Costs for personal beliefs?
Gender equality is highly debated issue around the world on the same lines social activist Vidya Bal and senior advocate Neelima Vartak had filed a PIL on allowing women to enter Shani Shingnapur temple of Maharashtra. On which the Bombay high court asked Maha govt to not denay women the entry at the temple it sought implementation of the Maharashtra Hindu Places of Public Worship (entry Authorization) Act, 1956 as per this Act, prohibiting any person from entering a temple would attract six months in jail. Following this judgment which actually disappointed many so called ardent believers of such traditions, leading to vague and misleading reactions to the extent that Shankaracharaya of Dwaraka-Sharda Peeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati saiod that, “Women entered Shani temple’s inner sanctum. The women are worshipping Shani in the temple. By doing so, Shani’s eyes would fall on women and this would result in increase of rape incidents,” the 94-year-old seer told news agency ANI, he also blamed the worship of Shirdi Sai Baba as the cause for drought in parts of Maharashtra.
Why are women not allowed to enter?
The age long tradition of patriarchy which depicted menstruating women as impure, this is a 400 year old tradition, and tradition, custom and religion are different aspects of an individual life there can obviously be a link in both of them but they are different especially according to Indian constitution the religious beliefs can be practiced by anyone willing to do so and it is their basic fundamental right but tradition, custom is not enforceable by constitution and women entering temples is a part of tradition and not religion. Indian constitution allows every individual to be treated equally and it is the basic fundamental right to do so.
‘Menstruating women are impure’, this statement is justified in Manu Smriti but in Hindu religion this is not the supreme scripture and its authenticity itself is quite doubtful. The supreme source of Hindu religion is Bhagwad Gita and it depicts about equality. Hence, this conception is rather a taboo without a strong religious base.
The above comment is very disappointing as the people who protect the religion or maintain the authenticity of any religion are themselves guided with misconceptions and no clear opinions.
But in my opinion it is the same twists and turns followed to remove a particular tradition deeply rooted in the minds of the people, such hostility was faced even during the abolition of sati, by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, and giving equal education to women by jyotirao phule but today such wrong customs are to a great extent out of our culture and women entering temples and their equal rights is one such thing which hopefully after many years will also be completely disappeared.
There are around five lakh temples in Maharashtra and approximately 600,000 temples in whole of India but there exist very few temples which prohibit women’s entry. Hence, the change is possible.
Modernization of attitude is needed here, it not only means mere equality but it is guided by acceptability, revolution and the readiness to adopt to changes.
The change is not impossible, but some things are needed to be cleared such as to believe which religious scriptures or believing in the aspects of humanity which extends towards gender equality. Some women follow the customs and traditions and choose to stay abided by them but the ones who actually believe in quality in all sorts of life should surely be granted what they believe. It’s good to believe in things but others are not obliged to believe them to too. Thus, our acceptability and respect towards others beliefs is what will bring a change.