Guruvayur temple tender for prasadam stinks of caste discrimination, taken down

The Guruvayur Devaswom had invited tenders for preparation of food offered to deity and its distribution to devotees during temple festival from February 14 to 23.

Published: 29th January 2022 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2022 06:46 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

GURUVAYUR: Seeking to put an end to the controversy that the Left government in the state is promoting caste discrimination, Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan has ordered cancellation of a tender notice that stipulated Brahmins alone could take part in the making of the ‘prasadam’ at the Guruvayur temple.

The Guruvayur Devaswom had invited tenders for preparation of food offered to deity and its distribution to devotees during temple festival from February 14 to 23. A share of the offerings distributed to the devotees is known as ‘Deshapakarcha’.

However, the Devaswom on Friday called off the festivities in view of the surge in Covid cases, and limited the celebrations to rituals. As per the original plan, distribution of the offerings was to start at 7am on February 15 and ‘Prasada Ootu’ to be held from 9am.  The Devaswom had decided to organise special temple feast on February 21, the eighth day of the festival.

The Devaswom had issued a tender notice on January 17 inviting quotation for preparation of ‘pakarcha’ and feast. 

Festivities cancelled, kits to be distributed

The notice had clearly stated that those who prepare the ‘prasadam’ and their helpers should be Brahmins. The clause triggered a controversy on social media. Miffed by the controversy, Radhakrishnan issued a strict instruction to Guruvayur Devaswom to withdraw the order.

The administrative committee of the Devaswom that met on Friday decided to cancel festivities. The board did not withdraw the tender notice but it stood cancelled with the new decision. “In view of the Covid situation, there are restrictions on festivities and it is not possible to conduct the festival in a grand way.

So we decided to limit festivities to rituals and the decision to distribute Pakarcha and Prasada Ootu stands cancelled. Instead we will be distributing food kits worth `420 to 30,000 people,” said temple administrator K P Vinayan. Temple employees said that ‘Pakarcha’ is an offering to god and this has been prepared by Brahmins traditionally.

The board issues such tender notice every year and the content of this year’s notice has been copied from the previous ones. Distribution of ‘Prasadam’ is part of the ritual and only ‘Thantri’ has the right to decide on conditions that are followed traditionally.


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