By Sakshi Kale
There is this beautiful temple in Kerala, called the Sabarimala temple. It has a grand statue of a Hindu god named Ayyappan. He is known for his brahmacharya. “Brahmacharya” is the stage in every man’s life (in olden times) where they live like a priest and have no “distractions”. Women were these so-called “distractions” that they were referring to. Furthermore, in this temple, women are not allowed because the staunch believers of Sabarimala, think that women still shouldn’t be allowed to go near him, as the Lord shall get distracted since he is unmarried.
Few women activists took this up in the Supreme court; women who weren’t even Hindus, or believers in religion. They wanted to prove that women should be allowed in there. After a tough fight, the Supreme Court passed the verdict that women will be permitted in the temple. But this wasn’t the end of it. Some people who strongly believe in the virtues and cultures of the Sabarimala temple, still forbade women from entering.
A few weeks back, 2 women broke into the temple just to prove their point. They were escorted out with police forces. Recently, 4 women, who wanted to offer prayers at the temple, brought it up again in court. Moreover, 12 women tried to trek to the temple between the dates of October 17th and October 22nd. 2 of them reaching extremely close to the temple. However, they were obstructed by a group of protesters who state that women of menstrual age can’t enter the sacred sanctuary of the Lord, as He is considered to be abstinent.
I always believe in gender equality. And when I first heard about this, my immediate reaction was that women should be allowed. But then I further checked my facts. And the point is that these women activists weren’t Hindus and some of them were even Atheists. They didn’t want to go in there for darshan (viewing of a god), they just wanted to prove that women and men are alike. As much as I agree with that, I think that we should respect their beliefs and traditions. If you call yourselves “liberals”, then I think you would agree with me. Liberal, means to be fully acceptive of everyone’s beliefs and opinions. I don’t think what the women activists are doing is wrong, I think it is just unnecessary. After they won the case and got the verdict from the Supreme Court, they should be happy and stop there. They should’ve respected the philosophies of the believers and stayed out of the temple, just out of respect for the community.
Maybe someone who has been following this whole incident would be able to enlighten us. “God can be prayed anywhere. I actually object the supreme court’s verdict as one should respect tradition and culture. If one reads the Hindu scriptures, the temple forbids women for a particular reason. And just as there are temples in which women are not allowed, there are Hindu temples where men are also not allowed. Having said this, once the Supreme Court verdict was passed this debate is irrelevant. The Supreme Court should have valued its own verdict and at least arrested the people who were not allowing the women to enter the temple. As citizens let’s collectively respect law and order”, stated by Sonal Bhide.
If you want a more detailed explanation, you can check out this site- https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Sabarimala-temple. It gives a lot of people’s perspective and explains the whole situation very well.