Sunday, August 12, 2007

#070, GLOBAL DONATIONS FOR EVICTING AND REHABILITATING SLUM DWELLERS?

Swami Vivekananda according to his lectures and writings loved poor people.

Today, I saw an advertisement in the New Indian Express, released by the Bara Bazar branch of the Ramakrishna Math seeking donations from public.

The ostensible noble purpose of collecting the donations (exempt u/s 35 of the Income Tax Act) is rehabilitation of slum dwellers.

There is a concurrent object of sending out (the word "evicting" may be more appropriate) the 50 slum dwellers from the site of the Bara Bazar Math, which the slum dwellers were occupying for a long time, for construction of the Bara Bazar Math.

The Ramakrishna Math already has a sprawling premises at Belur Math on the banks of river Hoogly, with temples dedicated to Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. They have 162 Centres all over the world. The questions which, therefore, arise are:-

1. Is one more Monastery necessary?
2. Is it reasonable to send out slum dwellers?
3. Would Vivekananda have himself appreciated displacing the poor, for building a memorial to him?
4. Had he been alive, would n't he have lectured for retaining the slum-dwellers in the existing premises and helping them with education, medi-care etc.?
6. Have the slum dwellers come forward voluntarily?
7. The Barah Bazar math was a rented premises, hired by the disciples of Ramakrishna from 1888 to 1893. During the period, Vivekananda was mostly out of the Math, according to his Complete Works and his performing tapasya at the Math. for long periods may not arise. Just for reviving rented premises of six years stay, will it be reasonable to expel the poor slum-dwellers?
8. Will it be worthwhile to collect global donations for raising buildings which are nothing but concrete structure? Buildings enrich the Cement and Steel Companies.
9. Why the Math. authorities are more interested in ritualistic worship, rather than working for the fulfilment of the objectives of its Great founders (Vivekananda)?
10. Are monks more important than and superior to slum-dwellers? Do they have any priority over poor in sharing land?

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