No woman applicants for temple priesthood in Kerala

Representational image   | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S

Priesthood will continue to remain an exclusive male bastion in Kerala for some more time as no woman has sought appointment as priests in the temples managed by the State Devaswom boards.

No woman has approached the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar Devaswom boards, which have administrative control over the nearly 2,000 temples in the State, with requests for appointment. Incidentally, it appeared that there were no qualified women candidates as none has been formally trained in temple rituals and pujas at the two government-recognised thantra schools of the State.

The disinterest of women in priesthood stands in stark contrast with their counterparts in Tamil Nadu where many women have sought permission to perform puja in temples. P. K. Sekar Babu, the Tamil Nadu Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, had stated that women, if trained, could be appointed as priests in temples.

Incidentally, it appeared that there were no qualified women candidates as none had been formally trained in the temple rituals and poojas at the two government recognised thanthra schools of the State.

Minister’s view

Devaswom Minister K. Radhakrishnan said the issue had not been discussed as it did not come up for consideration in the State.

N. Vasu, the president of the Travancore Devaswom Board, said the agency had not discussed the issue as no woman had approached the board with such a request.

M. Nandakumar, president, Cochin Devaswom Board, said the board alone could not take a decision on the issue as the government had to decide on it in consultation with priests and other stakeholders. Usually, women do not enter the sanctum sanctorum of temples though women were the head priests at Mannarasala and Pambumekkattu temples, he said.

M. R. Murali, the president of Malabar Devaswom Board, said no woman had come up with such a demand.

Akhila Kerala Thanthri Mandalam, a collective of priests, which offers training programme for Hindu males in temple rituals, will hold an online meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.

S. Radhakrishnan Potti, the general secretary of the mandalam, said only men were trained in rituals at the institute run by the organisation.

‘All religions’

Confirming that no women candidates have been admitted to the thantra courses, Mullappally Krishnan Namboothiri, the working president of the Aluva Thanthra Vidya Peedam, said the government should strive to enrol women as priests in the all religions. Women empowerment and renaissance would become meaningful only when women are made priests in all religions and not temples alone, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:15:38 AM |

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