‘Travancore temple entry decree enlightened people about untouchability'

Jayendra Saraswati, guru and chief of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, has urged the people to be aware of the oneness of existence, which has neither birth nor death, and avoid divisive thoughts.

He was speaking to a gathering of representatives of several Hindu groups, brought together by the Hindu Aikya Vedi in connection with the 75th anniversary of the Temple Entry Proclamation, here on Saturday.

Eschew discrimination

The pontiff said the erstwhile princely State of Travancore, by throwing open the doors of temples to people of all Hindu castes in 1936, had enlightened the people in all other parts of the Indian subcontinent about the evil called untouchability.

Even Muslims and Christians could now enter some of the major temples in the country if they professed they had faith in Hinduism. He said there should be no discrimination among people.

In this context, he criticised the Communal Violence Bill the Union government was considering to introduce in Parliament, which, he said, would create a “difference” between majority communities and minority communities in the country.

He said it was perhaps opposition within the Congress party itself that was delaying the introduction of the Bill. He visualised a world without conflicts on account of difference in religious faiths and the tendencies for conversion from one religion to the other.

Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, head of the erstwhile ruling family of Travancore who too addressed the meeting, recounted the sense of euphoria on the day of the Temple Entry Proclamation.

Those considered untouchables could from then on walk along the same street taken by the so-called high caste people, he said.

They could go to the same temples. All the gates of the Kowdiar Palace, where the royal family resided, were thrown open that day.

The entire palace ground was filled with people of all castes. There was a feeling of oneness all around, Mr. Varma said.

Working president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi K.N. Raveendranath presided over the function.

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