Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi yesterday announced in the Asembly that there would be no special treatment for VIPs in temples in the State henceforth. No parivattam (a silk cloth tied around the head as a mark of honour) and no poorna kumbham (pot of flowers) would be offered to welcome them. This was the DMK government's effort to ensure that there was "equality of all before God".
In December last year, the Kerala High Court ordered that there should not be any special queue for VIPs to have a darshan of Lord Ayyappa in front of the sanctum sanctorum in Sabarimala because it blocked the vision of pilgrims standing in the regular queue.
Question: Should all temples in all States ban VIP treatment? Even if it is the President or Prime Minister? Even if it is a rich businessman who donates a crown of diamonds? Is such a move reasonable or is it impractical because temples have become power centres in their own right? Or are some more devotees more equal in the eyes of God?