Caste, Gender and Politics in Kerala: Concerns in Temple Worship
Temples in Kerala have been all the time, amazing factors for their uniqueness in structure, art, rituals, tradition, customs, festivals, architecture, mural paintings etc. Regarding temple administration, there have been certain controversies existing from the formation of the Devaswom department or some years before its formation. Devaswom Boards are constituted for the administration of temples in the state and the members of these bodies are appointed merely on the basis of their political ideology and not of their belief in God or temple worship. Through historic struggles, the Hindu population of Kerala gained freedom of worship, but still, there are hurdles in preserving this freedom in the true sense. It is paradoxical that even at the 81st anniversary of the Great ‘Temple Entry Proclamation' and the centenary of Sahodaran Ayyappan's ‘Misra Bhojanam' (common dining), Kerala temples become centres of caste, gender-based discrimination to the devotees. This paper is an attempt to examine the nature of temple administration; the various issues existing in the temple administration like unhealthy political interference, corruption, nepotism mismanagement, favouritism, misappropriation of funds etc. The appointment of non-Brahmin priests in state-owned temples, restriction for women of a particular age group to enter and worship in Sabarimala temple, denial of entry to non- Hindus in certain temples etc. are the issues that widely discuss today.
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