SC verdict on Sabarimala hailed: “Must keep re-inventing society with values of equity”
New Delhi/ Bengaluru, Sep 28: The Supreme Court's landmark verdict to allow women of all age groups in Kerala's Sabarimala Temple was hailed by many. While some said that it is a step in the right direction to restore women's right to worship, others said that it was shame that the top court had to intervene in this matter in first place.
The Supreme Court today lifted the ban on the entry of women into the Sabarimala Temple in the age group of 10 and 50. The Supreme Court has said that devotion cannot be subjected to gender discrimination. The court also said that a patriachal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion.
Chetak from Bengaluru told OneIndia that the unwavering commitment of the courts towards the Constitution and its tenets is something that must be lauded. He called for re-inventing the society with values of equity and fairness, or else, he warned, "Society will start degenerating."
The ban on entry of women between the ages 10-50 has been in place at Sabarimala for centuries. Madhurima Mishra from New Delhi said that this is just a beginning and lot more needs to done to ensure true gender equality.
"It was about time that people understand the SC's verdict . It is a matter of shame that the top court had to intervene in the first place. This shows we as a society are heavily crippled to make such decisions. Women are nowhere near equal. But thankful of the judiciary for this landmark verdict," she said.
The reason as to why this had been in practice for so many years are certain beliefs in our society which have lingered on for centuries. One such belief is that Sabarimala temple deity - Swami Ayyappa - is a 'Naishtika Brahmachari' or a celibate. It is this celibate nature of the deity which the temple authorities cite as a reason for not allowing women. Another reason is that 10- 50 years is considered, as per ancient customs, the age group for women during which they menstruate and according to Hindu traditions a woman is considered impure at this time.
"I am sure apart from the lores and myths about the real reason, as always there might have been a logical reasoning to this ban but it would have been relevant in that age and time. As far as I know, it is said that the Sabrimala temple is on the hills and considerably far away from villages or towns. This was perhaps also one of the reasons why women were asked to avoid this temple visit. But as we progress towards a more liberal society, with wide access to hygiene, security and other measures to safeguard our interests, we can slowly start doing away with those practices that don't seem too relevant in this age," said Shruti Kamath from Bengaluru.
She also said that the job caretakers of temples is to ensure smooth functioning of the shrine. "Let them not mistake themselves to be Messengers of God themselves," she added.
The Chief Justice of India said that women cannot be treated as lesser or weak. He said that in this country women are worshipped like Goddesses. Any physiological or biological factor cannot be given legitimacy if they don't pass the muster of credibility, the CJI further observed. Exclusion on the grounds of biological, physiological features like menstruation is unconstitutional and discriminatory, the SC Bench said.
Here is what some other people had to say about this ruling:
- "I feel, it is one's own free will and choice to believe, practice rituals, to have faith, to worship, to show devotion. One can not impose, to do and not," said Shashidhar DV from Mysuru.
- "I am happy with the verdict. It is step in the right direction. Lord Ayyappa never said that women should not visit the Sabarimala shrine, it is the people running the temple who have made such rules. This is a welcome change. There was a time when Dalits were not allowed in temples, now it has changed. We must change with times. God made women, it is wrong to say that we are impure because of a natural process (Menstruation)," said Bengaluru's Sowmya S.