Hindu seers and ascetics recently criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a cashless economy. Prime Minister Modi dropped a bombshell on November 8 by abolishing 500 and 1,000 rupee currency notes that accounted for 86 per cent of cash in circulation. According to Hindu traditions, any ‘dakshina’ or money paid to seers and priests is to be made in cash and supposed to be a secret.
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However, with Prime Minister Modi calling on the citizens to use digital modes of payment, the seers are worried that their income will dry up. President of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, apex body of Hindu seers, Narendra Giri, said the move threatened an age-old tradition.
“According to our tradition, whenever saints, priests or spiritual leaders are given food they should be given ‘dakshina’ in terms of cash or in kind. How can we stop this tradition? If Modi wants to end this tradition then he can do so. If he wants to end the culture of saints, then he can. He does not want any saints to remain in India and that the eternal tradition ends,” said Giri.
Meanwhile, some temples are trying to cope up with the aftermath of the government’s drive against black money as donations dry up. The priest of a local temple, Shyam Pathak, said the authorities were planning to install a card swiping machine soon.
“I think that a card swipe machine should be kept here as soon as possible so that things will be made easier for the devotees and we will also face less problems. A card swiping machine has not been installed yet but efforts are on to get it very soon,” Pathak said.