Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Dewaswom Board (TDB), which controls the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, has decided to appoint 36 non-Brahimns as priests in its temples. The number includes 6 Dalits. This is unprecedented in the history of recruitment of priests to the temples under the board.
The TDB conducted written tests and interviews for the recruitment of priests through its Dewaswom recruitment commission, which is a constitutional body just like the Kerala State Public Service Commission. The State’s Minister for Dewaswoms, Kadakampalli Surendran, while speaking to this correspondent, said, “I have given instructions to conduct recruitment of priests in the manner of the Public Service Commission recruitment through the Dewasom recruitment commission. All formalities including written tests and interviews were conducted to shortlist the candidates and the final list is now prepared.”
The minister added, “All the norms and reservations were taken into consideration when the final list was prepared, and this is a progressive move in the history of the State.”
BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekaran, while speaking to this correspondent over telephone from Kannur district, said, “This is a welcome move. It’s been years of toil of the RSS and other Hindu organisations, which led to the uplift of people from non-Brahminical communities to come forward and take priesthood as a profession.”
The BJP leader further said, “The role played by the late senior pracharak of the RSS, P Madhavan aka Madhavji, in promoting the study of temple rituals by non-Brahmins was the first revolutionary step in this direction and the Tantra Vidyapeeth formed by him at Aluva is one single place from where the non Brahmins were able to get first initiation into the area of temple rituals and pujas.”
Rajashekaran said, “It may be noted that Madhavan was from the first batch of RSS pracharaks from Kerala and was an upper caste person who spent his life for the study and uplift of the downtrodden in Hindu society. I am happy to note that his dream and vision are coming true.”
President of TDB Prayar Gopalakrishan said, “The board is determined to post priests from this list and it is a move, which will be a fitting tribute to the great social leaders of the State like Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamikal who had advocated a Kerala society devoid of casteism.”