The Standoff at Sabarimala


Click to enlargeAFP/Getty Images

❝ In India, they tell us that women can be anything we wish. We can be fighter-jet pilots, corporate CEOs, paratroopers, athletes — and, of course, prime minister. (We never get tired of reminding Americans of this, since the United States is still waiting for its first female head of state.)

But God forbid we dare to argue that, in 2019, menstruation should not bar us from praying at a temple. What sort of global power can the world’s largest democracy aspire to be when our monthly period is still used to make women feel like polluted pariahs who must be kept at a distance? Is this not repugnant modern-day untouchability?

❝ Last week, a 620-kilometer “women’s wall” made up of an estimated 5 million protesters drew global attention to the shame unfolding at the Sabarimala shrine in the southern Indian state of Kerala. For more than two months, there have been violent protests and riots over the entry of women at Sabarimala. According to mythology, Lord Ayyappa, the deity at the 800-year-old temple, was a bachelor god who took a vow of celibacy and set clear rules for the pilgrimage to seek his blessings. And thus, by custom, women in their reproductive years must keep away.

The women’s wall is a fight for what agitators are calling “renaissance values.” Mobilized by the left-wing government in Kerala, the women, with their arms outstretched in determined defiance, occupied all the national highways across the state to protest the brazen discrimination at the temple. It may well have been the largest single gathering of women in the world.

RTFA. Don’t tell me how India is going to surpass China as the leading economic force in Asia. Please.

As long as spooky religious ideology holds political sway in a nation in the modern era, that nation is guaranteeing minor status for itself on the world stage. Start that way – or convert – and you are done for unless government and law resume normal service with justice for all.

2 thoughts on “The Standoff at Sabarimala

  1. संकट says:

    “Sabarimala is an issue of faith, Tharoor explains his stand” (Malayalam News site 1/11/19)
    https://english.manoramaonline.com/news/columns/straight-talk/2019/01/11/shashi-tharoor-on-sabarimala-women-entry.html [Shashi Tharoor is an Indian politician, writer and a former career international diplomat who is currently serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, since 2009. Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry by the Malayali people, and it is one of 22 scheduled languages of India].
    “Women visited this sacred temple. Then violent protests broke out. Why?” (National Geographic 1/9/19) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/01/sabarimala-temple-india-kerala-protests/ “The southern Indian state of Kerala is currently experiencing one of the most violent periods of unrest in its history. Over 100 people have been injured, one has died and close to 5,800 have been arrested this month, and the U.S. and U.K. have just issued travel advisories to its citizens visiting Kerala.
    …Some political analysts note that the mob violence appears to be orchestrated by right-wing Hindu nationalist groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), considered the parent organization of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which helms India’s central government.
    By opposing the Supreme Court verdict—as well as Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister from the Communist Party of India (Marxist)—the BJP is said to be positioning itself as a defender of religion and representative of larger factions of Indian society in the run-up to 2019 parliament elections.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.