I was waiting in my car for Yamuna to complete her Puja of Lord Shiva on this auspicious Monday of Sravana. I had brought the latest copy of ‘India Today’ to pass my time. But I never had to that, I started watching the swelling number of kids from the so-called ‘have-not’ categories waiting to enter the school that Sai Temple runs.
I was trying to understand who are the parents that were bringing their kids. I found the riksapullers who brought their kids in their own riksha. Some of them were from Bengal. I saw also some security guards from Nepal and women who must be working as helping hands in different households of nearby residents accompanying their kids. And I enjoyed the whole scene. The country may soon see ‘sarva shikhsa aviyan’ succeed. The parents today understand the need for education. But then some questions as usual cropped up. Are the kids coming as the temple provides the mid-day meal along with the dress and books? Why have I failed to convince Anandoo, Raja, and Prema -all from Mahoba working as construction workers or maidservant to send their children to this school even after the promises of additional incentives from me? Why doesn’t the next-door Shakti Temple do something for education? And for that matter, why can’t the authorities of all temples make education as its prime goal?
Future of our religion and culture are no more in danger. Temples are not the needs of the day. India must compete must become the best to contribute to the expansion of education, skill, and knowledge. All its citizens without any discrimination based on community, castes, and gender must be literate and the majority must be well educated. Fortunately, many of our temples- Tirupati, Sidhivinayak, and huge number of them spread all over the country, are very rich. Why can’t the major portion of the collections from the devotees be used for high standard of primary and secondary education? It hurts any one when the news of corruption and misuse of funds of these temples make the headlines. And why religious Hindus can’t change the mode of expressing their obligation to the Givers by building schools or donating in scholarships for teachers for their advanced training and students and rather than offering crores worth of diamonds and gold to these temples and their gods? Why should the huge undisclosed amount go to Hundi rather than helping openly their own countrymen to get educated and to become more skilled? It is to be understood that the present mode of charity and donation creates more unwanted beggars and unscrupulous sadhus.
Let all the rich men from Rajasthan and Gujarat give preference to build and run primary and secondary quality teaching institutes for the have-nots with incentives such as employment instead of building temples and dharamsalas. India must provide some sort of skill to 100% of its children through compulsory trade training. Trade may be anything from carpentry, masonry work, plumbing, hairdressing, or dress stitching. Some seeds for entrepreneurships and innovative thinking must be sown at early stage of education. And now it must be private endeavour to start these trade schools. All those will be small temples and help in getting salvation after death as desired by most of us.
I am sure there would not be any objection to this change of mode of donations even from the gods and goddesses; and They will grant all their favours to donors without fail, may be more in value or volume.
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