Friday, July 08, 2005

Socio Economics of building temples

As told in my earlier post and in a comment in subha's page, here is part1 of the email, i wrote to my friend on the socio economics of temples.
Apart from being a place of religious activity, the temples had a big socio-economic role to play. They doubled up with roles like, public meeting place, centre of education, the granary, the community centre in the communitist society. [A perfected form of communism and socialism which existed in India, much before the other two came.] So does the feasts of Car festival, Float festival were community events more than religious ones.

But before that, building of such huge temples also was a part of shrewd economic strategy.
The 8th to 12th centuries AD, were the time when most of these temples were believed to be built.

The demography of the the tamil nadu represented concentration of population along the cauvery delta, and some scattered around the palar, pennar, vaiga and thamiraparani, and the chief occupation being agriculture.
This means that the people of the region were employed from the aani[mid june], when the tiling of the land started, to aadi, when the sowing happened [the aadi pathinettu, or aadi perukku, is when the Tamil rivers are full, with the south west monsoons setting over their western ghat chatchment areas.]. After the weeding and other crop bringing measures, the harvesting happens by Jan [Thai pongal time].

Now, from thai to aani, the 6 months period, the whole population is going to be unemployed. This is when the administration had the challenge of utilizing the man power and providing employment. When people in rest of the world were mainly into attacking neighbours for providing employment and boosting the domestic economy [even for the latest armed conflict which we witnessed, this was told as one of the reasons].

The administration did the following.
1. Heavy taxing in the harvest months.
2. Compulsory community employment in the dry months with wages from the collected taxes.
3. Highly subsidised food during the sowing/nursing months.

This model of society was highly effective with everybody have defined roles to play. Interdependence of the elements of the community and balance in the society was maintained.

Now, for the compulsory community employment, the main activity was building temples, followed by building dams/bridges, business with neighbouring societies, strengthening of the armoury, compulsory education to qualify oneself for his role in the society and sports activities.

This is how the construction of temples had maintained the balance in the society and kept the people active. There was no devils workshop there.

Did we ever think, we have so many temples standing through all tough times, but we do not find royal palaces/forts/castles anywhere around, even 1 palace to 100 temples,?? So, were the administrators so self less?? Was temple and society a higher priority than building their own palaces??



At Fri Jul 08, 06:36:00 AM CDT, Anonymous rajesh said...

communism/socialism is different from what you say as 'communitist' society.

kopps class la adichukara mathiri adichuka vechudadha :)

At Fri Jul 08, 08:41:00 AM CDT, Blogger Chakra Sampath said...


Came here from AF's blog. Read thru' some of your posts and you hav got a nice blog here. Are you from Trichy? Do you live in UK now? I ask this as I am both. :)

Do drop into my blog when you find a minute.

At Fri Jul 08, 09:44:00 AM CDT, Blogger Ganesh said...

Hi nice man
Came to thro veshti thing ;)
like your ideas.
I guess we are few folks left with these
becoz being HIP is more important for some people than be original
visit my blog
I will blogroll you.

At Fri Jul 08, 02:45:00 PM CDT, Blogger RS said...

Interesting..I was talking about the same topic coupld of days ago. Religion has been so much part of our culture that maybe the kings felt that their glory can be more 'established' by art forms and temples. But it sure is something to ponder about..

At Fri Jul 08, 04:19:00 PM CDT, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

I think temples were places for key social activities. But having so many temples than proper social places (like park, schools etc.) makes me think that the kings were more "God" centered than "people" centered. Ofcourse, there should be no ambiguity here coz, the more Self-centered we are, more people friendly we will be.

At Sat Jul 09, 05:20:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Dei, Communism crux is that whole economy is controlled and the people are dictated what to do when to do how to do. Socialism is where the assets are primarily owned by the society. The communitist has both of these. Of course a point to point comparison will fail. So, as u said, naama adichukardhu we will have offline. We will relive those moments after 10 yrs. :)

Thanks for visiting Chakra, keep visiting. I have put my details in a comment in ur blog.

Thanks for visiting Ganesh. I too have blogrolled u. keep coming.

Yes, but can there be anybody who can control the urge to live in luxury?? There must be something that has seperated the decison makers and administrator from the business/economy of the land. That is why i dont refer to them as kings. They are more than normal kings where society had specific rules for all. Wanting to put this in a later blog.

Yes, we just find temples, not much of parks and schools. Also that temple is an entertainment place, place of learing, place of public gathering, place of royal durbars sometimes. Wanting to write abt this in a seperate blog


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