Should we stop making donations to temples?

Outlook magazine has a story on the temple-a-thon of Amitabh Bachchan and his family before and after Abhishek‘s wedding with Aishwarya Rai. The key point is that the growing ritualism of Big B is a travesty of his father Harivanshrai‘s legacy, whose line in Madhushala read:

One whose inner fire has burnt all holy books
One who has demolished all religous places—temple, mosque or church
One who has cut himself free of the clutches of the pandit, imam and priest
He alone is today welcome in my Madhushala

But the real icing are the “intellectuals” quoted in the story. And they stick their knives into AB quite deeply.

Kiran Nagarkar, writer: What do we make of his grand donations to temples? That he is covering his front and back. But God doesn’t give any insurances.

Mrinal Sen, filmmaker: The ritualism of so many temple visits and marrying trees is ridiculous. It’s shocking that a person of Amitabh Bachchan’s stature should be indulging in this.

Paritosh Sen, artist: Amitabh Bachchan has set a dangerous example by displaying superstitious beliefs. Because of who he is, the public watch and believe that much more.

Sunil Gangopadhyay, writer: The family gives huge donations routinely to temples. Any sane person would donate money to charities instead.

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, poet: When they fall ill, why don’t they just go to an ojha? Why do they go to a doctor?

Rajendra Yadav, writer: They are busy collecting certificates from the various gods and goddesses. It shows a deep insecurity within.

Prabhash Joshi, veteran journalist: He has never been a symbol of a progressive India. he ha left acting far behind to become an ambassador of the market.


Taking off from a couple of the quotes, is it futile to donate to our very rich, and often very corrupt, temples? Do charities do a better job of reaching out to the poor and needy? Is being seen at, and donating at a temple really a sign of insecurity? And is a son dutybound to protect in real life his father’s artistic legacy?