Temples and Caste in Travancore

    Abstract

    THE decision of the Maharajah of Travancore, announced by proclamation authorizing the opening of the temples controlled by the State to all Hindus, according to a Delhi dispatch in The Times of November 16, has been hailed by progressive opinion in India as “the greatest reform of Hinduism since Ramanuja's days”. By this drastic action, which at once obliterates caste distinction in right of access to the sacred places of religion, and removes one of the most strongly resented marks of inferiority in the outcastes, the State of Travancore has opened a way to political unity which Hinduism at large would do well to accept as a guide and example. The exceptional position of the Rajah in relation to the State religion has endowed him with a power of initiative that was open to few others in India, and perhaps least of all to the British Raj; but whether the example of Travancore will be followed elsewhere will doubtless depend in no small degree upon the religious and political reaction to so serious an innovation. It is said that conservative opinion has already criticized the reform as rash and unsound, while maintaining that the views of Hinduism outside Travancore should have been considereda claim, of which, in view of past events, it would be difficult to vindicate the political wisdom. On the other hand, the Nationalists and leading members of the Congress, with Mr. Gandhi, have hastened to congratulate the head of the State of Travancore on his decision.

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    Temples and Caste in Travancore. Nature 138, 875 (1936). https://doi.org/10.1038/138875c0

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