Kerala Creates History; Picks Non-Brahmins, Dalits as Temple Priests

Thiruvananthapuram: In a first, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has shortlisted 36 non-brahmins, including six Dalits, for the job of temple priests in shrines under it. The TDB has picked the candidates for the job of priests as per the reservation norms stipulated for the recruitment of government staff.

The move follows Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran’s instructions that merit list and reservation norms to be complied with while carrying out the appointments. The TDB temple recruitment board had conducted a written test and interview before preparing the list for appointment to the post of part-time priests.

A total number of 36 persons from non-brahmin communities were picked for appointment in temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, an autonomous body formed as per the Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act of 1950, came into existence in 1949. The TDB had never appointed non-brahmins as temple priests, though the demand for reservation for Dalits for the job had been on for quite a while.

The latest development has been welcomed with cheers by a majority of the people of Kerala. Many believe that the move comes as a laudable step in socially forward Kerala.