MUMBAI: In a strange reversal of roles, some Jain temples in the city are requesting devotees to take a share of the donation worth crores they have received in the defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and use them as they deem fit. But there’s a catch: they want the amount back in a few months in new, legal notes.
Many neighbourhood temples are holding meetings with their local devotees and asking them to take anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 and return the amount next year.
“We have been asked by the temple trust to take an amount, even use it without interest and return the amount by April,” said a source.
Some of the temples are taking this route because not all the cash in their hands is from the donation box. Much of it is from the huge bids that wealthy Jain businessmen make to sponsor different pujas or rituals on auspicious occasions.
“It’s becoming difficult for most temples to manage the amount of cash they have collected in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes after the demonetisation. And they are all looking at their devotees as a means to help them,” said another source from a south Mumbai temple trust.
Many people argued this scheme could be a god’s gift for families who belong to the weaker sections of the society and need money to pay for the education of their children or as an instant investment in their business.
“Temples are giving money without any interest and are asking for it back only after 4-5 months. This amount can be used by people with immediate needs for different purposes,” said another trustee from a temple in Lalbaug.
What most devouts would be loathe to discuss is the fact that it will mean more running around for folks already harried by the demonetisation and many, especially the salaried with only one source of income, might face difficulties in explaining these sudden funds.