India is a secular country where every religion is treated equally. Out of all Hinduism, with its scores of Gods and deities is the most widespread religion of the country. Depending on the geographical location, every area has its own diety and specific temple. One such temple, the Sabrimala temple of Kerala have been the center of news recently. This temple is dedicated to the worship of Ayyappa. To be more specific, the ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (celibate) form of Ayyappa is being prayed to in this temple.
What brought this temple to the focus is its restriction of the entry of women in its premises. After much battle between the conservative religions community and the moderate, liberal educated Indians, a historical decision was reached at today. The case of whether or not women should be granted permission to enter the premises of this much revered temple reached the Supreme Court. And today the Supreme Court gave a historical verdict on this issue.
With a majority of 4-1, a bench of 5 judges today ruled that all women have the right to enter the temple. Gender or age cannot be used as a criterion for barring women from entering a temple. This verdict specially stressed on women ranging from 10-50 years of age who falls into the reproductive age and hence are sure to undergo the menstrual cycle. Because of this they are taken as ‘impure’ and their entry was restricted. But after this verdict, the authorities of the temple will be forced to open its doors to all worshippers, irrespective of age and gender.
This verdict of the Supreme Court have already created much stir among the religious circles and common masses. While majority of the population have welcomed this decision with open arms, some are against it too. The head priest of the Sabrimala temple have expressed his disappointment with the decision of the apex court. Many also fear that repercussions will rise in the days to come as a result of this decision.
It is to be noted that there are many temples of Ayyappa in different parts of Southern India. But it was only the Sabrimala temple which restricted the entry of women. The SC took this aspect into consideration too during its decision. I too think that if one temple dedicated to a particular diety can allow women to enter, than the same rule should apply to all temples.
As soon as the verdict came out, the social media have become alive with news, tweets and quotes relating to it. Especially, the caption of #Bleedwithpride have become one of the most viral tweet or repost of today.
I don’t know what the coming days will bring with it due to this verdict. But what I do know that this verdict have successfully shown that India is developing and gradually breaking away from the conservative patriarchal mindset. Many also believe that this decision will pave way to the opening of doors of many other temples of the country where women are still barred from entry in the coming times. Equality of gender, one of the fundamental rights of the country, is reflected very well in this decision. If every mind of the country starts thinking in the same way than it won’t be long before India sees days of gender equality in its true form.