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The Supreme Court Verdict on Sabarimala Temple Case

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fear, greed, imagination and poetry” – Edgar Allen Poe. Before referring to the Supreme Court verdict , let us dive deep into mythology to get a real hold on the reason of the ban on women from entering the temple,if ever there was any. Ayappa is said to be in the mood of celibate. His devotees who visit him are observing vows of celibacy for some forty days and so women, out of devotion, refrained from entering the temple in earlier days. Secondly, women out of empathy for Malikapurathamma (who is known to be the forever lover of Ayappa,waiting for him eternally), also did not visit the temple. This is a picture of complete devotion.

“There are some people who want us to practice their own set of beliefs in the name of religion.” There was no such ban on the women from entering the Sabarimala temple. It was customized and put up as a ban, which needed to be stood up for.

“Rules disallowing women in Sabarimala is a blink upon the constitution and is clearly violative of Article 21”, the judges had said. The prime role of the Supreme Court is to safeguard the constitution. Hence its verdict on the ban on women was just an endeavour to safeguard the constitution. Kerala Chief Minister had said, “Even if the Supreme Court has given it’s verdict, regarding the entry of women to Sabarimala, decent women would not enter the temple.” A question on the morality of women is put forth on the table in this context! Does this mean that women visiting Sabarimala in their menstruating years have a questionable decency? Is that what our culture our constitution profess?

Our Hindu mythology is known for its diversity and progressiveness. “Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of truth. ‘Truth is God’ and if today it has become inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued, and as soon as the fatigue is over Hinduism will burst open the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.” Mahatma Gandhi. How can women be denied from practising their own religion in such a democratic religion just because of their menstruating years! As Justice Deepak Mishra said that Article 25 has got nothing to do with menstruating years or with the other physiological factors .

Shylaja Vijayan, president of National Ayyappa Devotees Association has said the, “faith cannot be justified by scientific rationals or logic” and a judge from the opposition had said that the court should not intervene in religious matters and sentiments, as they are above reasons and logic, and they should be left to themselves to seek a solution. If this would have been the case and if there would not have been the intervention of any law then practices such as sati (burning of female widows lively), gouri dan (Child marriage) would have continued till date. And isn’t it as per record of the past that almost every religious discriminations and malpractices in the name of religion are implemented upon women! Well as it is said that a rationality should be brought between the two.

There are some temple in India where female is the dominant force and some they are the one and only. Male entry is prohibited. Why are the reasons prohibiting the male entry only stuck to mythology while on the other side a common biological factor is projected as a prime reason! It is not only contradictory to the hindu religion but also a blink at the constitution. Hence it needed to be stood up for!

- Atrayee Banerjee