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Hindu Temple Owner to Give 1 Gram of Gold to Prevent Conversions

ICC Note:

Hindu radicals who object to Christian evangelism through financial help because they claim it is a fraudulent and immoral cut their own legs out from under them when they offer to hand out gold to poor families to keep them from converting – they are doing exactly the same thing that they claim is immoral for Christians to do. Do Hindus get a pass on morality?

Deccan Chronicle (10/20/06) – Hyderabad : Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which runs the richest temple in the country, will hand out one-gram of gold to poor families to keep them from converting to other religions.

The new board that runs the TTD took this decision following complaints from religious leaders that preachers of other religions were luring poor Hindus either through financial help or promises of a better living.

If that is indeed the case, the TTD is in for a rethink. One gram of gold — assuming the jeweller is honest and does not adulterate it — would cost less than Rs 900. The gold will be given in the form of mangalsutras to one lakh below poverty line (BPL) couples every year. “There are several lakh Hindu families living below the poverty line. They have never ever worn gold ornaments. The TTD will distribute gold mangalsutras and perform one lakh mass marriages every year,” said TTD chairman B. Karunakar Reddy.

“On February 22, 2007, one lakh mass marriages will be performed between 8 am and 8.30 am all over the State and the TTD will provide free food to 20 family members and relatives of each couple. The basic idea is prevent poor Hindus from converting to other religions,” Mr Reddy said. The TTD has also come out with a programme to distribute “atchintalus” of Lord Sri Venkateswara and “kumkuma” of Goddess Sri Padmavati among all Hindu families in the State. This will create awareness among Hindus and bring them to the religious fold, he said.

The chairman also revealed the board’s plan to reduce VVIP darshan time by half from the present four hours so that the masses can have longer darshans. “We can accommodate an additional 3,000 general pilgrims,” Mr Reddy said. The TTD has written to MLAs, MPs and senior officials to reduce the number of “recommendation letters” they issue. It has also set up a committee to define who is a VVIP. Giving thrust to amenities for the common pilgrims, the TTD will construct 35,000 new quarters, in addition to the present 35,000 cottages and rooms in the temple town.