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Caste no bar to be Hindu priest

Title : Caste on bar to be Hindu priest
Author : The Times of India News Service
Publication : Times of India
Date : June 22, 1996
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,  Dec. 7. The landmark ruling  of  
Kerala  high  court  recently  that  a  trained,   priest 
belonging  to  any caste was eligible to be  appointed  a 
pries   has   been  hailed  by  all   the   major   Hindu 
organisations In the state.
The   full  bench  of  the  court  had  ruled  that   the 
appointment    of    priests   based   on    caste    was 
unconstitutional.  The  bench@h was  considering  a  writ 
petition  referred to it by a division bench  challenging 
the appointment of S. Rajesh as priest of the Siva temple 
in Kongarapilly.              

Petitioner  N.  Adithyan  had contended  that  no  person 
except a Kerala Brahmin had ever conducted a  pooja In  a 
Siva  temple. Mr Rajesh happens to be an Ezhava, an  OBC, 
but  he,  being a trained priest, was  appointed  by  the 
Travancore Devaswom Board.                          

The  petitioner  had argued that as per  section  24  and 
section  31  of  the Travancore  Cochin  Hindu  Religious 
Institution  Act,  the Dewaswom Board was  duty-bound  to 
follow  the  Precedent In the Hindu community.  Since  no 
non-Brahmin  priest  had  ever conducted  a  pooja  In  a 
temple, the appointment of Rajesh must be pronounced  In-
The   Hindu  Alkma  Vedi,  a  leading   Hindu   voluntary 
organisation   in    Kerala,  has  termed   the   ruling, 
"historic"  which  would  go  a  long  way  towards   the 
demolition of the decaying caste system. The chairman  of 
the  vedi, Swami Satyananda Saraswaty, said the  judgment 
which  was  not  a  day too soon  hod  the  potential  to 
engender brotherhood among various Hindu castes and  
regeneration of the community.

The  swami said many pseudosadhus had defiled the  
of worship and-brought a bad name to the Hindu community. 
Some  so-called  ashrams even  practised  castism  within 
their premises.        

Kummanom  Rojasekharan, a prominent leader of  the  
community,  while  welcoming the court ruling,  said  the 
ruling  would  hasten the making of a modern  Kerala.  He 
said  the ruling was the most important event  after  the 
Travancore  royal  declaration  of temple  entry  in  the 
thirties  which allowed all - irrespective of all  castes 
to go In and worship any temple In Travancore.

BJP  leader  P.P. Mukundan said his party  welcomed  the, 
court  orders. He said it was in fact an  RSS  pracharak, 
P.Madliavan,  who had set up the country's first  "tantra 
vidyalaya" on the bank of the Periyar 15 years ago.

Mr  Rajesh happens to be a co-worker of Mr  Madhavan  The 
vidyalaya trains youths for priesthood. It is a  six-year 
rigorous  course  open  to all the castes  of  the  Hindu 

A  leader  of  the All-Kerala  Brahmins  Association  who 
preferred  anonymity said he hailed the ruling but  could 
not   speak  on  behalf  of  the  association    without, 
consulting them.

This  is clear example that the RSS is not a  Brahmanical 
organisation.  In  fact, it shows that the  RSS  and  its 
curious  associates  are  working for Hindu  unity  in  a 
positive way.

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