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For the past one week, Kerala has been the epicentre of agitations under one headline, Sabarimala. Parties, Organisations and most importantly the common people are on the streets. Even though few support the Supreme court verdict, ordinary people, especially women are protesting. Even they feel it’s not necessary, but not the Supreme Court. Is it a ‘necessity’ like 377 or Muthalaq, where it deals with an individual’s right to live?  Custom or Constitution? Which One should rule a temple or a mosque? Is Sabarimala denying equality? Answers are yet to find.

A Dalit can lead the prayers and a Brahmin in the group must still touch his feet. Only after seeing his Muslim friend Vavar, we start climbing the mountain. All these are Holy examples of equality. You will See all these only at Sabarimala. But today it stands out as the major issue of inequality in India. But how?  Just one question. Whether woman of the age group 10 to 50 can be permitted to enter the Sabarimala temple at any period of the year or during any of the festivals or poojas conducted in the temple?

The question was first raised by The Balanarayana Marar’s Judgement in the famous S. Mahendran vs The Secretary, Travancore battle of 1991. And finally, the Supreme Court is having an answer. After all, the verdict will be complete only if we get answers for these questions. Is it the time? Is it necessary? How you will take the verdict? Finally Custom or Constitution? All these answers have to be answered by us, the people. We have to review the verdict. Is it satisfying the majority? Let see.

“Who placed the restrictions on women entering the temple?”  A Common Man’s reply will be Ayappa himself! According to the majority, Ayyappa is a celibate. Ayyappa is a Naishtika Brahmachari“! According to the Puranas, Ayappa was born to destroy a female demon who, thanks to a boon, could only be vanquished by a child born of both Shiva and Vishnu. When Ayappa fulfils his destiny by killing her, a beautiful woman emerges from the body. She had been cursed to be a demon. Now free, she asks Ayappa to marry her. He refuses, explaining to her that his mission is to go to Sabarimala where he would answer the prayers of his devotees.

Sabarimala Temple
Sabarimala Temple

However, he assures her, he will marry her when kanni-swamis stop coming to Sabarimala. She now sits and waits for him at a neighbouring shrine near the main temple. She is worshipped as Malikapurathamma. With hundreds of thousands of new devotees pouring in every year, her long wait continues.

Why are women of that age group not allowed to enter or the reason why they don’t enter the temple is quite simple.  It is partly out of empathy for Malikapurathamma and her eternal wait and it’s also out of respect for Ayyappa’s commitment to answer the prayers of his devotees. Since he is celibate, he should not be distracted.  Therefore, it has nothing to do with menstruation or being unclean. Anyone who goes to Sabarimala knows that and this’s what has been written in Puranas. But the ones who never visited Sabarimala have nothing to do with this story and they are the only ones who are not understanding the common follower’s principles. Therefore, they are changing the beliefs of the majority.  Just to show the gender equality.

Today, going to Sabarimala is like showing gender equality or feminism. Lord comes second. Being a follower or swami it is very difficult to digest. Claiming our Puranas or Vedas False. The Principles we follow, sorry, followed till now is false. They can’t accept all these things. Above all, Is this the place to show the gender equality?  Ones who speak for the entry of the women are the ones who stand in separate Gents and Female Queues in temples! Do you think all these principles are just ways to retain male dominance in the society and discriminate women from public space and places of worship? Common man’s answer is no. If laws interfere with the customs, then the temples and mosques will become tourist centres. Common man feels so.

Our country is not much advanced. In the era of 377, we can’t still accept inter-caste marriage. So is it the time? Maybe not.  Our Countrymen give more importance to sentiments as well attachments. Therefore to shit towards a European culture, it will take time. At the moment, a common man feels it’s not necessary. Don’t hide the truth behind menstruation. Menstruation is a natural process, probably the most divine process. Everyone is agreeing. And here the objection is just based on the pure beliefs, followed by pure followers. There may be false devotees, but the pure one matters. 

If one can’t agree with something told in Bhagavad Gita or Quran or bible. Can he force others to follow their opinion? It’s their freedom to either agree or not. But if he is not believing in god or principles, he is not having the right to force others, not to believe in god or the principles. Belief is Belief. You can follow it or not. It’s up to you. But no one has the right to question other’s belief.  And that’s what happened here. Against their customs. Against their beliefs. That’s what the Common Citizen of this country feels. That wind up the Custom’s part.

It seems like the  Supreme Court or our Constitution is completely against. In contrast, they feel Custom or usage of prohibiting women between the ages of 10 to 50 years from entering the Sabarimala temple is violative of Article 25(1) and violative of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Act, 1965 made under Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution. According to them, custom and usage must take space to the rights of all sections and classes of Hindus to offer prayers at places of public worship.

Devotees of Lord Ayyappa are exclusively Hindus and do not constitute a separate religious denomination. Most noteworthy, Freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion is available, though subject to the restrictions delineated in Article 25(1) itself, to every person including women.  Supreme Court feels the exclusionary practice being followed at the Sabarimala temple violates the right of Hindu women to freely practise their religion and exhibit their devotion towards Lord Ayyappa. Therefore the practice of exclusion of women of the age group of 10 to 50 years being followed at the Sabarimala temple cannot be regarded as an essential part as claimed by the respondent Board.

Ayyappa or Supreme Court? If one woman of that age group enters Sabarimala, how could we conclude?  Which one was wrong? Certainly, time will give an answer. Whoever go or whatever happens, let’s chant “Swamiye Sharanamayyappa”. Because when we enter the holy temple what we see is “Tat Tvam Asi”. Yes, You are that. Whoever, whatever, it’s not going to change.

And ofcourse, everybody has the right to have their opinion. What’s your take on the recent Sabarimala verdict of the Supreme Court? Vote your opinion!

 

 


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