The following article from Reuters is a follow up to a topic I have explored on various occasions in the past. Namely, how an inept Indian government is attempting to use the age old tactic of scapegoating in order to deflect attention away from its widespread policy failures. In the case of India, the target is gold. It’s a logical target for any crony Indian bureaucrat or Central Banker to go after. Wealth confiscation is a tried and true method historically used by corrupt elites to stay in power, and there is plenty of gold floating around the subcontinent. Easy pickings…or so they thought.
It appears some of the temples are now drawing a line in the sand, and are in fact refusing to provide details about their holdings. Other temples are a bit more compliant. From Reuters:
The central bank, which has already taken steps that have slowed to a trickle the incoming supplies that have exacerbated India’s current account deficit, has sent letters to some of the country’s richest temples asking for details of their gold.
It says the inquiries are simply data collection, but Hindu groups are up in arms.
“The gold stored in temples was contributed by devotees over thousands of years and we will not allow anyone to usurp it,” said V Mohanan, secretary of the Hindu nationalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad organisation in Kerala state, in a statement.
Guruvayur temple, in Kerala, one of the most sacred in India and boasting a 33.5-metre (110-ft) gold-plated flagstaff, has already told the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) it won’t divulge any details.
“The gold we have is mostly offered by the devotees. They would not like the details to be shared with anybody,” said V M Gopala Menon, commissioner of the temple’s administrative board.
The head of the Hindu nationalist main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Kerala state, V Muralidharan, said the RBI wanted to “take possession” of the gold and maybe sell it for dollars.
Sounds like a brilliant plan. Take wealth that was accumulated over thousands of years and sell it for an electronic unit of exchange that Ben Bernanke can create in infinite quantities with a single keyboard stroke. Can people possibly be this stupid?