Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Where all are not equal
Dalits not allowed into temple
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Mandor (Patiala), April 22
All are not equal as far as the shrine of Baba Bhola Nath in this village, 17 km from here, on the Nabha road is concerned. Dalits are not allowed entry into the temple. If some Dalit wants to pay obeisance he has to put his offerings on a few loose bricks kept outside the temple. These offerings were earlier given to an old man of the village but were now fed to the dogs.

If some Dalit does manage to enter the temple premises to offer obeisance the entire temple is washed with water to “clean” it. This is not all. Dalits are not allowed to bathe in the sarovar in the temple complex even during Ekadashi festival when thousands of people visit it. They have to make use of a tubewell in a separate enclosure for bathing purposes.

This tradition has been going on for decades without any check. During a visit to the temple the Tribune team could not meet the head priest, Gobindanand. However, other volunteers working in the temple were candid about the traditions of the temple. “Yes we stop Dalits from offering their obeisance at the temple”, says Surjit Kumar, who was doing seva in the temple complex. He said members of the Scheduled Castes of the village knew of the tradition and pay obeisance from outside the main gate. He said Dalits visiting the temple during other festivals from other village were, however, made aware of the tradition.

The temple is quite strict as far its stance against Scheduled Castes is concerned. During the visit to the temple it was revealed that the temple priest had returned a tempo full of goods offered to it by commission agents of the village upon learning that the owner of the tempo was a Dalit. The tempo owner, Mahinder Singh, who is of the same village, said the incident had shaken him. “I wanted to protest against the injustice but kept quiet after being advised as such by the elders of the village,” he added.

Mahinder Singh said the temple was mainly frequented by 12 Brahman families of the village who did not welcome any member of the weaker section. He said as the temple did not have any managing committee and was managed entirely by its priest none could interfere in its functioning.

This view was expressed by other villagers also. Gurmeet Singh, a mechanic who runs a motor rewinding shop in the village, said the writ of “Babaji” (the priest of the temple) prevailed and none could challenge it.

However, a number of Dalits still frequent the temple as it is thought to be auspicious to take newly weds to the temple to take the blessings of Bhola Nath. 

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |