Interview: Jayamala who entered Sabarimala in 1986, now advocates women rights
Bengaluru, Jan 15: An evolutionary observation by the apex court on Sabarimala shrine barring women of menstruating age group (10- 50) has invoked a new dimension to the whole process of suppression on religious rights of women.
The SC took strong objection on the practice asking the temple governing body, Travancore Devaswom Board- do you have constitutional right to prevent the entry of women inside the temple? The SC's three judge special bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra added that no temple or governing body can restrict the entry of women into Sabarimala.
Here is a bold lady, who stoked controversy by stepping inside the sanctum sanatorium of the Ayyappa Swamy worship place and touched the feet of the idol. It has to be historically recalled that former popular actress and MLC Jayamala set her foot into the temple in 1986, when she was 27.
In June 2006, a team led by noted astrologer P Unnikrishna Panicker performed a four day Devaprasnam (a Pooja to invoke god/astrological finding of flaws) at the temple and he claimed to be revealed that there was signs of women taking entry to the temple. Subsequently, Jayamala admitted that she had entered the temple way back in 1986.
A complaint had been filed in this regard and case was on in Kerala High Court. In a legal victory, HC quashed the charge sheet filed by the police on the basis of astrological findings in 2012.
A popular Kannada actress, Jayamala, after SC's latest observation spoke to OneIndia detailing women ordeal due to outdated practices, changing perspective of the society, socio-religious evolution and spirituality.
Emotionally stoked Jayamala was quick to hail the SC observation in her early telephonic conversation. She in a loud voice said the 'Constitution of India' provide no space in any manner for the discrimination on the gender grounds. Former star opined the practice in the 21th century is outdated as norm has not evolved along evolving time.
She elaborating her view expressed that "illogical and unscientific arguments putforth by the Travancore Devaswom authorities to maintain the practice intact is unacceptable and in other means deprivation of rights of women prescribed in the constitution.
"For God all of us are equal. We are his children. Then how can temple authority deny entry to woman at her menstruating age," Jayamala asks. We have seen practices like Sati system, Devadasi vanishing from the society as social reformers found brutality and atrocity carefully perpetuated against women. "The society has to evolve with moving time," she stressed.
Jayamala says female too pray to God and she too wants to engage in spiritual and platonic union with the God in a place designed for spiritual visit. "I am not speaking against temple authority but I am speaking for religious rights for women."
When asked about Devaprasnam in which P Unnikrishna Panicker claimed of unearthing the truth, she said, "I don't want to speak on ordeal days but we have won the case in the Kerala High Court."
Jayamala sarcastically directed her arguments towards celibate God and practice of celibacy contending that women are not visiting the temple because there stays a male. The women wants to shares few things, which she cannot share with her husband, father, mother and children. "Let us also have the privilege to see the God."
Presumably for many women after crossing 50 there is nothing much to share as young age is a time span for high spirits and hopes. The temple cap is from 10 to 50 and there are instances in the society, even a nine-year-old girl enter menstruation cycle.
When asked about argument of London educated Rahul Eshwar and grandson of senior supreme priest of Sabarimala that was published in a news media, she said Eshwar has no option but to back the claims of Travancore Devaswom with all argumentative spins.
In the 21th century there are pills to post pone menstrual cycle and temple has to modify the norm making it relevant to current time. To enter the temple, one's heart must be pure. "Women should be allowed to seek blessings from the God who is resting on the hill," Jayamala reiterated
However Jayamala maintained that women cannot enter temple when she is menstruating and it is self rule imposed by herself.