On the 27th of September, the Tripura High Court banned Pashubali (animal sacrifice) at Maa Tripureswari Temple. The Tripureswari Temple, also known as Tripura Sundari temple, is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, and is located in the ancient city of Udaipur in Tripura. The shrine is also known as Matabari among the local people. Being a Shakti Peeth, animal sacrifice was being practised at this holy shrine.
In the judgment banning the ancient tradition of the temple, it became quite evident that certain men in black robes have taken it upon themselves to be the reformers of the Hindu community. In doing so, they seem to have exceeded the mandate granted to them by the Indian Constitution. Now, we are at a point where the Constitution is whatever the judges deem it to be based on their personal whims on a given day. A particular worldview is being forced down our throats without our consent. This is the embodiment of tyranny.
The Court ruled, “The right of offering an animal for sacrifice is not an integral and essential part of the religion, protected under Article 25(1) of the Constitution. As such, no right of the freedom of professing any religion by the State can be said to have been violated. State has no religion other than constitutionalism and the expression ‘person’ under Article 25 has to be in reference to natural person. Withdrawal of such practice would not tantamount to any change, fundamental in character of the religion.”
The Bench observed, “Which religion or community mandates infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on an animal? Which religion prescribes that physical or mental pain or suffering should not be eliminated in the pre-slaughter stage? Which religion would want its followers not to treat animal with compassion, care or a humane approach? And above all, which religion would allow itself to be shackled to dogma, superstition and unfounded beliefs so as not to reform and be in tune with the changing times in pursuit of Constitutional goals and morality.”
Such pearls of wisdom only flow from the Court when the practice in question belongs to the Hindu faith. They are nowhere to be found when barbaric Islamic practices are to be presided upon. The questions that the Court poses would mean that the consumption of all meat would have to be banned completely. One cannot argue for the right to eat anything that one pleases and at the same time, decree that the religious sacrifice of animals to our Gods and Goddesses be banned.
It is hypocritical of the highest order and infringes upon basic norms of decency. The judgment is a tyrannical imposition of a certain worldview upon the Hindu community. There are certain sects and traditions within Hinduism that demand the sacrificial offering of certain animals to Gods and Goddesses.
The rhetorical questions posed by the Court only serve the purpose of moral grandstanding, nothing more. The entire purpose of it was to present themselves as holier than everybody else in the room, nothing else. I could quote Hindu scriptures and Hindu beliefs but that wouldn’t matter. It certainly didn’t in the Sabarimala Verdict. The case was decided the moment a PIL was filed in that regard in the Court. Presentation of evidence, arguments in favour and against, all of this was a charade to give people the impression that due process was followed.
There is scriptural sanction for animal sacrifice. It’s a known fact that certain forms of worship cannot be conducted without the sacrificial offerings of animals. However, people who have no respect for our beliefs and have absolutely no regard for scriptures until and unless they conform to their worldview will continue to ignore such facts in the face of the obvious.
To the Judiciary and everyone who is not fond of Pashubali, I say, leave us alone. I ask of you what the devotees of Sabarimala have been asking for a year. We are not imposing our beliefs on you, do not impose yours on us. Hinduism has a diversity of traditions. We hear people boasting about the diversity of traditions within Hinduism all the time. And yet, whenever it so happens that their words are put to the test, suddenly their voices are found to be not so raucous.
While people boast of the diversity within Hinduism, the same is being culled day by day, one tradition at a time. The Judiciary is not realizing the immense damage that it has caused to its own reputation. What happened in the aftermath of the Sabarimala Verdict was an open revolt against the Judiciary. It was an entire community refusing to bow down to the tyrannical verdicts of the Indian Judiciary. If its crazy edicts do not stop anytime soon, we will soon see a nationwide revolt against it.
For the state to function effectively, the men who represent it must respect the cultural practices and traditions of the people they govern or preside over. Else, it will lead to a breakdown in the society like the one we observed in the aftermath of the Sabarimala Verdict. All the devotees ever wanted was for them to be left alone to practice their religious faith. But certain people in their hubris decided to trample upon them.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, too, needs to stand up to Judicial Tyranny. The leaders of the BJP visited the Temple on numerous occasions during the elections. Now, it’s their duty to protect the sacred traditions of the Temple. One can only hope that the state government will refuse to implement the order. The judgment also reveals that it’s high time for the Central government to pass a law to explicitly protect Hindu Traditions from Judicial Tyranny. It was one of their manifesto promises.
Last year, it was the Sabarimala Temple under attack. This year, only a day before the anniversary of the Sabarimala verdict, it is the Tripureswari temple under attack. This has got to end. According to reports, the Tripura government will appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court. One can only hope that better sense prevails. Otherwise, if all the traditions that make our civilization unique are banned, there will be nothing worth preserving at all.