First Dalit priest in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram – Marking a historic moment, the Travancore Dewaswom Board (TDB) is posting Yadukrishna of Chalakudi of the Thrissur district as the first Dalit priest. Yadu has broken the caste hierarchy and the taboo associated with it to serve the gods in temples of Kerala under the TDB.

We reported the previous day that the TDB will be appointing 36 non-Brahmins for the post of priests in temples under it, which include 6 Dalits — a breakthrough in the traditional Brahmanical hierarchy in the profession of priesthood in the State.

Yedukrishna ranked 4th in the written test and interview for the post of a Dewasom priest. The examinations were conducted by the Dewaswom Board Recruitment Commission.

The exam for the recruitment of priests was taken by 967 people, of which 441 were included in the list. The first batch of recruitment comprises 62 priests.

The appointment of Yedukrishna, said a source in the board, proved that priesthood was attained by karma and not by birth. The source recalled RSS pracharak late P Madhavan as the major proponent of the idea to cross the caste barrier.

Yedukrishna is from the Pulaya caste, a Scheduled Caste of Kerala nativity. His first posting will be in a temple under the Tiruvalla sector of the TDB.

Yedukrishna, son of Pulickal Ravi and Leela, is a second-year student of MA Sanskrit at the Kodungallur Kunhikuttan Thampuran College. Yedu used to be an assistant to a priest in a nearby Ayyappa temple when he was in the seventh grade of school. After passing matriculation from the Tripudikkunu school, he joined the Gurudeva Vaidik School of Anirudhan Tantri and learnt the nuances of doing puja.

While speaking to this correspondent over the telephone, Yedukrishnan said, “I’m elated on being posted as a priest in a temple under TDB. This is a victory of the late RSS pracharak P Madhavji’s Pallium declaration that priests were not born but karma made them one.”

Yedukrishnan said, “I’m really thankful to my teacher Anirudhan Tantri and the Gurudeva Vidyapeeth for teaching me the nuances of priesthood and pujas and also to my parents and brother in supporting me for this.”

Yedukrishnan thanked the Travancore Dewaswom Board profusely and the minister for Dewaswom of the government of Kerala, Kadakampalli Surendran, for having given this opportunity to serve the Lord in a temple under the board.

The State general secretary of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, KP Haridas, said, “We are really happy at this posting and this is a clear indication how RSS pracharak late P Madhavji’s vision is turning into a reality. He had first formulated this idea and strived for this in his teachings, writings and speeches. He took into confidence all those who were related to the issue, quelling all the opposition to such a move.” He added, “Though his vision took years to materialise, we are really happy as the torchbearers of what he left behind for society.”

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