Thiruvananthapuram: A controversial order issued by the Guruvayur Devaswom requiring only Brahmins to be engaged for preparation of food during the temple festival from February 14 to 23 has been revoked, thanks to the urgent intervention of Dewasom minister K Radhakrishnan. The temple authorities had floated a tender for the work, which includes the preparation of vegetables, cooking as well other arrangements relating to distribution of food during the festival.
Temple authorities said it was customary for them to issue such tenders every year for the festival season and that the requirement of exclusive Brahmin participation was not new. However, the publication of the tender this year raised a storm as leaders in various spheres assailed the move as outlandish in a state ruled by a leftist government.
Kerala has several temples where the main priest is a non-Brahmin and probably belongs to a Dalit community. As per the Guruvayur Devaswom stipulation, not only cooks and all those engaged in the activity, but their assistants must also belong to the Brahmin community. The social media was on fire, with activists posting derisive comments about Kerala’s reformist credentials and the irony of such incidents taking place when a CPI-M government was ruling the state.
This prompted urgent action by the minister, who ordered the authorities to issue new tenders without the controversial stipulation. Accordingly, all tender proceedings so far have been cancelled.