Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board, set up by the Yediyurappa government last year, has now launched two new schemes aimed at brides from the community.
The two schemes, ‘Arundhati’ and “Maitreyi’, will provide monetary benefits to brides from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among Brahmins.
According to the Board, the first scheme, Arundathi, will provide Rs 25,000 for Brahmin brides. The second scheme, Maitreyi, will assure a bond of Rs 3 lakh to Brahmin women who marry priests in the state.
H.S. Sachidananda Murthy, chairman of the Board, said the brides will have to fulfil some other conditions as well.
“Brahmins who come from economically backward sections of society will be eligible. Other conditions include that not only should the bride be from the Brahmin community, it should be her first marriage,” Murthy said. “The married couple will also have to give an undertaking that they would remain married for a specified period of time.”
According to the Brahmin board, around 500 girls of marriageable age and falling under the economically backward section have been identified for the Arundhati scheme. As part of the pilot programme, another 25 brides have been selected for the Maitreyi scheme.
The scheme is just the latest measure by the Yediyurappa-led BJP government to appease the community. The government has also launched an actionable scheme in which Rs 500 a month will be offered to nearly 4,000 individuals who show willingness to be trained in puja rituals and sandhya vandana (evening prayers). The age limit for this scheme is between 8-80 years.
The Brahmin board itself was only set up by the government in July last year, after the Modi government introduced the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation for upper castes.
The board is part of a tradition by the state’s politicians to form them to appease particular communities. Although the BJP finally established the Brahmin Board, the idea was first mooted by JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy during his tenure as chief minister in 2018-19. Kumaraswamy had announced he would set aside Rs 25 crore for the Board. Brahmins constitute around 5 per cent of Karnataka’s voter base.
In the recent months, the BJP government announced the formation of not one but three new boards and corporations. This is being done to ensure that certain castes and groups are empowered sufficiently, including the Lingayat-Veerashaiva community (a dominant caste to which Yediyurappa belongs).
Other Karnataka chief ministers have followed a similar path — Devraj Urs set up a Backward Class Development Corporation, the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation and the Minority Development Corporation. Former Congress CM Siddaramaiah created development corporations for the Bhovi, Madiga, Banjaras, Vishwakarma and Uppara communities.