Thursday, June 01, 2006


2. Caste No Bar for Hindu Priests in Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI, INDIA, May 30, 2006: (HPI note: This change is one of several being instituted by the newly elected left-wing DMK party in Tamil Nadu.)

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to issue an order allowing all persons in the Hindu community, with the required training and qualification, to become archakas (priests) in temples. The Cabinet, which met with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in the chair, took the decision based on the verdict given by the Supreme Court in 2002. The decision was taken after considering the opinion of the Legal Department and the Advocate-General on the issue. At present, only Brahmins are eligible to become archakas, though there are non-Brahmin archakas in village temples and in Amman temples in cities. The government order will mark the fulfilment of the last wish of social reformer and Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. A government order was passed in 1972 allowing all members of the Hindu community to become archakas when Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister then. However, it was stayed by the Supreme Court following an appeal against the implementation of the law. Periyar passed away without seeing his last wish fulfilled. Political parties have welcomed the decision of the present DMK government. Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani expressed happiness at the order. Subramanian Swamy of the Janata Party welcomed the DMK government decision, and said it had been a long-standing demand of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. At its recent conference at Erode, a resolution in this regard had been adopted, he said. However, the archakas must be trained and taught Sanskrit, he contended. Expressing happiness over the decision, state president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, R. R. Gopalji, requested the government to set up a college providing training in temple worship methods. PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the DMK government has fulfilled the dream of rationalist leader Periyar. The PMK leader requested the state government to initiate measures for the use of Tamil language for worship in Hindu temples. However, the Tamil Nadu Archakas Welfare Association opposed the decision saying it was against "the fundamental right to practice one's religion." President of the association, S. Arunachalam, said the decision on archakas was against the verdict of the Supreme Court and 'Agama principles.'


At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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