Sabarimala temple entry is victory of women’s rights, says Pune-based activist Trupti Desai
Prominent women’s rights activist Trupti Desai, who has campaigned vigorously for temple entry by women, has hailed the courage of the two women below the age of 50 years who successfully entered the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday
“Today’s entry by two women in the Sabarimala temple is, in a true sense, a victory of our long, ongoing agitation in this particular matter. We succeeded in breaking the long tradition (of banning women’s entry) at Shani Shingnapur and Haji Ali Dargah; however, we faced many difficulties in entering Sabarimala temple. Today’s development is a victory for all women who fought together to uproot the orthodox patriarchal mindset of society,” she said in an interview.
Desai said she congratulates and salutes the two brave women who used “guerrilla techniques” to enter the temple. They did this at a huge risk to their lives; however, their determination to end inequality in society has set an example for others to follow, Desai said.
She criticised the closing of the temple by the priests for “purification” and said it once again exposed a patriarchal mindset. “They are just not ready to treat women equally,” she said, adding, “In fact, I feel pity for those who are refusing women to enter the temple as they are oblivious to the fact that it is a woman who gave birth to them as well.”
Stating that god does not differentiate between women and men, Desai asked, who gave these priests ownership of god and set terms and conditions on temple entry.
Desai thanked Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his government for assisting the women to enter Sabarimala. “Without their support the entry would have been difficult. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata party’s (BJP) opposition to women entering the temple has exposed their hypocrisy,” she said.
Desai pointed out that while the BJP supported the women’s agitation in Maharashtra for entry at Shani Shingnapur temple and Haji Ali Dargah, in Kerala, it opposed a similar agitation at Sabarimala. “This clearly exposes its vote bank politics as the BJP is trying to woo a particular section of voters by opposing women’s entry into the temple,” she said.
Meanwhile, two women of menstruating age group made history on Wednesday when they stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition. The women--Kanakadurga and Bindu--aged 44 and 42, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the Supreme Court’s historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its “eternally celibate” deity.