After they received the posting orders from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin as ‘archakars’ or priests in temples of the state on Saturday, it was a long decade-old wait getting fulfilled for the 24 ‘acharkars’ who are non-Brahmins.
The 24 trained non-Brahmin archakars or temple priests include 5 Dalits. Tamil Nadu state government sources said that it is a revolution being brought into the society by the DMK government.
A woman,’Odhuvar’ (a scholar who sings Tamil devotional hymns) was also given posting orders. The posting order handed over by Stalin was a poll promise of the DMK government and one of the revolutionary steps being taken by the government in its 100 days of office.
Yoganathan, who was appointed as a priest in a temple at Tirupur district, told IANS, “I am thrilled. This is a long wait that has been fulfilled and I don’t have words to express to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin for having fulfilled the promise he made before the election to us.”
The 24 archakars are part of the 200 strong non-Brahmins who had taken a one year ‘Junior saiva archakar’ course which is as per the traditional course in temple priesthood.
It may be recalled that in 2007, it was the Karunanidhi government that had launched the course of archakars for all Hindus irrespective of their caste. The course was conducted in 6 temples under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments(HR&CE) Act.
However, owing to a legal tangle the then DMK government under Kalaignar Karunanidhi could not appoint the trained non-Brahmin priests in temples.
The trained archakars fought the case in courts of law and finally in 2015 , the Supreme Court gave a verdict in favour that they be posted as archarkars in temples of Tamil Nadu.
After the landmark move, the government is planning to provide training for women to become archakars in temples and the state HR&CE Minister, P.K. Sekar Babu said that the government has taken steps regarding training for women as archakars.