Dalits aspiring for upward social mobility are making a valiant bid to construct a temple of Lord Rama of their own in a remote village in Prakasam district as entry into a privately managed temple in the village is ruled out for them.
However, upper caste and other backward classes(OBCs) people in Vardhinenipalem village near Kondepi in Prakasam district, who are opposed to sanskritisation of Dalits, are in no mood to allow the Dalits to have their way.
Pouring out their woes, people in the Dalit hamlet say “we have been yearning for a temple in our hamlet for over 30 years as the only private temple managed by the upper castes is out of bounds for us. We are being ridiculed for going ahead with temple construction ignoring opposition from a section of people in the village.”
They very much need a place of worship to solemnise weddings and get-togethers on various social occasions, says a Dalit youth P.Ramakrishna from ‘Malapalle’ comprising 125 families. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which manages one of the world’s richest place of worship, has sanctioned ₹5 lakh and released part of the amount after assessing the progress of works.
Lauding the TTD’s initiative to provide training for interested Dalits to become priests, the Dalits wish to see a youth from among them as a priest.
“Come what may, we will go ahead and complete the temple construction before this month-end,” they say with determination.
The temple construction in the village had been cleared only after getting an order from the Village Secretary for its construction, explains Mr. T.Srinivasulu, a functionary of the Samarasata Seva Foundation, which has helped the Dalits access TTD funds for the purpose.