A recent issue of Panchjanya, a weekly published by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has suggested that Dalits (i.e. outcastes) and other members of the less respected classes in Indian society should be trained and appointed as head priests at major temples around the country, according to the Times of India (October 30).
Hindu tradition reserves priestly functions for Brahmins. According to the editorial, erasing the caste lines would reinforce Hinduism. Such a statement from the group which has been for decades the driving force of Hindu nationalism is not as surprising as it may seem: the RSS and associated groups have for long seen the attitude toward lower castes as an element weakening Hinduism and put emphasis upon national unity, which implies abolishing such divisions.
However, it is not always easy to put such aspirations into practice even in the private lives of members (intercaste marriages, etc.). It remains to be seen how actively the RSS will actually promote such projects.
— By Jean-Francois Mayer