Kerala makes history with large scale appointment of OBC, Dalit as temple priests

So, finally, Bharatiya Janata Party has identified the company it keeps in the Sabarimala issue and implicitly underscored its hidden agenda – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Nair Service Society (NSS). The BJP president Amit Shah openly acknowledged this during a highly inflammatory public speech in Kannur, Kerala, yesterday. It is no big secret that the BJP is a progeny of the RSS. But NSS? It is for the Nair community to decide whether they need this dubious honor. Time will tell.

Shah notionally called the Sabarimala agitation as a “struggle between the forces of faith and forces of the (Kerala) government”, but by invoking the NSS, he drew attention to his party, whose leadership in Kerala is heavily dominated by people from Nair community. Put differently, BJP  is actually hoping to ride the wave of caste sentiments by stoking the fire of inter-caste antipathies and animosities lying dormant in the Malayali society. In the Kerala context, what the BJP is doing is akin to carving up a corpse for a hearty meal.

This is an obnoxious agenda, to say the least, and it betrays spite toward Malayalis, a thinly veiled sentiment that often comes out from the Sangh Parivar writings and pronouncements on Kerala. The point is, Sanghis  simply cannot tolerate that Kerala has become so much advanced in social indices and occupies the No 1 position in the country, commended openly by the World Bank, and the credit for it goes entirely to the secular and progressive political forces in the state led by the communist movement.

The fact of the matter is that Kerala attracts migrant labour even from Gujarat, BJP’s citadel, because they earn better, live better and, most important, they are treated like human beings regardless of their caste and religion. Kerala exposes the so-called ‘Gujarat model’ to be a hoax and Shah’s fury and disdain is understandable.

The current Sabarimala stir is aimed at “upholding the patriarchal upper caste order.” I am thrilled that the CPM Politburo has hit the nail on its head by using this expression in its statement issued today in Delhi (text is reproduced below), thereby underscoring that the BJP is playing caste politics and it will be countered.

There is no more running away from the fact that what is unfolding in an assertion of caste power by brahminical elements who had dominated the society historically. It, therefore, challenges Kerala’s social formation and attempts to turn the clock by a century to the dark ages. This must be fought assertively and defeated.

Thus, the latest decision by the Cochin Devaswom Board to appoint 54 non-Brahmin priests including seven people from SC/ST community is a historic step. The board has never appointed so many non-Brahmins as temple priests before.

Taking to Facebook, Devaswom Minister and CPM leader Kadakampally Surendran noted that the appointment list was prepared following the Public Service Commission model of OMR test and interview by the Devaswom Recruitment Board.

(Kadakampally Surendran, Kerala’s Devaswom Minister)

“Merit list and reservation list were included in the appointments. In total, 70 priests are to be appointed. Among the 54 people who were listed from the backward castes, 31 are from the merit list. Only 16 people from the forward castes got selected in the merit list. Of the 34 people from the Ezhava community who got appointed, 27 are from the merit list. Of the seven people appointed from the OBC community, two are in the merit list. Of the four people appointed from the Dheevara community, two are in the merit list. One each from the Hindu Nadar and Vishwakarma communities have also been appointed,” Comrade Surendran noted.


Reproduced below is the full statement of October 28, 2018 by the CPM Polit Bureau on Amit Shah’s remarks:

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

Amit Shah’s Speech Condemned

“BJP President Amit Shah has challenged the Supreme Court order on the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple and incited his partymen to defy the verdict, in his speech in Kerala. In doing so, he has exposed the real
hand behind the violent protests against women’s entry into Sabarimala.”

“It is such incitement which has also led to the highly condemnable arson attack on the ashram of Swamy Sandeepananda Giri.”

“That the ruling party President so blatantly ridicules the SC judgement is in keeping with the RSS-BJP’s contempt for the Constitution and the Supreme Court. The threat of toppling the Kerala State Government if it
continues to uphold the SC judgement is another display of the anti-democratic, authoritarian attitude typical of Amit Shah.”

“The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) is confident that the people of Kerala will reject the regressive and disruptive politics of the BJP and the RSS.”

“The CPI(M) will expose throughout the country the anti-women stand of the BJP and its upholding of the patriarchal upper caste order.”

“The Polit Bureau appreciates the steps being taken by the LDF Government to stop violence and hooliganism by those claiming to oppose the Supreme Court judgement.”