Affirmative action or reverse discrimination ?
Just want to document this news item. This is something you will not read about in papers like “The Hindu” nor hear about it in the mainstream news media.
Chennai, Jan 26: The DMK government headed by chief minister M. Karunanidhi, well known for his atheist views, has ensured that no Brahmin is appointed as trustee in any of the major temples across Tamil Nadu. Perhaps this is the first time that the community, closely identified with priesthood, has been so comprehensively kept out of temple administration. While the norms that a dalit and a woman should be accommodated in the five-member temple committees have been followed, the state Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE), which administers most of the temples in Tamil Nadu, has ensured that the Brahmins are kept out of these prestigious positions.
Asks SV Shekar (MLA Mylapore) :
By keeping the Brahmins out of the temple committees, the DMK government is only baring its inborn vengeance for our community. Why is chief minister Karunanidhi appointing his party members as arangaavalars (trustees) even while claiming that the DMK is a rationalist party? There will be divine justice and God will punish these people some day. I am not saying this as a politician but as a believer in God
Replies DMKs TKS Elagovan :
This action is not aimed at the Brahmins. We are only acting in favour of the people who had been so far kept out of temple administration. We have given such sections a chance now to be in charge of temple administration
This story points out another requirement. In addition to data, we need anti-discrimination laws too. The state in this instance has arbitrarily snatched away opportunities from an entire social group on flimsy grounds. Can anyone tell if castes like Chetties, Naidus, Naickers, Mudaliars, Gounders, Thevars, Pillais have traditionally been excluded from temples ? No, they have been the traditional trustees. So the entire premise of giving ignored communities a chance falls apart.
The only thing that can straighten this out is data. There is simply no way 95.4% of a state can be backward if the condition of the remaining 4.6% is so pathetic (socially, educationally, economically). Currently, the only check against abuse of the “backward” tag – is the hope that self-respecting communities would not want to use the backward tag to avail of benefits intended for the really deprived. This check alone is not enough.