As you can see, there's a mere re-wording of the above article. Typical of ToI to grab eyeballs by filling up spaces with such re-runs. Indian journalism has no ethical values, whatsoever.
This link .. gives a much more details analysis on how to understand this tax angle to this issue. Expense on worship of Hindu Gods and temple maintenance cannot be regarded to be for religious purpose "
The judgement can be downloaded via the Supreme Court of India web-site. I've read it and the Income Tax Tribunal is wrong. In the 1954 judgment, the Court ruled that religion is not just a matter of doctrine, it also includes
practices, and the prescribed rituals in Hindu puja are religious acts and therefore under the freedom of religion, Article 26 of the Constitution, cannot be regulated by the state.
In this case, it seems to be that the Income Tax Department says that the Shiva Sansthan is a religious, not a charitable institution, and therefore contributions to it are not tax-exempt, and the Tribunal overruled that saying
that pooja, etc., are not religious. This may help some Hindus fund their organizations, but it also opens up the specter of state regulation - the protection of freedom of religion will no longer apply, if the IT Tribunal
decision finds its way into the judiciary..."
Pooja also does not mean worship, it arises from Po +Jaayate. i.e by which pavitrataa grows or is born. So Pooja is a mechanism to remove your internal and external Mala (dirt). Removing that makes one pavitra and saatvicta grows. So it is not worship. To tis extent it is fine.
But the question is why should a religion (that is an alien construct of different land) get the preference for tax status and not Dharma based on Inidian ethos. That is what Hindus should fight for. In fact if because Dharma is not religion, all Dharma texts must be mandatory learning in schools, since now secularism can to b eased to by pass learning of India's internal knowledge and ethos. That I believe should be the real battle. In fact Dharma and the associated Samskrut should be made foundation of development, since it will not violate the secular principles, because Dharma is not religion"
Rajiv comment: I disagree. It is better to REPLACE the statement "Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life" with the accurate statement:
This issue is where S.N. Balagangadhara failed. He wrote one book many, many years ago. All it did was to say that "religion" comes from an earlier word that got distorted. But so what? How does that help us? Besides that is a well know point by zillions of westerner themselves. He NEVER defines dharma in term of positive qualities. He also makes the mistake of saying things like "Hindus (or maybe Indians?) lacked the notion of science", when he ought to have introduced the notion of adhyatma-vidya as inner science. Ditto for the claim that Hindus lack ethics when the point ought to be to explain how dharmic ethics differs.
His was the typical postcolonial critique of the West and its religion category, but like all post-colonialists to date, it was unsuccessful in replacing this with anything positive about dharma itself. In BD I explain that postodernists
criticize Western universalism without any alternative worldview to replace it with. This leaves a vacuum, and hence we have a generation of "intellectual morons" who are not grounded."