Thursday, December 3, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Dalits make their way to Hindu temple in Odisha

Dalits make their way to Hindu temple in Odisha
By Manoj Kar
Kendrapara, Dec. 2: In a departure from caste-bound tradition,
hundreds of Dalits from an obscure village today made their way into a
900-year-old Hindu temple that that till date had remained out of
bounds for them.

"It was a festive occasion. There was palpable amity and goodwill
among the residents of Kisinapur village under Souri gram panchayat.
The upper caste people besides Sarvodyaya workers exchanged warm
pleasantries as lower caste devotees entered the local Shiva temple.
After the deity's darshan, they offered puja," narrated Sandhyarani
Mallick, coordinator of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.

There never existed caste-bound ill-will or the conflict in the
backward. However, Dalits were adhering to the tradition and never
made their way into temple, Mallick narrated.

Several Sarvodyaya organizations mobilized the upper caste people and
generated support that has paved the way today's momentous events, she

A Padayatra in which several Sarvodyaya activists participated marched
through the dusty streets of the village. Both the Sabarnas and Dalits
spontaneously took part in the procession that converged at the temple
entrance point.

The temple priests offered Prasad to the padyatris that mostly
included the Dalits.

Later, the villagers cutting across caste spectrum dined together in a
grand community feast that was organized to mark the occasion.


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