Open Letter to Hindu Mandir Trustees by Community Members
For the last couple of years, the active members of the Hindu community have been experiencing a deterioration in mandir services. Many have been talking in private circles of friends and acquaintances; however, now some members are taking the concerns directly to the Board. The group is dismayed with the current management and requesting the Board for urgent corrective action. The group has written an open letter (see below) and is gathering signatures from the concerned community members.
Chairman and Board of Trustees, Hindu Temple and Jain Center of Las Vegas
Dear Chairman Jagdish Mehta,
We, the active members of the Hindu community and prior regulars at the Hindu Mandir, would like to bring to your attention the ongoing operational issues concerning the Mandir. Some of us were there in April 2001 at the inauguration and dedication of the Hindu Mandir in Las Vegas for the Hindu community. Since the beginning, we have seen ups and downs in our magnificent Mandir’s day-to-day running and management. However, for the past year, especially since the arrival of the new management team, the Mandir has been going only in one direction, DOWN to an unknown abyss with no prosperous future in sight.
As per Article II of the constitution of the Hindu Society of Nevada, one of the purposes of the Hindu Mandir is “To foster a closer relation with the members of the Hindu and Jain community in the Las Vegas area and the State of Nevada.” However, for the past couple of years, the Hindu Mandir has been everything except for the above purpose.
Mandir has been going in a disastrous, unyielding direction to nowhere. With no leadership aptitude, prior management experience, and despicable people skills, we are disappointed with the current management’s inept and divisive decision-making abilities. Undoubtedly, the weekly attendance at the Mandir is at an all-time low, with no enthusiasm among the attendees, all due to the management’s fatuous behavior.
Only on special auspicious occasions do some of us reluctantly attend the Mandir festivities. However, there is a credible competitor – Krishna Temple. During the recent Janmashtami celebrations, Krishna temple was packed with over 300 devotees and raised copious donations.
The only positive vibe comes from the two exemplary, talented priests. However, the politics among the management and a few Board Trustees have created a toxic environment through their unwarranted control of the priestly activities.
Below are some of our concerns that must be addressed soon to bring the community back to the Mandir.
Sunday Luncheon – In the past, our local Hindu families voluntarily sponsored lunch for the attendees. The disastrous decision by the current management to charge $10 for lunch is insulting and demeaning to the attendees. Since the new lunch charge started, the attendance has decreased drastically as most of us and probably others are disappointed with the decision.
Puja Fees – It is shocking to see the management arbitrarily raise the puja fees to a level that is not affordable for many of the struggling local members of the Hindu community. Some of the puja fees have increased by over 200%. As per the current economic data, Inflation is running under 7%.
Kitchen Usage Fees for Public Events – The current administration’s despicable decision to start charging kitchen usage fees is deplorable, even if the kitchen usage is for open public events. Some prior event sponsors who brought volunteers to prepare food for the community events were appalled by this new charge. Instead, the sponsors got the food catered by the local Indian restaurant where the kitchen prepares vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes in the same cooking utensils, especially nan bread from tandoor where savory chicken tikkas are grilled.
Mausoleum or a Cenotaph – Many community members are furious with constructing a Cenotaph, an empty tomb facing the parking lot on the West of Mandir. With donations down, this addition to the Mandir is a complete waste of donors’ money. There’s no Mandir in the world where visitors are greeted by a Cenotaph-style monument at the entrance from the parking lot.
Priests Day Off – Mandir should not force or dictate terms to our well-respected priests on what to do during their weekly days off. Every individual has a right to enjoy their time off or take a second job to support their family. What priests do on their days off is their business; whether to spend time with family and friends, drive Uber, or do private puja at someone’s home, it’s their choice.
In conclusion, no community ownership is left due to incompetent management, and it’s high time to bring in a new team of volunteers with a contemporary vision and dedication to serve. The Mandir needs someone with six C’s – Committed, Confident, Considerate, Compassionate, Competent, and Cooperative, all for delivering an impeccable religious and spiritual experience to our growing Hindu community.
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