Hindutva dangers

August 25, 2000

The decision of India's University Grants Commission to introduce a degree course for the Hindu priesthood ("Liberals attack priests' degree", THES, August 11) is not only imprudent, but may have dire consequences for both the state and religion.

It is shameless that in a country where illiteracy and poverty are prevalent, scarce public funds should be squandered in meeting the spiritual needs of affluent caste Hindus.

Coming from a traditional Hindu home and as a lifelong student of the Hindu religion, I am shockingly aware of the ignorance of the so-called pundits masquerading as priests. But the answer is not for the government to train them at the taxpayers' expense for the benefit of a privileged few.

Private foundations, such as those of the Hindujas and others, as well as the wealthy Hindu temples and religious establishments, are the proper agencies for such spiritual indulgences.

Pratapaditya Pal

Los Angeles, California

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