Hum to jis haal main huye ruswa huye
Hindu bane to kafir huye, Musalmaan bane to mlechha huye[In every (human) form that I was born, was I insulted
When born a Hindu, I was outcaste as an infidel, when born a Muslim, I was outcaste as one polluted]
One wonders how the practical aspects of non- Brahmins being appointed as priests for Vaishnavite and Shaivite temples will work out- my own limited experiences as practically a mlechha in Tamil temples tells me that there are spaces even within the temples (the garbhgrahas) that forbids a non- Brahmin from entering there.
Karunanidhi may be a shadow of Periyar, and one does not have to agree with all that he has done immediately after his return as CM, but this one is as important a step as that of Laloo appointing Dalit preists in Bihar few years ago.
If we define tradition only through texts, then practices such as opening of temples to Dalits and abolition of the Devadasi system can be viewed as going against the agamas. The presence of fans, tube lights, and air conditioners in temples can also be seen as being against agama injunctions. The Maharajan committee too warns us against this.
Opening up of temples and the priesthood to all castes is a fight against discrimination based on birth. What is required is to expand the definition of discrimination and include women in it. It is time for the question: when will women be allowed to become priests?