Sabarimala, the abode of Lord Ayyappa: The beginning of a Hindu uprising in India

For the followers of a lifestyle whose very tenets are a fine blend of concepts as diverse as polytheism, monotheism, henotheism, pantheism, monism, agnostic, humanism, atheism or non-theism, the idea of merging subsuming infinite tributaries of customs, practices, traditions into a single lane is both, foreign and inadmissible.

In response to a petition filed by Naushad Ahmad Khan, President of the Indian Young Lawyers’ Association, the Supreme Court of India permitted women in the age-group of 10 to 50 years to enter the Ayyappa temple, at Sabarimala in Kerala.

As per the observations made by the Kerala High Court in 1990, entry of women in the said age-group has been restricted since time immemorial. It must be noted, that while devotees across religious groups pay obeisance to the deity who is known to be a “Naishtik Brahmachari”, the verdict has caused an upsurge of Hindu sentiments across the length and breadth of India for multiple reasons, ranging from violation of the deity’s will to judicial overreach to an assault on age-old practices and traditions of the land.

For every devotee who has expressed her discontent and anger by way of either physical protest or otherwise, it is justified by putting the ‘will of the deity’ before the ‘will of the devotee’. However, for every “devotee” who has decided to ‘use’ the Supreme Court judgement as a hurried excuse to trespass the gates of eternally celibate deity, it is justified by putting the ‘will of the devotee’ before the ‘will of the deity’.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

For the conservatives, it is outright funny, for anyone to claim themselves as ‘devotee’ and yet put herself before the ‘devoted’. Understandably, the libertarian argues that the devotee is free to practice her devotion and set boundaries for herself, and not police the ambit of the devotion of another person who is well within her rights to call herself a devotee and enter the temple.

However, it is noteworthy, that the verdict has met with broad scale and unprecedented prolonged resistance from various Hindu groups across India, which coerces one’s common wisdom to dive deeper, depart from the rhetoric and comprehend the situation with a reasonable degree of alternation. The judgement is being perceived by a portion of the populace as a way to meddle with Hindu traditions and homogenise the religion.

The Supreme Court in 1995 had stated that “Hinduism is a way of life”. Therefore, it is only fair to maintain its elasticity and facilitate organic evolution, then bring about coercive metamorphosis. For the followers of a lifestyle whose very tenets are a fine blend of concepts as diverse as polytheism, monotheism, henotheism, pantheism, monism, agnostic, humanism, atheism or non-theism, the idea of merging subsuming infinite tributaries of customs, practices, traditions into a single lane is both, foreign and inadmissible.

Hinduism has never shied from progressing and keeping tab with changing needs of society and mankind. However, this evolution has been gradual, internal and rational. For example, it took Raja Ram Mohan Roy, born to a Vaishnavite father and a Shivaite mother, well versed with Vedas, to campaign against the Sati Pratha. Please note, his objective was not limited to the abolishment of Sati alone; he worked towards a broader goal of women rights and his movement addressed issues like polygamy and property inheritance rights for women. This is in contrast to those groups which are miserably using “right to pray” as a proxy for gender equality.

I am irked by the fact that not a single woman has been able to articulate her case for entering the deity’s premises, apart from repeating the exhausted “gender equality” debate. There is no extended consequence that can be achieved from the mere entry of women into the physical premises of a temple, save that these gender evangelists will embark on a perpetual petition expedition, till the time the cultural fabric is devoid from all sorts of diversity. Also, there no loss of life or property has been recorded on account of the age-old tradition.

Expanding the realm of debate on Sabarimala verdict, one has observed growing discomfort within the practising Hindu community. While one is tempted to discard this as a phenomenon of the far-right, the non-negotiable nature of both, protests and debates around Sabarimala, warrant a weighted approach. We have observed far too many instances of petitioners without zero stakes in the cause, appealing for the Lordship’s attention and this trend has disturbed a lot of us.

Right from appeals to regulate the height of human pyramid during Dahi Handi to selectively restricting the sale of firecrackers during Diwali, but not during New Year, attempts to slowly yet steadily standardize the Hindu way of life are glaring. I will not be surprised if a professional petitioner makes a plea to permit footwear in temples on grounds of plausible skin infection. My fears are in line with the observation made by Justice Malhotra “Present judgment won’t be limited to Sabarimala, it will have wide ramifications. Issues of deep religious sentiments shouldn’t be ordinarily interfered into”.

Repeated efforts and pronouncements that interfere and seek to desecrate age-old customs, for the sake of equality or exercise of rights, will be received with defiance, that will only grow with every passing instance. Consistent interventions by the legal ecosystem may erode the faith of certain social groups in the system, and manifest itself in other unwanted forms, including religious activism, compounded social schisms, and scope for the common man to be flippant about law and order.

For a global participant like India, which is known for its cultural equity, it is very important for decision makers to resist from sounding aloof or foreign. Eagerness for an equal opportunity society cannot come at the cost of diluted diversity or scrubbing off common beliefs, especially when the drivers of change appear to be both, selective and motivated.

Share This Post and Support:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.

Most read articles recently

Pakistan quotes The Quint, Karan Thapar and Praveen Swami to brand Kulbhushan Jadhav as a ‘RAW spy’ at ICJ

Pakistan quoted several articles published in Indian to present its case during Kulbhushan Jadhav hearing at the International Court of Justice
How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans after Pulwama attack

How Ravish Kumar and Vinod Dua misled people about ‘martyr status’ to CRPF jawans

Ravish Kumar of NDTV is a man known for many lows. But this may well be his lowest point.
Image Source: The Week

Mandya: Actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj attends funeral of Pulwama martyr, villagers expose his hypocrisy towards Armed Forces

Prakash Raj, a left wing ideologue, who is often known for joining hands with the left-liberals to express their hate towards Hindus and the BJP, has plans to contest in the upcoming elections from Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency.

The Hindu not only cropped the Rafale dissent note, but also had digitally manipulated it

Comparison of Hindu document with ANI document shows that Hindu had doctored the Rafale dissent note

Kavita Krishnan uses 4 year old photograph to claim PM Narendra Modi was laughing after Pulwama attack

Using a old photo, Kavita Krishna claimed the Modi was having fun at election rallies after Pulwama attack

Imran Khan’s deranged statement on Pulwama terror attack tailor-made to appeal to Indian ‘liberal’ sensibilities

In his statement on the Pulwama terror attack, Imran Khan claimed that his country had nothing to gain from attacking India. Apart from that, he threatened India with retaliation should the Indian Army decide to attack Pakistan.

Pakistan minister says ‘bells won’t toll in temples’, he forgets, India is the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Federal Minister for Pakistani Railways, commented that should anyone look at Pakistan in a negative manner, then "the eyes will be ripped out, the grass will not grow, the birds will not chirp and the bells won't toll in Temples."
Image Source: Swarajya

Ten things India must do to stop being a soft state

India is overly defensive. Despite its massive economic and military power, it does not respond to grave provocations (26/11, for example). It does not retaliate when attacked. It tolerates countless attacks on its citizens and affronts to its prestige.
Article 370

Article 370 must go: BJP can’t pussyfoot any longer

So what is this Article 370 which allows J&K to function much against the national (or for that matter, it’s own) interests?
Amar Singh donates property worth Rs 15 crore to RSS-affiliated Seva Bharti.

Amar Singh donates ancestral properties worth 15 crores to RSS-affiliated organisation Seva Bharti

Amar Singh donated Rs 15 crore property to Seva Bharti, an RSS affiliated social service organisation.

Latest articles

Connect with us


Don't miss these