Rajasthan to hold recruitment test for priests, caste no bar now

­Priesthood can no longer be the monopoly of any particular caste in Rajasthan, and those who are interested in becoming priests in temples across the state will now have to clear a competitive examination to prove that they are competent enough for the job.

Recently, Devasthan Minister Brij Kishore Sharma had raised eyebrows when he said priests in temples do not know basic mantras and often recite Hanuman Chalisa during marriage and other religious functions. 

The state Devasthan Department has set in motion recruitment of priests through competitive exams. The department has invited application for the posts of 47 priests, who will depute them to perform religious ceremonies in temples running under the government’s authority. Apart from this, applications have also been invited for seven posts of managers and 11 of sewagirs.

According to the advertisement, becoming a priest will no longer only mean being capable of chanting mantras and performing rituals. Now, those hoping to make the cut will need a certain level of education — the minimum qualification is of senior secondary level from a recognised board.

A graduate degree is required to become a manager.

The syllabus for the examination is similar to that of other competitive exams, and includes subjects like general knowledge and geography. But it is designed to suit the level of current priests and learners of Sanskrit literature and religious scriptures, said the department. Even those who are religiously inclined and chant prayers or couplets at home will be comfortable with the syllabus level. Two sections comprising 50 per cent of the total marks are dedicated to knowledge of religious books and scriptures such as the Ramayana and the Vedas.

“The syllabus has been set as per the job,” said a department official. The advertisement stated that the deadline for receiving applications is October 16. The written exam will be on October 27.

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