It was believed that women between the ages of 10 to 50 shouldn’t be allowed inside Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple. They were not allowed to take pilgrimage here out of respect to the celibate nature of the God in this temple.
But in September 2018, Supreme Court of India ruled that pilgrims regardless of the gender should be allowed to enter the temple. This led to several protests by groups who opposed the verdict.
How two women entered the temple
Recently, Bindu and Kanakadurga have claimed that they were able to reach inside the Sabarimala Temple after the reopening on December 30th for the Makaravilakku festival. They both were under the age of 50.
They said that they were given all support and assurance for the darshan by the police. Bindu said that they faced no opposition from others who were present.
“We approached police on Tuesday and they promised all help,” said Bindu.
It was reported that the shrine was controversially shut down for an hour and a half for “purification” after their visit.
Why I feel that women should be allowed to enter the temple
I came to know about the incident when I heard my mother talking on the call about the protests that broke out in various parts of the state. Their discussion made me realize how it was not a victory for women but it was about gender equality for women to enter the temple.
If menstruation is the reason, I and my friends strongly believe that it is not impure and the women between the ages of 10 to 50 should have an equal right to enter the temple.
The other day one of my friends even exclaimed, “It is a definite social crime by restricting people out of gender or age or any other biological reason”.
It is true that preventing women from entering the places of worship due to gender or age goes against Articles 14, 15, 19, and 25 of the Indian constitution.
After the discussion, I gained a lot of knowledge about how it is a social crime and why we need gender equality more than ever. It was great to see the excitement on their faces and how it made them feel a small part of this movement.
Another thing that I realized while I was reading about the matter that when women are allowed to enter other temples of Ayyappan then why is Sabarimala an exception. How come women are not allowed to enter only one temple of Ayyappan?
Even Pinarayi Vijayan (Chief Minister of Kerala) said that his party has always stood for gender equality and protection and facilities for women pilgrims. I believe that women should be provided with needed protection and facilities to enter the temple.
He said, “It is a fact that the women entered the shrine. Police are bound to offer protection to anyone wanting to worship at the shrine.”
I think that traditions are made by humans and they are definitely changeable. I agree that it is hard to digest changes of an old tradition but possible. This incident not only empowered modern urban women but also went deep into the rural roots of Indian womenfolk.
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