A padayatra to create awareness against “discriminatory” rituals such as “made snana”, which involves devotees rolling over plantain leaves containing leftovers of the lunch served to Brahmins and ‘Pankthi beda’, the caste-based discrimination in serving of food in temples, was launched here on Monday.

Over the next three days, Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists and supporters will walk towards Udupi, gathering support for a ban on these practices.

Calling made snana “inhuman”, Veerabhadra Channamalla of Nidumamidi Mahasamsthana Math, Bangalore, said the ritual had no scientific basis nor was it defined or propagated by the Vedas. “In fact, rolling over leftovers can lead to skin diseases for the devotees. This is not our tradition,” he said.

He said there was no difference between “Ede Snana”, where devotees roll over food offered to the deity at Kukke Sri Subramanya Temple, and Made Snana currently practised. “Ede snana would be an insult to the concept of offering Prasada to the deity. It serves no purpose to the temple or devotees,” he said.

Launching a tirade against Vishwesha Tirtha swamiji of Pejawar Math for his support to “ede snana” and hesitation in banning “made snana”, the Nidumamidi seer said the Pejawar seer was “bending to the pressure exerted by upper castes.”

He refuted “attempts” of the swamiji to “justify” the ritual by calling it an inherent part of Tuluva and Dravidian culture. “Dravidian culture does not endorse or create inhuman practices or discriminate against castes. The rituals are the creations of Brahmins to control other classes and was in fact a sort of punishment meted out to lower classes to atone for their sins,” said Nidumamidi seer.

Countering arguments that say the practices were voluntary, the swamiji said generations of upper caste members had preached the “necessity” of the rituals, and this led to a situation where devotees, accepting it as blind faith, perform the ritual “voluntarily”. “It goes to show to what extent the upper castes have succeeded in brainwashing the devotees, and to make them believe that rolling over on leftover food is good for them,” he said.

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