In times of national crisis, we often hear from liberals and those under the influence of Secularism that it would be better to construct hospitals than Temples. An attempt is made to portray the resources invested in Hindu Temples as a wastage when these resources could have been spent on other avenues. Under ordinary circumstances, apart from hospitals, much hue and cry are raised that the resources could have been allocated to the construction of schools instead.
Despite the fact that the construction of Temples and building schools and hospitals are not mutually exclusive, a dedicated attempt is made in order to guilt-trip Hindus. However, as it turns out, apart from the exhaustive social work that Temples are involved in, during times of crisis, they are at the forefront of making donations to institutions in order to combat the crisis. The Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic has been no different.
In the wake of the crisis, numerous temples across the country have come forward to contribute generously, both in terms of food and welfare, to help the country. Despite their great contributions, they hardly ever receive the credit and as a consequence, a myth has spread that Hindu Temples do not contribute enough to charity. This, of course, has nothing to do with reality. Therefore, we decided to compile a list of Temples and Hindus associated with prominent Mathas and institutions who have come forward to assist the country in these tough times. This is by no means a comprehensive list as there are numerous small Temples that are contributing to the battle against the Chinese Coronavirus in their own way.
The Kanchi Muth has donated Rs. 10 lakhs each to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The Muth said in a statement on the 21st of March, “An amount of Rupees Ten Lakhs each was contributed to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund & Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund on behalf of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam as part of contribution to relief measures and support for those affected by the Corona Virus(Covid-19).” It added, “Kanchi Math representatives handed over the contribution to the CM’s Public Relief Fund to the Chief Minister in Chennai today. A Demand Draft has been sent today to the PM’s Relief Fund. Kanchi Math has been organizing special prayers for relief from this pandemic.”
Mahavir Mandir Trust
The Mahavir Mandir Trust in Patna has donated Rs 1 crore to the CM Relief Fund for fighting Covid-19 pandemic in the state. The Trust’s secretary Acharya Kishore Kunal said: “Our main motive is to strengthen the government’s plan to recover from the catastrophe and provide food to the poor people.”
It is the same trust which had announced in November last year that it would donate Rs 10 crore to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. “We have already allocated Rs 10 crore on behalf of the Mahavir temple Nyas in Patna to be donated to build Ram temple in Ayodhya. Once the construction of the temple begins in Ayodhya, we will donate Rs 10 crore”, Acharya Kishore Kunal had said.
Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir
The non-gazetted staff of the Vaishno Devi Mandir in Jammu and Kashmir donated one day’s worth of their salaries to the state’s relief fund. The gazetted staff donated two days’ worth of their salaries for the same. Furthermore, on the directions of the vice-chairman of the Board, Girish Chandra Murmu, ration kits were distributed among the needy section of the population in Katra Basti. The Shrine Board has also made available its Asshirvaad Complex to the district authorities, which is capable of housing 600 beds.
Mahamaya Mandir Trust
The Mahamaya Mandir Trust in Chhattisgarh has donated Rs. 5,11,000 to the Chief Minister’s relief fund. Furthermore, the Trust has also contributed a sum of Rs. 1,11,000 to the Red Cross Society in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis.
Shri Somnath Trust has contributed Rs. 1 crore to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s relief fund. Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel is the chairman of the trust. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani are members of the trust as well.
Ambaji Mandir has donated Rs. 1 crore and one lakh to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. In addition, the Mandir Trust has also begun distributing food packets among those affected the most by the lockdown and has made preparations for their food.
Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust
The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi (Ahmednagar), donated Rs. 51 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in Maharashtra. In addition, the SSST is providing free food to all patients and their relatives at the Shri Sainath Hospital, Shirdi Orphanages, old age homes, a school for deaf and dumb, destitute and needy, police personnel and others through the Shri Sai Prasadalaya.
Devasthan Management Committee, Kolhapur
The Devasthan Management Committee, Kolhapur, Maharashtra which administers a string of temples, donated Rs 2 crore through the famed Mahalaxmi Temple. “An amount of Rs 1.50 crore has been given to the CMRF, while Rs 50 lakh will go to the Collector for enhancing various medical facilities in the district to tackle Coronavirus,” the Trust”s Assistant Secretary Shivaji Salvi said.
Yoga-Guru Ramdev has announced that he will contribute Rs 25 crore to the PM’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), which has been set up to combat the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, all employees of Patanjali and Ruchi Soya will donate their one day salary to the fund, collectively amounting to Rs. 1.50 crore. Ramdev also said that the premises of two of his institutions in Haridwar and his ashrams in Kolkata, Modinagar (Uttar Pradesh) and Solan (Himachal Pradesh) will be given for the treatment of coronavirus patients. About 1500 patients can be kept in isolation in these facilities combined. The food will be provided by Patanjali.
Seven Swaminarayan Temples across Gujarat cumulatively contributed a total of Rs. 1.88 crore. Furthermore, food is being distributed and five hundred rooms have been provided for isolation by various Temples run by the Vadtal Swaminarayan Temples across Gujarat.
Food distribution, 500 rooms of Dharamshala at Vadtal, Kheda district for Isolation being done by various temples run by Vadtal Swaminarayan Temples across Guharat … pic.twitter.com/X71EE3zkvm— नंदिता ठाकुर (@nanditathhakur) March 29, 2020
Mannargudi Jeeyar Swami
Jeeyar Swami, who is camping at Srirangam, is operating with a small staff of 2 people and gets food cooked on contract. As of now, he is getting food cooked for 200 people at the Matham’s premises and uses his personal vehicle to travel and distribute food. Sri Chendalankara Sampath Kumara Ramanuja Jeeyar is a Sri Vaishnava sannyasi and the pontiff of the Mannargudi Chendalakara Shenbaka Mannar Matha. Pontiffs of Sri Vaishnava Mathas are referred to by the title ‘Jeeyar Swamigal’. Jeeyar Swamigal is popularly known as the Mannargudi Jeeyar, after the town the Matah operates out of.
With the budget of Rs 1.5 lakhs, Swami reckons that he could help at least 200 people tide over this period of lockdown without going hungry. According to him, a plate of fresh rice and sambar or puliyodarai or curd rice can be served to 200 people, twice a day at an average cost of 17.5 rupees per plate. This includes cost of rice, tamarind, pulses, vegetables, staff salaries, packing material.
Rani Sati Mandir
The district authorities of Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan have built isolation facilities in 200 rooms of the Rani Sati Mandir in the district. Those suspected of being infected with the Wuhan Coronavirus have been shifted here. The decision was taken after four people had tested positive for the virus the previous week.
Shri Mata Mansa Devi Temple
On 21st April, the Shri Mata Mansi Devi temple in Panchkula in Haryana donated Rs 10 crore to the Haryana Corona relief fund.