To resolve the Sabarimala temple issue, let’s look at an English proverb, “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”. This saying full of wisdom is used to emphasize that if one person is allowed to do something or to behave in a particular way, then another person must be permitted to carry out that thing or conduct themselves in that way too. A goose is a female bird, whereas a gander is a male in this context.
This adage paves the way for equal rights in all aspects without any riders. Irrespective of gender, caste, creed or religion, equal opportunities of living, rituals and lifestyles must be ensured. In other words, we can say what is good for the man is good for the woman. Hence, when a rule applies to one, it applies to both male and female in our society. Whether it is a temple, mosque, church or gurudwara—what matters the most is a human being.
Service to humanity is a service to the nation. The Constitution of our country, under relevant sections, clearly states the right to equality. Let’s honour that. Let there be free entry for everyone everywhere for their religious faiths, practices and choice of God and Goddess and their wish to worship.
It is 2019, and India is still discriminating against the menstruating women who wish to pray at Lord Ayyappa’s temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. The apex court is tasked with a review petition of the liberal verdict it passed earlier in favour of women against male chauvinism. Can’t we rise above all these and move on, taking lessons from birds and animals that are free spirits?
The Sabarimala temple issue is more of a political tool than anything else. It was 2018 when the Supreme Court ordered the unrestricted entry of women into the temple. The matter should have been settled, and the court should have been engaged with other pending issues before it. But then, the political tug of war is ostensible with parties throwing their weight. For petty gains, divide and rule seem like a good idea, giving rise to discriminatory attitude and policies.
On the one hand, we resort to the Manusmriti, an ancient legal text among the many Dharmasastras of Hinduism, wherein a verse goes like this: where women are worshiped, there lives God, wherever they are not worshiped, all actions fail. On the other hand, a section of society petitions the court to restrict menstruating women’s entry into a temple. This is a parochial and paradoxical approach which needs revisiting.
Everyone will admit to the fact that our world has been a male chauvinistic society. However, the past is past. Now, restrictions are being lifted. Rectifications are continuously in progress, with political appeasement taking a backseat. There is no denying that India is a very progressive society. It cannot afford to be entangled in such an issue that trivializes a progressive thought and overall prosperity of the human race. It needs to move on, correcting and junking trivial issues. The Supreme Court deserves all appreciation for its verdicts in line with religious matters. People from all quartets should accept the apex court’s pronouncements.
There was a time when a certain section of society was deprived of certain facilities and access to shrines, education and commonplace areas. For good, things have moved positively, with education being in the driving seat. The value of education gets belittled if we have to wait, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We must uphold human values.