Nation Current Affairs 14 Jun 2021 Women can become pri ...

Women can become priests: TN Minister's announcement finds both support, opposition

PTI
Published Jun 14, 2021, 7:08 pm IST
Updated Jun 14, 2021, 7:54 pm IST
On Saturday, PK Sekar Babu had said that many women had expressed their willingness to serve as priests in temples
Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu. (Photo: pksekarbabu.com)
 Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu. (Photo: pksekarbabu.com)

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu's announcement that women could also be appointed as priests in temples following stipulated training has found both support and opposition.

The BJP Tamil Nadu unit president L Murugan has said that from ancient days women had expertise in "Agama shastras" and they are already performing pujas in temples such as the Adiparasakthi shrine at Melmarvathur near here.

 

One could see the influence of Paancharatra Agama mode of worship in Andal's pasurams, he said. Agama shastras contain norms related to pujas and other rituals in temples besides guidelines on structure, construction of shrines and Paancharatra is one of the schools.

Also, the Saffron party welcomed the move to appoint people of all communities as priests and Murugan listed several temples where people representing various castes are already officiating as priests apparently hinting that the proposal was not entirely new.

"We would like to remind people that since ancient times, in our Tamil culture, people of castes and women have been priests in our temples," he said in a statement.

 

On Saturday, Babu had said many women had expressed their willingness to serve as priests in temples and they could be appointed to that position following training in "Agama shastras," and this matter has come to the attention of Chief Minister M K Stalin.

He also said that aspirants belonging to all Hindu communities would soon be appointed as priests in temples. Welcoming the move, BJP Mahila Morcha national president and MLA, Vanathi Srinivasan said the proposal to appoint women should be taken forward in a constructive manner with the cooperation of devotees, temple administration and after imparting appropriate training to aspirants.

 

She said Vishwa Hindu Parishad had been for a long time training people belonging to all castes to become priests. The RSS fully supported the move, the BJP legislator from Coimbatore said, adding, "for the Sangh family eradicating untouchability is a way of life and not an empty slogan."

Rama Ravikumar, who had for long worked for various Hindu outfits in various capacities, while welcoming the proposed appointment of people belonging to all castes as priests, opposed the role of priests for women as it is "against tradition."

 

Ravikumar, who had been associated with outfits including the RSS's Hindu Munnani and founder chief of Hindu Tamizhar Katchi, said, "if you accept this, tomorrow they will demand allowing women in Sabarimala temple and there will be no end to it and eventually it will lead to chaos."

Asked about temples that already have women as priests, he said, "these are not temples run as per Agama Shastras." T R Kannaji, who is involved in spiritual activities of several temples, said it is "impractical" to have women as priests, adding most women themselves would not prefer being a priest. Social media also saw posts both favouring and opposing the proposal.

 

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