RELIGION TO THE RESCUE, Under the current international pandemic of COVID-19, in addition to health care facilities, the primary causes of concern are the economic slowdown, especially in the developing nations, and the fear of a great global economic depression post this pandemic. Being one of the developing countries, this pandemic might leave us with an absolutely distressed economy and high rates of poverty, which might result in starvation, unemployment and so on. Thus the PM of India has established the “PM Cares” fund in expectation of monetary support from the citizens. Luckily this fund has met with positive and enthusiastic support from the people but still, is it enough?
Why Do We Need More Funds?
With health care facilities, PPEs, N-95 masks, medicines, rapid testing kits, free rations to the needy and so much more to look into, we need much more than what we already have. India is a country of 1.3 billion and our current health care facilities, number of hospital beds, isolation and quarantine centers are definitely not enough to tackle a community spread i.e. Stage 3 of the COVID-19. We might need to construct hospitals, get ventilators, beds and much more arranged to be ready for the Stage-3 and all of this require immense amount of money. So the question is- where is the money?
Where is the Money?
RELIGION TO THE RESCUE, There’s a prominent source that we can rely on for financial help – our religious places. India is a land of temples and most of them have collected large amounts of wealth of the centuries, in the form of gold, silver, precious stones and cash. In the form of donations, these temples have collected huge sums, majority of which have been stored carefully with very less expenditure, as compared to the total wealth, on daily and ceremonial rituals and other programs. So why haven’t we thought about using the money stored for centuries?
Richest Temples of India
RELIGION TO THE RESCUE, Here’s a list of some of the richest places of worship in India which can easily help the country recover from a severe economic backlash (if it happens in real).
- Padmanabhaswamy Temple- Located at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the shrine of Lord Padmanabhaswamy possesses six vaults of gold that’s estimated worth is around $20 billion. The idol of Mahavishnu is made of solid gold and is worth around 500 crores INR. The wealth of this temple is contained in the golden crowns, bows, ornaments, sack full of diamonds, antique jewellery and the 18 ft. long gold necklace of the divinity.
- Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Temple- The diety of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, is ornamented with 1000 kgs of gold and the temple earns around $11 million annually from selling laddus. Also the temple receives yearly donations of around 650 crores INR.
- Shirdi Saibaba Shrine- With gold and silver jewellery of approximately 32 crores INR, this shrine of Sai Baba at Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra, receives annual donations of around 360 crores from visitors of all religions. Additionally it has silver coins worth 6 lakhs INR.
- Vaishno Devi Temple- The second most visited temple in India, this temple located at Katra in Jammu collects annual donations of about 500 crores INR.
- Sidhivinayak Temple- Located at Mumbai, Maharashtra, the annual income of this temple ranges from 48 to 125 crores INR. The dome of the shrine of Lord Ganesha is coated with 3.7kgs of gold.
What’s the problem then? Why aren’t we utilizing the unused wealth collected at these places for emergency use? The only answer is, blind faith of some people on the idea of religion over human life.