I am tired of all the debate going on everywhere about Sabarimala. Before I launch into my rant, let me give the gist of the issue here.
There is an ancient temple in Kerala devoted to Lord Ayyappa located on a hilltop where women of menstruating age are not allowed to enter. Girls before they start menstruating and women after menopause can visit the temple. Now, many people have labelled this inequality and appealed to the court to allow women of all ages to enter the temple. Now, I don’t know what the court verdict is because I don’t give a rat’s ass what the court thinks about Sabarimala or its customs. I also don’t intend to give reasons for women not being allowed to enter the temple as I have seen many people do that and be mocked by the liberals and labelled regressive just for upholding their traditions.
Sabarimala is a sacred place. You do not just decide to go there one day and show up the next day. You have to exercise abstinence for 41 days, visit a nearby temple daily on each of those days, light a lamp in your home at twilight and pray. It is said that the abstinence should be practiced even in ones mind – thinking only good and positive thoughts. I went to Sabarimala when I was 7, as did my sister. We followed the traditions. If we want to visit Sabarimala again, we are ready to wait until 50. It is not as if it is the only temple devoted to Lord Ayyappa. We have Ayyappa temples nearby and we visit those temples often.
There are some who label this as Stockholm Syndrome as denying the right to enter a temple based on a natural biological condition shows the inherent misogyny of the patriarchal culture and by launching a #ReadyToWait campaign women are holding themselves captive of the patriarchy. Dear person who wrote that, do you know anything at all about the culture and traditions of Kerala? Do you know that there are festivals in Kerala specifically for women? Do you know that unlike some other religions, where women are not allowed to enter/pray alongside men, and where women are supposed to stay behind a curtain while her father and her groom conduct their marriage; we, the women of Kerala enter and worship in temples alongside our menfolk? Do you know that our festivals and celebrations are more inclusive of women than most others? Do you know about temples where women are solely the priestesses? If you do, you can be sure of the lack of misogyny in our culture. If you do and you still think that we or our menfolk are “holding women hostage”, you are deriving that inference from one observation out of many. Scientists would call that an outlier. I hope you have the basic science education to know what an outlier is. Now, if you do not know about any of these, then please do try to find out. Let me give you some other facts about Kerala to keep in mind. Even though small, Kerala boasts a rich heritage and culture. With 1084 females for every 1000 males, we are the only state in India with women as majority; that surely does speak scores about patriarchy, right? Also, women with higher education are almost outnumbering men with higher education in Kerala. Oppression, huh.
Oh, and since you mentioned Stockholm Syndrome, let me ask you this: Muslim women wearing burqa is freedom of choice, Christian nuns remaining celibate lifelong is freedom of choice, but Hindu women choosing not to go to a temple between the ages of 10 and 50 is Stockholm Syndrome. Thoughts?
It’s amazing how the learned ‘liberated’ writers of DnaIndia can detect patriarchal misogyny and Stockholm Syndrome in ONE hilltop temple(where the deity, by definition, is a lifelong celibate) out of millions of temples in India where women face no restriction in entry; and yet the same writers see neither patriarchal misogyny nor Stockholm Syndrome when women are disbarred from entering/praying alongside men in ALL places of worship of another religion.