My Questions To The Custodians Of Sabarimala’s Sanctity

The unfolding of chaos and to see people on a rampage demanding a reversal of the Supreme Court order is not surprising. What’s appalling is that women are divided on the issue. I have questions to counter this year-old conviction.

The Ayyappa idol is offered ornaments, jewels and the temple is gold plated. Aren’t these against the concept of celibacy?

Are women fit enough after 50 years of age to take the tedious journey? Being a 10-year old, can a girl really connect to God?

Why is the burden of celibacy based on women?

Lord Hanuman is also considered as a ‘Brahmachari’, but no such rules are applied to his followers then why Lord Ayyappa?

Did he leave a rulebook behind? How do the priests know what exactly the deity wants?

Isn’t it disgracing a divine deity by claiming that he will get distracted by the sight of a woman?

How many men follow the 41-day penance? Aren’t women capable of doing the same? Can bleeding for a few days make them impure?

Isn’t menstruating a gift by God to sustain and nurture human race? Should it be considered impure?

Aren’t the priests viewing women as a mere sex symbol when they say that their presence will distract God?

The flood in Kerala was a sign of divine anger against the legal case. Really? Or was it a natural calamity because of both men and women’s greed?

Shouldn’t Mumbai be under the same fate after the Bombay High court uplifted the ban from Shani Shingnapur temple and Haji Ali Dargah?

Isn’t this practice against Article 14,15,17,25 and article 51(A) which respectively guarantees equality before Law, prohibition of Discrimination, forbids untouchability, freedom of religion and renounces practice derogatory against the dignity of women? Aren’t women being denied of the basic fundamental rights?

Women who are against the order, are they speaking the language given to them by the patriarchal setup? Or is it because the customs are deeply entrenched into their emotions and psyche?

Did this rule really exist before 1991? Is TKA Nair, former advisor of prime minister Manmohan Singh, fabricating the fact that his mother went to the Sabarimala temple in 1939 for his rice feeding ceremony?

Didn’t the same practice apply to the daughter of Chandrika, former Devaswom Commissioner? How could she conduct her daughter’s first rice feeding ceremony at the temple?

Freedom of Religion is for an individual and does not give the right to an organised religious group to decide someone else’s right to worship. These restrictions are extremely regressive, primitive and exist because of sheer misogyny. Lord Ayyappa is a deity because he is above all temptation and worldly desires. It is difficult to bring about a change so easily because people are attached to religious sentiments. Once a change comes, it gets difficult to adapt but gradually the changed concept becomes a tradition, and people find it difficult to accept anything beyond that. The court can only open the door; it cannot push women across it. The decision whether to go or not should be left to them. At least women should have a choice, and it is all that matters.

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