The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam(TTD) has decided to help save Hinduism by paying money to marry couples.
According to this report in the Hindustan Times dated October 21st,
Mass marriages of poor couples will be solemnised at the TTD Kalyana Mandapams from Feb 22,2007 in an attempt to save Hinduism and prevent poor Hindus from converting to other religions
The temple will give each bride a one-gram-gold mangalasutram as the Lord’s blessing, bear expenses up to Rs 3,000 and feed 20 guests of each couple. Holding 1 lakh marriages is likely to cost the temple a whopping Rs 40 crore per year, but its authorities are fine with it.
OK, maybe… just maybe ….I am missing something here but why is everyone so desperate to get couples married ?
First the Indian Government by suggesting a financial incentive of $1,100 for inter-racial marriages and now the TTD
Also, I may be naive and idealistic in this regard but are we really so desperate to save Hinduism that we have to start bribing people to get married?
I know that there are going to be people who will tell me to get real and say that there are lots of incidents where Christian preachers have converted people of lower Hindu castes to Christianity by promising a better life and we as Hindus are doing nothing wrong by paying for their marriage – to which I say “Just because we do what the other folks are doing, doesn’t make it right !”
Hinduism has a long history of being the most tolerant religion in the world and never having forced conversions. Hinduism definitely doesn’t need any saving. What it needs is people who are proud to be Hindus – proud of their heritage and religion without being fanatics.
What Hinduism needs is for more people, including Hindus themselves to understand their religion more and be proud of it’s uniqueness and diversity.
If the TTD truly wants to help save Hinduism then it should use the Rs 40 crores (and even more if necessary) to improve the skills of these lower caste poor people to teach them to be self sufficient and have a better standard of living.