Saturday, May 28, 2011

Haindava Keralam -Bride doom for Hindu priests in Kerala

Bride doom for Hindu priests in Kerala

The priest of a Hindu temple (santhikkaran in Malayalam) may be an intermediary of the Divine inside the sanctum sanctorum, but is not even considered a worthy groom outside it.

Hundreds of young priests in temples of South Kerala are in distress because no family is willing to give them a bride. “They are in a very sad situation,” said Akkeraman Kalidasa Bhattathiripad, president of the Yogakshema Sabha.

The reason is quite material. “Priests are officially equivalent to sweepers in the Travancore Devaswom Board’s scheme of things,” said Mr Radhakrishnan Potti, office-bearer of the sabha.

Thanks to the measly pay (about Rs 5,000 per month) and low official grade, priests don’t get suitable brides. “And desperate youth trying to find brides through marriage bureaus are getting cheated by the dozens,” added Mr Potti.

To resolve the sundry problems of Santhikkar, the sabha has also decided to set up a trade union of priests which will be given final shape at the fest.

“Priests don’t even have a welfare fund since they are not considered employees,” said Mr Potti.