Skip to main content

"Nothing wrong" if someone in Dwarka temple asks caste of devotee; raising such issues only creates "flutter"

Kumari Selja "praising" Dwarka arrangement
By Our Representative
In what may be interpreted by a section of Dalit activists as a controversial statement, Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani (independent), who happens to be vice-chairman of the Dwarkadheesh temple trust in Dwarka, has said that there is “nothing humiliating” if a teerth panda (senior priest) asks for the caste of “a devotee to find out his/her gotra (family root).”
Nathwani’s statement appears in a Facebook post following his colleague in the Rajya Sabha, Congress’ Kumari Selja, claimed in the House that she was asked her caste when she visited Dwarka.
"I am a Dalit but I am Hindu. I feel like visiting temples. I wanted to go to Dwarka temple. I have visited hundreds of temples. (I visited) Dwarka temple when I was Cabinet minister. I was asked about my caste," she said during the debate on Commitment to the Constitution.
“There is nothing wrong if someone asks the caste of a devotee. It is as innocent as asking for an introduction. Raising such issues only creates flutter”, Nathwani insisted, adding, “The controversy on the issue is therefore unnecessary.”
“It’s surprising and astonishing. With due respect to her, as vice-chairman of Dwarka Mandir Vyavasthapan Samiti, I would state that I have not come across any such incident where a devotee has felt insulted”, Nathwani, who is group president of corporate affairs at Reliance Industries Ltd, said.
Justifying the teerth panda asking about the caste of a devotee, Nathwani said, this is like “we have family doctors, family lawyers, etc. in modern days, having family priests is also a tradition among Hindu families.”
Kumari Selja, Narimal Nathwani
“Pandas have records of their clients’ generations of certain castes on which they have the right of ‘dakshina’ (remuneration of Brahmin for performing pooja, etc.)”, he said.
“Even if one panda attends to a client of other caste, he will pass on the 'dakshina' to the Panda who holds the right. This is a normal practice at all major Hindu shrines and pilgrim places”, Nathwani said.
Further seeking putting things on “record”, Nathwani said, “I feel, it will be appropriate to present what Selja Kumari actually put on record during her visit to Dwarka on February 22, 2013. She, in fact, praised and lauded Dwarka if what she wrote in the visitor’s book in her own handwriting is any clue.”
"With Lord Krishna’s Blessings, had a very good darshan. The upkeep and maintenance of the premises is excellent. May the Lord bless all those who are fortunate enough to come here for His blessings", Nathwani quotes Shelja as saying.
Reiterating that asking for caste is "never intended to humiliate or insult someone" and it is "customary and certainly not derogatory”, Nathwani regrets, Selja "doesn't know the difference between a panda and Dwarkadheesh Temple." He contends, "If she goes to any such temple in India, certainly she will be asked same question by panda for her gotra for right puja.”
It may be recalled that, till nearly one-and-a-half decades ago, there was a practice to ask for the caste of a person entering into Dwarka town territory. The practice was, however, discontinued after attention was drawn about to a senior Gujarat government bureaucrat, Atanu Chakravartty, who was in charge of the state tourism department.

Comments

Anonymous said…
As long as she is treated fairly she should not raise concern if someone asked about her caste unless she have inferiority feeling in declaring her caste. She must have declared her caste to get Government benefits so what is hesitation here.

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?