Vivekananda &c.

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Tue Mar 10 10:01:40 UTC 1998

Palaniappa wrote:

> As part of the Shanan’s struggle for temple entry, "On May 14, 1897, fifteen
> Shanans, despite the efforts of temple custodians to prevent them from doing
> so, entered the Minakshi Sundareswara Temple at Kamudi and worshipped there.
> The temple’s hereditary trustee, the Raja of Ramnad, Raja M. Bhaskara
> Sethupathi, natural leader of the Maravan community and dedicated enemy of
> Shanan "pretensions", brought suit against the offenders, asking that they
> compensate the temple for the purification ceremonies undertaken after its
> defilement and that it be established that neither by sacred law nor by custom
> did Shanans have a right to enter the temple." (The Modernity of Tradition, p.
> 41)

Since you mentioned the case of the Nadars I can mention some practices
of the CSI (Church of south India). The (Christian) Nadars mainly are
CSI christians. They are well educated in general and hold high posts,
e.g., the very capable police officer Devaram who has received public
acclaim. There is a large concentration the Tirunelveli Dt.

However, do you know that there are separate burial grounds for P-CSI,
N-CSI and Dalit CSIs? P=Pillai, N=Nadar. They don't usually inter marry
either. The CSI hardliners are _very_ anti catholic and it intensified
after the appointment of the present Archbishop of Mylapore (his name
escapes my mind now) because he is a Dalit! They also have an elaborate
system of initials to their names (more the better) which I'll skip. How
ridiculous! The problem is that you do not get to know these usually.

The Kerala Syrian Christains can be equally (if not more) casteist.
~1500 years of Christianity doesn't seem to have done much! Prof
Narendran may correct me if I'm wrong.

Moral of the story: Casteism does not go away if people adopt
Christianity. There has to be a fundamental change in attitude. But
definitely the presence of missionaries helped foster these sentiments.
As did the DK, DMK etc (though now they are more of a headache).
Definitely the communists helped a whole lot. Also there are quite a few
Hindu leaders who have helped (Narayana Guru). Why condemn Hindus


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