Christian marriage in Chennai Temple hall: Violation of protocols by secular state?

The sad state of the ancient temples of Bharat under the control of the secular state is known to many. Incidents of corruption in temples managed by secular government have become a matter of common occurrence in the last few decades. But recently, many incidents of breaking the practices of worship at temples has taken the situation to an alarming level, as the temples are in the danger of losing their sanctity and becoming tourist spots.

Recently, one of the ancient temples dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu in the Mylapore suburb of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, known as the Madhava Perumal Temple allegedly saw a Christian wedding taking place in the marriage hall owned by the temple, adjacent to the temple premises. The incident took place on 7th March 2017 when huge loudspeakers were placed in the marriage hall, disturbing the devotees of the temple who had come there to pray with a peaceful mind.

When contacted, locals living in the area surrounding the temple also alleged that wine and non-vegetarian food were served in the temple hall, breaking the temple protocols as even onions are deemed unfit to be used for cooking in Vishnu temples, as per the Saatvik diet prescribed by the aagamaas (religious scriptures) for preparation of prasaada in Vishnu temples.

They also accused that the temple authorities gave them a very rude response when questioned about this act of injustice breaking the temple protocols, which paved the way for a heated argument between the temple authorities and the devotees.

Argument between the worried local devotees and the temple authorities regarding this incident

HinduPost contacted the temple authorities to understand their view of the allegations by local devotees. We spoke to Mr. Sarvanna Kumar, the Executive Officer of the HRCE controlled temple. He said that the couple who got married were SC (Dalit) Hindus and even though the groom’s name was indeed displayed as ‘Charles’, his real name was ‘Yuvraj’ with ‘Charles’ being his pet-name.

The officer claimed that all allegations about temple sanctity being violated was just a conspiracy by ‘Brahmin vested interests’. He also said that the HRCE rules do not prohibit use of temple-owned ‘commercial property’, such as the marriage hall, by non-Hindus.

Notable Tamil actor and dramatist Sri. S. Ve. Shekher, who is also a localite living in Mylapore, in his Facebook post wrote about this incident and also stated that he has taken this incident to the notice of the HRCE Commissioner. Various Hindus across the state of Tamil Nadu have been expressing their concern over this incident on social media, and an email written by a devotee who visited the temple that day, asking for the help of Hindu organisations, has been widely circulating on social media.

Email of a devotee asking for the help of Hindu organisations in the matter

While the truth of the matter requires further investigation, the evidence at hand and weak explanation offered by the temple Executive Officer, suggest that the spontaneous protests by local Hindu devotees of Mylapore are not misplaced.

The following chart prepared by Temple Worshippers Society, a group working to reclaim Hindu temples, illustrates how Governments target only Hindu religious institutions.

Religious Institutions Hindu Muslim Christian
1. Scope of Religious Endowments Acts Like  Tamil Nadu Act of 1959 and A.P. Act of 1987 All Institutions including Temples, Mutts and Endowments Only Trusts and Endowments. Places of worship i.e. Mosques are not included. No Acts or legislations to regulate or control Christian Institutions or Trusts
2. Executive Officer Appointed by the Commissioner who is a Servant of the Government Appointed by non-Government Wakf Board No such appointments
3. Status of Executive Officer Government Servant Non-Government Person alone can be appointed No such appointments
4. Powers under the Acts General Superintendence and control of Temples, Mutts, endowments and their properties. Can Supervise only Wakf properties None
5. Religious Matters High level of interference in Hindu religious matters including daily poojas Interference in religious matters specifically prohibited None

The secular state has taken control of the temples of Bharat citing corruption and requirement for reforms, in order to improve the comfort level of the devotees visiting the temple, as the major reasons. But contradicting this claim, the government has been involved in practices affecting the sanctity of the temple and breaking the temple protocols. The greed of the government makes it view temples as a cash cow, rather than as a sacred place of worship.

It is high time for us to reconsider the presence of the secular state in our temples, in order to preserve the heritage given to us as a gift by our ancestors.


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About the Author

Paanchajanya
Yato dharmas tato jayah... Tweets at @paanchajanyaa
  • JayZ

    The xians keep pushing then they’ll quote the constitution when the tsunami hits.

  • கே மோகன் ஹைதராபாத்

    What the Hindu Pontiffs are doing. Why there is no word of protest. It seems organization like RSS only need to take such cause.

    • Sumathi Megavarnam

      y what r u doing , y dont u take it in ur hands…. if this happens to someone in your family will u wait for rss to come????

  • keshavan

    There are many ways to react to this. Allow the temple hall to everybody Hindu between a Brahmin & a Dalit Christian. I have attended several South Indian Hindu marriages of various castes & I have not been served non vegetarian anytime – except in Coorgi marriages maybe.

    • Sumathi Megavarnam

      Looks like you are another converted piece of S@$*

      • keshavan

        don’t get so worked up. you cannot change a thing with this attitude. if you end up with problems like high BP, you will lose your future too.

        • Sumathi Megavarnam

          thanks if it is a real concern even if not thanks on the Sarcasm

  • Saraswathi Vishwanathan

    Irrespective of the cast and creed, non veg should not be allowed, whoever it is either a mosque or a church or a Hindu temple each should respect the sentiment value of the others if they happen to step in to other s premises and value it

    • Sumathi Megavarnam

      What rubbish u hv commented

  • vamanan

    This is highly condemnable. Only Hindu marriages should be allowed in a marriage hall of a Hindu temple. I am sure that the incipient movement for freeing Hindu temples from the tentacles of the government that claims it is secular will get greater energy through this incident in Madhava Perumal temple, Mylapore.

  • HidayatRizvi

    This is what BJP have in stock for you. Chastity belts. Mechanic ‘drilled h0les in wife’s g enitals so he could seal them with a PADLOCK(chastity belt) when he went to work’ in Indore, MP a BJP ruled state.

    * Sitabai Chouhan had tried to kill herself with poison.

    * Medics discovered primitive chastity belt still in place

    * Husband arrested and police found keys in sock

    * Claimed he did it because women in family ‘strayed’

    She was brought into hospital after attempting to commit suicide with rat poison.

    But when nurses examined Sitabai Chouhan, they make a horrific discovery that was medieval in its barbarity.

    Four years ago, the housewife had been drugged by her husband Chouhan who then punctured holes with a needle on either side of her g enitals.

    He had carried out the agonising assault so he could seal her private parts with a padlock(chastity belt) when he went to work to stop her having s ex with anyone else.

    When she was admitted to the Maharaja Yashwant Raoin Hospital in Indore, India, the crudely-fashioned chastity belt was still in place.

    It was only removed when police tracked down her husband and retrieved the key. He had kept the keys in his socks.

    Head constable Chhaganlal said: ‘The nurses confirmed the existence of a small lock. It was only after the husband’s arrest that the lock could be opened.’
Chouhan said he had done this because several women in his family had ‘strayed’ in the past.

    Mrs Chouhan is being treated in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
 Her husband, meanwhile, has been charged with cruelty and voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
 Police described him as an alcoholic who was mentally disturbed. 
Mrs Chouhan married her husband when she was 16.
 She is said to have attempted suicide after her husband allegedly tried to r ape their eldest daughter.

    A chastity belt is usually a piece of clothing that can be locked to stop the wearer having s ex. The first recorded examples of their use is in the 15th century.

    But it is not a item completely alien to modern India. Human rights groups have reported their use in the conservative state of Rajasthan as recently as 2007.

    Gender rights activists say Indian women face a barrage of threats in India.

    Many of the crimes against women are a result of a deep-rooted mindset that women are inferior and must be restricted to being homemakers and childbearers.

    In addition, age-old customs such as payment of hefty dowries at the time of marriage and widely held beliefs linking a female’s s exual behaviour to family honour have allowed gender crimes to persist.

    Earlier this month, a dentist was reportedly arrested in Karnataka after his wife accused him of forcing her to drink his u rine because she refused to meet dowry demands..!.!..!.!

  • SM

    I think it’s coming to the time Hindus took back the Temples by any means.

  • SethuSubramanian

    Keep the religions apart. In marriage halls associated with Hindu temples only Hindus must be permitted to hold functions. The government must not indulge in freewheeling with respect to the use of facilities in Hindu temples. They have to pay attention to the sanctitiy of the place.

  • A N Sham

    Very unfortunate. This type of cheap mentally and attitude comes only in few converted christians. Instead of showing gratitude and maintain the sanctify they behave as though they own these places. The truth will take care down the line. People must take extra care to prevent all these mischief.

  • cswaminathan

    Mr. Hidayat Rizvi,
    By your statement what do you want to prove and establish ? Will you allow a Hindu marriage to be performed in the Mosque . When a Hindu marriage procession goes via a street where a Mosque is there the Muslims will shout and ask them to stop the nayanam
    and thavil sound because they think Mosque is a place of worship what do you say about this

  • Anantha Krishna

    The subject should be taken at national level, because, even in Karnataka state, to appease Minorities successive Government allot grant for their development activities of their Masjids and Churchs out of money collected in Hindu temples. Whereas the money collected in Masjids and Churchs are under their own control. Govt. pay meagre salary to temple priests and substantial salary to mulla and parish priest. Hindus should wake up and take up this issue at National level.

  • cswaminathan

    There are so many pending rape cases against Christian fathers and brothers . so far nobody has been charged