This article is from Aug 18, 2021

If the car, bike washers become priests… Viral hatred posts !

Tamil Nadu government has appointed 58 priests under the ‘People from any caste can become a priest’ scheme. Since then debates and counter-opinions have been raised on social media platforms.

A picture of a priest cleaning the sculptures in the temple with water from a hose is being shared widely on social media with a caption, “this will happen if car and bike washers become priests”.

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We couldn’t find the source and date of the photo published with a reverse image search since the photo seems to be newspaper cutting.

When we searched about cleaning the temples with water from the hose a ‘Maalaimalar’ article dated 4th July 2021 titled ‘Worship places to open tomorrow: it is banned to bring pooja items’ has pictures of cleaning the temple with water from the hose and the sculpture from the viral photo.

The photo is captioned as ‘Employees cleaning Thandumariamman temple with water’. Since the quality of the image seems unclear we searched further and found a clearer picture in the ‘Dinathanthi’ article dated 3rd July.

Both the photos look similar since they had the same sculpture, the dress and physique of the person cleaning and the hose. These photos were taken in July when there was an announcement on reopening worship places.

We tried reaching the management of Thandumariamman temple, but none picked up the call.

Some of the social media users also have raised questions that even Brahmin priests use a hose to clean and sanitise sculptures in temples including Tirupati. These comments can be seen under the viral posts mentioning that the situation arises due to the appointment of other caste priests.

It is usual in most of the temples to use water from the hose for cleaning which is depicted as this happened because of the appointment of other caste priests.

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