What Ails Our Hindu and Jain Temple of Las Vegas
It has been over twenty years since the inception of the Hindu and Jain Temple of Las Vegas. The two decades have been a lost opportunity to make the Temple a sacred, harmonious, and revered place of worship. The Temple has been managed and run by trustees who have run the Temple for many years (Old-timers) and some who are recent (Rebels.) Old-timers were probably imperfect, inadequately dedicated, and lacked meaningful rapport with the Las Vegas Hindu community. Still, they had a vision and invested their resources to educate the future Hindu generations. The Rebels have been irresponsible at best and amoral at worst, as evidenced by the report of “Blatant Disregard” of the temple by-laws and recent actions.
Since the December 2023 selection of the Executive and Advisory Committees, there has been a considerable disagreement and quarrel between the Old-Timers and the Rebels. The dispute may result in lawsuits and worse. Meanwhile, the situation is worsening because of the Rebels’ various actions.
The Rebels are using a temple counsel to defend their misuse and abuse, presumably at the Temple’s expense. The community must be assured that no temple funds will be utilized to defend personal abuses and actions by any trustees. Unless a lawsuit is a liability of the Temple, it is an individual problem.
Why unseated trustees, a trustee who resigned, and committee members are still running the Temple makes no sense. The illegitimate trustees who have blatantly ignored by-laws are still running the temple website and ordering pujaris to follow their directions. They have kept control of all the social media instruments. It’s time the Rebels hand over the Temple property, including media sites, to the new administration.
The disqualified trustees organized the recently held Ram Mandir inauguration event without consultation and approval by the legitimate trustees and the incoming Executive team. More importantly, the event was co-sponsored by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, an overseas arm of the RSS, which is part and parcel of the BJP, the ruling party of India. The donations were directed not to our Temple but to an outside account. Both of these facts make the actions of the organizers of the event unethical and illegal. Celebrations and ceremonies regarding the Ram Temple are grand, but to keep religious harmony, the Temple should not involve non-religious organizations, especially controversial ones. The Hindu Society of Nevada, the parent organization of the Temple, is tax-exempt, so the Temple is supposed to be solely religious.
The Rebels have spent a lot of money without cost-benefit analyses and input from other trustees or the community and held a sham Town Hall Meeting. In general, they have been more autocratic than the Old-timers.
Some of the Rebel trustees have been supporting the ex-pundit of the Temple because they do not like current pujaris. They have been active behind the scenes to malign Shashtriji and Vishnuji.
It is time to tell the Rebels you are illegitimate, devious, and destructive. Please go away, at least for a while.The Rebels should retreat and give the new administration, with years of combined business, spiritual activism, and community involvement experience, a chance to prove themselves again for the good of the Temple and our community. Give them a couple of years to see if they can achieve the following within the next two years.:
- Institute general membership and hold an election of Executive and Advisory Committees by the general body. Hold a general body meeting once a year and report on the State of the Temple.
- Engage an experienced, professional, and independent entity to rewrite the By-Laws and Standard Operating Procedures as soon as possible. Implement the new by-laws after approved by the trustees within one year. Make sure the by-laws are not amendable easily.
- Get revenues, expenses, and accounting for 2024 audited by an outside (non-Indian) professional auditing company. Publish yearly profit and loss and financial statements within six months of the year-end.
- Assign one executive committee member to supervise and handle the day-to-day affairs of the pujaris. Assign one trustee to manage Pujaris and work with the supervisor.
- Prepare a line-item operating, maintenance, and capital budget before September 30 for the following calendar year. Write a process and follow how temple funds are approved and spent for significant maintenance and capital improvement for the temple premises.
It is vital to make the Las Vegas Hindu community feel welcome to the Temple and give them a sense of belonging. Let us have a temple we desire and deserve that makes us proud.
The article above is provided to vegasdesi.com by a well-respected long-term resident and an active community member who was there when the Hindu Temple was conceptualized and built. The author prefers to stay anonymous on such controversial issues.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above letter belong to the author and are not an opinion of or endorsement by vegasdesi.com. The editor is pleased to provide vegasdesi.com with an open forum for the community members to engage in issues impacting the small but prosperous local Hindu community. The above article and other information from the original submission have been edited for brevity and relevance.
NO MORE COMMENTS ARE ALLOWED ON THIS ARTICLE. SOME ARE BECOMING REPETITIVE. THE COMMUNITY HAS SPOKEN FOR AND AGAINST ISSUES CONCERNING THE HINDU AND JAIN TEMPLE OF LAS VEGAS. THIS SITE IS NOT A DEBATE FORUM. HOWEVER, THE TRUSTEES HAVE RECEIVED, THROUGH THIS FORUM, CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND PRAISE ON MANDIR CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIR. MOVING FORWARD, LET’S HOPE FOR THE BEST FOR OUR ONLY HINDU TEMPLE AND OUR HIGHLY PASSIONATE & EDUCATED HINDU COMMUNITY.