Of Heiresses and Hieroglyphics at Sabarimala

That we live in progressive times, at least on some counts, we are proud. Some if not all the evils that plagued our, Indian (if some of you still had any doubts!) society are no longer masquerading on broad daylight.

But are we really getting it right in this case? Our apex court in its recent judgement, legally opened the temple doors for all till posterity. While mainstream mediahouses and a decent proportion of national and international intelligentsia are rejoicing at this, the discordant notes of the skeptics too haven’t gone unnoticed.

 

From The Beginning

Our Constitution had already opened the gates for the hitherto oppressed castes, to the social and economic mainstream, through various provisions, changing the collective social consciousness and mindset is a work in progress. If in the state with the healthiest sex ratio and the highest literacy rate (well, it’s sometimes trounced by Mizoram, you know), there still remains a temple that could successfully remain elusive to the so called fairer sex, then it certainly is strange, if not outright disturbing.

 

The Inherent Dichotomy

As I see it, there are two aspects to this, viz., the communal and the feministic. However, if one digs deeper into the folklore surrounding the temple and it’s deities, it might sound reasonable that the young Sanyasin (celibate) god in the temple sanctum doesn’t like being visited by the devotees of the opposite sex. Also the men who visit the temple need to undertake a vow of celibacy laced with other austerities or a Deeksha many days before the trip. Against this backdrop it has been traditionally a temple for men. Many places of worship have since times immemorial been out of bounds for women. So do we need to really break the tradition and thus anger the local communities and go against their belief systems in this particular case? Or is this a cause really worth fighting for?

(to be concluded..)

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