ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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US State Terrorism Another Criminal Act

least once earlier; that was in the early 1970s. The DMK, which was in power then, dreamt no longer of assaulting Thiruvarangam Ranganathar and Chidambaram Natarajar with cannons; that was all a dead dream by then. But the old agenda was not fully lost. Braving the intense Vaishnavite offensive, the DMK government under M Karunanidhi got the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act amended in 1972 so that any qualified person, irrespective of caste, could become a priest in the 10,040 government managed temples. The intention of the move was loud and clear. As the advocate- general of Tamil Nadu claimed, the amendment was meant "to abolish brahmin monopoly in religious affairs..." The swiftness with which the amendment was challenged by the brahmins was indeed a testimony to their celebrated efficiency. Sixty-six brahmins filed 12 writ petitions in the Supreme Court. Nani Palkhivala, in contrast to his spirited defence of laissez-faire during the anti-Mandal agitation, argued then for the protection of brahmin privilege. The highest court of the country ruled that Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, which deal with the freedom to practise one's religion, are "not limited to matters of doctrine...[but] extends also... for rituals and observances, ceremonies and modesof worship which are an integral part of religion". Using all its judicial wisdom, it specified further: "the ritual in a temple could not be performed except by a person belonging to a specified denomination; otherwise the purpose of worship would be defeated." How could it allow the purpose of worship to be defeated? The plea of the brahmins was upheld and garbhagaraham continued to remain as their exclusive preserve.

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