DESTINATION NEXT: GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

DESTINATION NEXT: GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

According to Hindu Mythology, Kerala was created by Lord Parasurama, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu by throwing his axe across the sea to create new land for his devotees to live peacefully. Since Kerala is God’s own creation, it is called God’s Own Country.

She is a gender equality activist and founder of “Bhumata or Bhoomata brigade” Organization at Pune in 2010. She and her brigade have campaigned for RIGHT TO PRAY and gained entry into these temples. She is none other than Ms. Trupti Desai.

YEAR

TEMPLES ENTRY

2015

SHANI SHINGNAPUR TEMPLE, AHMEDNAGAR, MAHARASHTRA

2015

MAHALAKSHMI TEMPLE, KOLHAPUR

2015

TRIMBAKESHWAR SHIVA TEMPLE, NASHIK

2016

HAJI ALI DARGAH, MUMBAI

2018

SABARIMALA TEMPLE, KERALA

 

In the year 2015, when a woman entered the Shani temple at Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, the priest cleansed the idol and the whole temple and suspended the security guard on duty.  This agitated Ms. desai who along with other members of her brigade staged a forced entry into the shrine, as the State and the district level court allowed women in the shrine. Post Shingnapur, Ms. Desai reached the Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur, where the committee allowed her entry but the priests turned violent against her. She entered the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple near Nashik she was peacefully escorted by Police into the inner sanctum with wet clothes on, this is how even men enter the temple there. In the year 2016 she made an attempt to enter the Haji Ali Dargah, in Mumbai, an angry mob made her attempt futile and because of death threat thrown at her. She then made second attempt, entered the Mosque under tight security but not into the inner sanctum where women are not allowed.

On November 13th the Super Court admitted 49 review petitions, adjourned the hearing to January 22nd 2019, an open hearing would be heard, but there is no stay order on the judgement of September 28th for entry of women of all ages, into Sabarimala Shrine.

Now Ms. Desai has sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri Pinarai Vijayan and the DSP of Kerala police that she and her brigade of (6), totally 7 women are coming to Sabarimala on November 17th to offer their prayers, following the Supreme Court’s adjournment to Jan 22nd and no stay order on the original Judgement of September 28th on last Tuesday. She and her brigade should be given full protection against protests by staunch devotees right from her entry into and exit from the State. The Temple will open on November 16th for Mandala-Makaravillaku season for the next two months till January 20th 2019. Her decision has come at a crucial stage where the issue has not yet been given any concrete decision by the SC.

The Congress Chief Sri. Ramesh Chennithala and BJP Chief P.S. Sreedharan of Kerala state have in unison requested the State, though no stay has been made, the Government should stop being stubborn by making women enter the Sabarimala Shrine and Government towards this issue has proposed a meeting today to discuss for futher course of action on the entry of women into the temple this Mandala-Makaravillaku season where normally NO WOMEN ARE ALLOWED.

The women of Kerala between 10 and 50 years of age and the devotees are very clear that no women shall enter the Shrine, keeping in mind the traditions and customs of the said temple. Ms. Desai there are so many womanly issues that you can concentrate on, like getting Capital Punishment for the rapists-murderers, protecting women against domestic violence, protecting children, women from all crimes meted out. let the Temples do their duty of maintaining their own system, pattern of Pooja, customs. Despite all your attempts how many women enter the temples you have gained entry into against the norms, is the question?

 

-Vijayashree Ramesh

The writer is an advocate based at Chennai.