Are We Still Discussing Right Of Women To Enter Religious Places? Progressing Or Regressing India?

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and other groups protest at Azad Maidan demanding entry to the Haji Ali dargah in Jan 2016—Photo: Vivek Bendre Credits: The Hindu
Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and other groups protest at Azad Maidan demanding entry to the Haji Ali dargah in Jan 2016—Photo: Vivek Bendre Credits: The Hindu

Today, the Bombay High Court made an iconic ruling of allowing the entrance of women into the world renowned Haji Ali dargah’s inner sanctum.

The ban which restricted the entry of women in the dargah up until a certain point was put in place in the year 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust.

The reason behind the restriction was that such close proximity of women to a male saint would be a ‘grievous sin’ in Islam.

Religion is perhaps the most baffling concept I have ever come across, the way people take a man made concept as the will of God, without even the slightest bit of evidence, is not something I can ever understand I suppose.

Among the largest religions of the world, Islam and Hinduism hold powerful positions along with Christianity, Catholism and Agnosticism. And like all religions are carried through with a mix of customs, traditions and rules that teach a person on how to best follow that religion.

This rule of banning women from a certain temple or dargah either during a certain time of the month or making it permanent, is just plain ridiculous.

And on top of it with statements that defend such rules including phrases like ‘in the interest of women’; impure, inappropriate, just further aggravate me. Also after further research I found various statements by heads of such trusts and all, who according to me, seem to be implying that the reason for a males only temple or restricting their entry and not letting them near a male saint’s tomb is to protect the sanctity of the place.

I mean what exactly is the point being made here?

That women by their very definition are either unclean or a mode of seduction and that it is their destiny to make great ‘men’ fall?

And that these poor great men are so weak under the extreme power of women that, they cannot help but succumb?

This new rule comes in the wake of several other restrictions that have been lifted namely in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala and Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur temple.

Earlier they too were all male temples and women were not allowed entry in the sanctum sanctorum, but the ardent protests by women to be allowed entry, finally made it to be so.

But, one should hold off on the celebrations as the Haji Ali Dargah Trust has contested the decision and are appealing the turnover of it to the Supreme Court.

Signing off, I would like to say that, I don’t necessarily feel that there is anything wrong with making a place of religion as only males or females. Sometimes such places serve their own purpose, however, it is the banning or restricting of one gender or mostly women that is, according to me, not right.

There is literally no need to actually make it a rule, and if by chance a woman does want to visit such a place, then she should well be able to.

It’s surprising how a country like ours is still fighting over shit like whether women should go to temples and dargahs.

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