTED NOT TO PATRONISE THIS SHRINE WHICH CAUSE INCONVENIENCE TO PUBLIC"

(3) after putting up these boards for a month, then BBMP can genertae public acceptance and  then relocate these shrines to a proper place.

 

many thanks

 

Srinath Heragu

murali772's picture

Church example

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Examplary act by the church

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Mumbai example

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Muralidhar Rao
n's picture

Illegal "shrines"

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If I recall, BBMP had performed some demolitions during night-times a few years ago - this led to "tension" in the areas and those "shrines" were built right back. So, that was the end of that. Many shrines come up literally overnight. And, people of course, live by swalpa adjust maadi ;-)


murali772's picture

496 irritant structures to be demolished in AP

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In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, ANDHRA Pradesh has identified 496 unauthorised structures such as temples, churches, gurudwaras and mosques in public places in Greater Hyderabad and submitted an action plan for their removal.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here

It is most unfortunate that the courts are having to involve themselves in day-to-day governance issues repeatedly. Well, if the Karnataka government does not take note even now, perhaps we will also have to follow the same route.
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Illegal religious structures count, directed by SC

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check this

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

finally, it's happening - hopefully

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check this

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the action has started

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As JCB drivers were reluctant to proceed with the demolition fearing the wrath of the deity, additional deputy commissioner G S Nayak himself swung into action and was joined by his subordinates. By evening, the temple was totally demolished.

Officials had earlier tried to relocate the temple on the sidelines of NH17 connecting Bangalore and Hyderabad. Officials were forced to return. This time around, officials had the backing of the SC which gave full powers to officials to relocate places of worship if they came in the way of widening of highways.

For the full report in the TOI, click here

There is a lot more to go, including within the city. Now, perhaps, it can happen faster.

 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

big time business

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Mahant Chhotu Nath, a priest of Shri Guru Gorakshnath Sidh Hanuman Mandir in Sector 19 here, won the bid for CH01-AR-0001 registration number for his Rs 60 lakh worth Audi Q7 by paying Rs 10.5 lakh at an auction on Monday. He defeated seven others who vied for the number.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Substantiates the title for this blog, right? And, I expect many of our own too won't be any worse off.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

IR - please release the gods from bondage

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The temples in question — Sri Shaneshwara Swami temple, Sri Shanimahatma temple, Kali temple, Bhakta Anjaneya temple and Sri Veera Anjenaya and Vinayaka temple — were built between 10 and 15 years ago on 5,156.16 square feet of encroached railway land, valued at `5.15 crore. All of them are located on the 3.5-km stretch — called Railway Parallel Road — running alongside the railway track from Malleswaram to Yeshwantpur.

The Railway Department is in possession of all documents to prove ownership of the property. The priests or trustees of the temples conceded to the officials in a meeting held six months ago that they do not have any documents to claim ownership.

Last April, the Upa Lokayukta had even issued an order castigating the Railways for not making any efforts to reclaim possession of its land.

The officials are helpless in the face of local resistance and even efforts of the Railway Police Force have failed, they claim.

Meanwhile, Aparna Garg, Estate Officer and Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Railway Division, said, “We are keen on reclaiming our land. The property in question is vital for our expansion plans. In case we decide to lay a new line or try to put in place a suburban infrastructure in the future, it is crucial we have the land in place first.”


Sanjiv Agarwal, Bengaluru Divisional Railway Manager, said, “We had written to the chief secretary some months ago, requesting the help of the state government to help us reclaim our land. It would become a law and order problem if we took things into our own hands.”

For the full text of the report (emphasis added by me) in the New Indian Express, click here.

While clearing encroachments in Shakurbasti (Delhi), perhaps the Railways needed to give time to the slum dwellers there to move out, particularly considering the harshness of Delhi winter. But, in Bengaluru, the gods will bless them for releasing them from the bondage of the temple mafioso, as also the people will appreciate clearing of the land or faciltating the operations of Commuter Rail (Namma Railu). So, on behalf of the both the gods as well as the Bengaluru public, I would like to urge the Railways to go ahead and reclaim the lands.

Simultaneously, I would also like to urge the BBMP to shift/ re-locate/ demolish all such unauthorised shrines across the city too, in the overall interest of the gods as well as the citizens. In fact, not having done so all these years, amounts to contempt of various court orders. BBMP needs to be mindful of that.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Hajee's temple?

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Even if on private property, one would like to believe there are guidelines to be followed if a place of worship (or, for that matter, any permanent structure) is to be set up at a busy road junction. This one has obviously not followed any.

The strange part besides is that the property is part of what is generally known as "Hajee's Garage". As such, is it a precursor to something new coming up there? Or, is it just a symbol of Hindu-Muslim bhaai-chaara? Even if it's the latter, it's going to be posing serious traffic flow issues, and consequently the traffic police perhaps need to take a call on whether it can be allowed to stay.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Just Gowda puts the fear of God into the executive

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said God never intended to obstruct footpaths or encroach upon public land and warned chief secretaries of states and Union territories of serious consequences if they did not comply with its orders directing removal of religious structures which came up on pavements and public land after September 2011.

A bench of Justices Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra was peeved as not a single state had filed response to its March 8 order directing them to comply with various interim orders passed by the apex court from time to time on this issue.

The bench said, "None of the states are doing anything to comply with the SC's directions. God never intended to obstruct footpaths and pavements or encroach upon public land. Persons building religious structures on public land and footpaths are insulting god."

The court had on September 13, 2011 said it had undertaken the exercise primarily to ensure that "henceforth no public land, public park or public street is encroached for constructing religious structures".

"All collectors and district magistrates in the country are directed to meticulously ensure that no further land is encroached in their respective districts. The district magistrates and collectors must also ensure that no commercial activity is carried out from unauthorised structures on public land," it had said.


The district magistrates were directed to send their reports every month to the chief secretary of the state regarding fresh encroachment and status of existing unauthorised structures."The chief secretaries, in turn, will file affidavits before this court once in three months on regular basis," the court had directed.

The bench of Justices Gowda and Mishra found that none of the states had complied with its interim orders and were taking the matter lightly by seeking time to file even the court-mandated quarterly status reports. "This is the attitude of the chief secretaries despite the Supreme Court's directions. Are our orders passed for keeping in cold storage? The chief secretaries have no respect for the highest court. We will show them what the court can do. They do not deserve any leniency," the bench said.

The bench's observations followed by an order summoning all chief secretaries to be present in court made the counsel for the states plead for two weeks to file response. Additional solicitor general P S Patwalia requested the court for one last opportunity to the states for filing an affidavit detailing steps taken so far to remove unauthorised religious structures encroaching on public land.


The SC relented and ordered that only those chief secretaries who failed to file the required affidavit in two weeks would remain present in court on the next date of hearing.

I am so excited reading this report in the ToI (it may be accessed here; emphasis has been added by me) that I have chosen to reproduce it in full. Justice Gopala Gowda has been quite known for his no non-sense approaches, and this judgement easily takes the cake. And, it's been long overdue.

There are likewise plenty of judgements on which the executive has failed to act. Perhaps, this judgement will spurr the Civil Society into putting the fear of Justice Gopala Gowda into the minds of the executive.

Muralidhar Rao

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