02 December, 2020

A Priest’s Diary

"When I was 10, someone told me about it, and I remember saying that’s not possible: I won’t allow that," says Yedu Krishna, first Dalit to be appointed temple priest by the Travancore Devaswom Board.

A Priest’s Diary
A Dalit Thanthri

Ten years ago, when I was 12, I was brought to Sree Guru Deva Vaidika Thantra Vidyapeedom at Madaplathuruthu for schooling in priesthood. Here, under K.K. Anirudhan Thantri, I was initiated into a disciplined lifestyle, Sanskrit and the priestly ritual texts—there’s a syllabus. I remember, back in my school, my Class 7 teacher Fonsi Miss had asked us what we wanted to do when we grow up. That’s the first time I said that I wanted to be a priest. She announced it in class; everyone was curious and interested. No one laughed at me. In fact, I got a lot of encouragement. Earlier, only the Brahmins could become priests. It takes years of rigorous learning to be a priest and I’ll have to continue learning all my life.

School and Gurukul

Initially, I could only come for weekend classes—I was at the PSHS Government School at Thirumadikunnu back home near Chalakudy, 30 km away. In Class 10,...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

Latest Magazine

December 07, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section