Sabarimala Mel Shanthi: Devaswom Board plans to hold consultations with stakeholders to evolve consensus on reservation for Malayala Brahmins

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) plans to hold consultations with stakeholders to evolve a consensus on the contentious issue of reservation of Sabarimala Temple priesthood for Malayala Brahmins.

While a section of the non-Brahmin priests has moved the Kerala High Court seeking to quash the notification inviting applications only from the Malayala Brahmin priests, a few others have approached the board seeking to continue the practice.

“As the demand for continuing the practice and modifying it has come up, the board will discuss the issue. Changes in the temple practices can be introduced only after holding discussions with all the stakeholders concerned. The board is yet to decide on whom to be invited for discussion and when to hold it,” said N. Vasu, president of the TDB.

Regarding the ongoing litigation before the High Court, Mr. Vasu said the board would seek to maintain status quo regarding the priesthood. However, the board was bound to implement the court decisions, he said.

The court is likely to consider the case on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the board rejected the applications of six non-Brahmin priests who had applied for the posts of Mel Shanthis in Sabarimala and Malikappuram as they failed to meet the caste criteria.

“My application was rejected as I did not belong to the Malayala Brahmin caste. Earlier as well, my application was rejected on the same ground, though I am amply qualified to be appointed as the Mel Shanthi,” said C. V. Vishnunarayanan, one of the priests who had moved the High Court.

Akhila Kerala Thantri Mandalam, a collective of Brahmin chief priests, suggested continuing the temple practice regarding priesthood.

Priests from other Hindu castes have been serving in Bhadrakali temples of Vellayini, Mulankadakam and Kodungalloor. It’s also the case with the Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram. The centuries-old temple practices cannot be changed in one stroke, said Mandalam general secretary S. Radhakrishnan Potti.

Any change in the temple practices shall be introduced only after consultations with stakeholders, including the representatives of priests, vedic experts, judges, Devaswom boards, and the Hindu community organisations, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 4:39:24 AM |

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