Saturday, Aug 13, 2022
Outlook.com
Jagannath Temple

Lay Of The Lost

Missing key to a temple storehouse opens a Pandora’s box

Lay Of The Lost
Stolen? | Photograph by Sanjay Rawat
Devotees suspect the temple wealth may have been pilfered
Lay Of The Lost
outlookindia.com
2018-06-15T12:05:02+05:30

A lost key has much of Odisha up in arms. There has been no let-up in demonstrations, protests and collective breast-beating since the media broke the news that the key to the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar, the storehouse of the incredible wealth of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, had been lost. Curiously, the temple administration knew about the missing key in early April when preparations were being made to enter the Ratna Bhandar to assess the safety of the structure as per the orders of the Orissa High Court, but no FIR was filed nor an administrative inquiry ordered. All that was done was to try preventing the news from making it to the media. Only when it became public knowledge in the beginning of June that the government ordered a judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge—perhaps the first time a Commission of Inquiry was set up to probe a lost key in this country.

The government’s less-than-transparent move has predictably raised suspicions in the minds of crores of Jagannath devotees that some of the immense stock of gold and diamond ornaments in the Ratna Bhandar may have been pilfered. In fact, there has been no stock-taking of the wealth inside since an inventory was made way back in 1978 even though the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, 1960, under which the state government took over the management of the temple, stipulates that the Ratna Bhandar must be opened every six months and a fresh inventory made every three years when a new temple management committee takes charge.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.