Stepping Beyond Casteism! Dalit Community Enter Village Temple For First Time In 70 Years
Under the Indian Constitution, all Indians are equal and must not be discriminated against in any respect. Despite our founding fathers laying out the longest handwritten Constitution in the world enlisting the rights of every individual, the country has constantly seen people being discriminated against on all grounds, from colour to caste.
One of the explicit ways discrimination has shown itself in the country is through the differential treatment of minority and backward groups in places of worship. Several historical satyagrahas have been marched to ensure oppressed communities get to offer their prayers without being discriminated against. Yet, it continues to be a harsh reality in many regions. Bringing a hopeful change in this systematic discriminatory practice, a Dalit community in Tamil Nadu entered the temple premises for the first time in 70 years.
Peace Talks And Permission To Pray
Its been over 70 years since India gained its independence, but the Dalit community in the Thenmudiyanur village of Tiruvannamalai district were still held back from practising their right to religion. The Muthumariyamman temple, home to the goddess Shakti, has been the place of worship for the local residents for over seven decades but has never seen a Dalit person enter the premises. For the longest time, they were denied entry into the temple. Trying to bring about a change in this, a team of officials led by Vellore Deputy Inspector General of Police, MS Muthusamy, and Police Tiruvannamalai district Superintendent K Karthikeyan held peace talks with the dominant caste members.
While authorities did not specifically mention that it is for the first time that Dalits are visiting the village temple, people belonging to the Scheduled Castes said that they are entering the shrine for the first time. For the first time in about 70 years, Dalits offered prayers in their village temple near here on Monday following ‘peace’ talks facilitated by the district authorities with dominant castes. Responding to the opposition to Dalit entry into the temple, the officials explained to the villagers that all are equal under the Indian Constitution and there must not be discrimination in any respect. According to a report by The Print, the issue was finally amicably settled, and the villagers came to terms with Dalit worship in the temples. Following the peace talks, villagers from the Dalit community entered the temple amid tight police security and in the presence of top district and police officials.
Setting Their Feet For The First Time In Decades
The villagers conveyed that this was the first time since the temple was established that the Dalit community was permitted entry. C Murugan, a Dalit resident, was quoted saying, “For about 80 years, Dalits could not enter the village temple. The district authorities, including police officials, together have given us a new liberation to offer worship. We thank the authorities and the government.” Overwhelmed to offer the prayers to their local goddess for the first time, the 41-year-old was glad to see the caste barrier disintegrate slowly and pave the way for reforms.
Another resident conveyed how she was thrown out of the temple years ago and can now proudly stand and offer prayers at the shrine. Additionally, the Adi Dravidar (scheduled caste) community have sought permission to offer pongal (annual harvest festival) in the temple. However, many sections have opposed this request, reflecting on how caste discrimination has not entirely been broken past.
Courtesy : thelogicalindian.com
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