Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Gods are male, they hate women: Why fighting for entry to temples is futile

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For women, fight for independence is much more important than entry to temples like Sabarimala.

The protests against the Supreme Court Sabarimala temple order show that some places in the world are still inaccessible to women, all the magniloquent talk of equality in a democratic world notwithstanding.

Mount Athos in Greece is one such place where the entry of women is forbidden. Not only women, but even female animals are also not allowed. Mount Athos houses orthodox monasteries where about 2,000 Russian and Greek monks reside. The same system of prohibiting women is followed on Mount Omine in Japan. At its gate, “No woman admitted” is written. Still, the UNESCO declared it a world heritage site.

India, too, has many places where women are barred like Mawali Mata Mandir in Chhattisgarh, Kartikeya Mandir at the Haryana-Punjab border, Kamakhya temple in Assam, Mangal Chandi Mandir in Jharkhand, Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan, and Shri Padmanavaswami Temple, Shri Krishna Temple and Sabarimala in Kerala.

Also read: Not just a bar at Sabarimala, menstruation has got women ostracised & labelled witches

Women cannot enter some of these religious precincts because the Gods there are believed to be celibates. At Shani Shingnapur in Maharashtra, women do not have access to the sanctum sanctorum. And women could not even move around Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. Now, after the intervention of the court, they can go there, but not the inner sanctum. The sanctum sanctorum is considered ‘pure’ and women are considered ‘impure’; so they are kept at bay.

Traditionally, women bore and brought up children, served their husbands and in-laws but did not get any respect or rights. Time changed; now women are no longer house-bound. They have become engineers, doctors, professors, lawyers, judges and topnotch professionals and scientists. They have even gone to space. In politics, they have become heads of states and governments. But all this could not disabuse them of the tag of ‘impurity’ labelled over them by patriarchal society.

The Supreme Court of India declared the practice of not allowing women of menstruating age into Sabarimala as violating the right to equality granted by the Constitution. But for the priests and devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the decision of the apex court does not hold water in the face of the old tradition. They did not allow women to enter Sabarimala, defying the court’s order, and surprisingly, many women devotees joined the male protestors. The attitude of political parties is ambivalent as they fear losing Hindu votes and so fight shy of taking a clear stand.

Religion is patriarchy and misogyny. No religion accepts equality of women. The reason because of which Sabarimala bans women’s entry is the same that of Haji Ali Dargah or Mount Athos.

Also read: On Sabarimala, blame out-of-touch Indian liberal elite not the court

However, I also wonder whether the people who want women’s entry into Sabarimala by any means think that it will give women equality. Many misogynistic rituals such as shashti, sindoor khela, karwa chauth are celebrated with fanfare and gusto. Even in marriage, the hymns chanted ensure the wife’s subservience to the husband. It was thought that Muslim women would get equality once the practice of triple talaq is banned. Such an absurd thought! Muslim women do not have equal rights under sharia laws that still exist.

We must not forget that women are oppressed because they are born as women. Incidents of rape, gangrape and sexual assault are rampant. Women suffer because of poverty, they are persecuted for dowry, and face domestic violence.

The body and mind of a woman are controlled by men. Female animals are not subjugated and tortured in the jungle the way women in the civilised world are. Animals enjoy equality, we don’t. We created religious places to worship imaginary Gods who are misogynist. Then why do women need to go to temples and mosques? Why do they need to bow down before the deities who treat women as impure, inferior, untrustworthy and untouchable. Women face problems at every step in this patriarchal society, but the truth is, temples and mosques are not going to resolve them.

The stand of Hindu fanatics in the Sabarimala case against the court emboldens Muslim extremists who always oppose judicial interference in their religious laws. They want to perpetuate their age-old anti-women laws. They refuse to be modern. Thus, Hindu and Muslim obscurantists think and act alike. The best solution is to go beyond one’s religious identity. One should say, “You are bad, but why should I not be good?” Instead, religious fanatics say, “You are bad, so why should I not be bad as well?”

Society is evolving. The feminist movement has been trying to change the patriarchal mindset but religious authorities and fundamentalists frustrate it in the name of upholding traditions based on misogyny.

Once upon a time, religious authorities enjoyed absolute power. Naturally, they did not want any dilution of their power. So, they always opposed any reforms. Countries which sidelined religion grew and progressed. Reformers throughout history have tried to make religion humane and free from cruelty and barbarism. In the past, there have been some rulers who tried to reform religion. But today’s rulers praise religion knowing that religion is anti-democracy, anti-women, and anti-free speech. They do not want to separate state from religion completely. If India is a truly secular state, it must not have religious laws. Laws should be based on equality and justice for all—Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians. One country, one law.

Also read: Girls, why do you want to go to temples like Sabarimala at all?

If women do not have the freedom to enter mandirs, mosques, churches, pagodas, so be it. I do not think it will harm them at all. Gods are male; they hate women. What women need the most is freedom from anti-women religious laws, and freedom from the barbarism of patriarchy. Women need education, healthcare, independence, and security. The fight for these is much more necessary and important than the fight to enter temple or mosque.

Taslima Nasreen is a celebrated author and commentator.

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  1. ThePussy media, is showing us the correct value of equality. And why it is doing? Profit? I mean, the way it earn, sabrimalay or dargha they don’t give them pent or pleasure but certainly such women empowerment does. Nobody in the media world is helper of society? They are wolf! They sell trouble to us so we can read its news!

    • How dare women think they are human, allah said that hell was full of women and that women were domestic animals.

  2. Tasleema nasreen is a fool apart from sabarimala all the temples she mentioned allows women entry, even sabarimala does but conditionally on the basis of age , The lord ayyapa has 5 temples in Kerala celebrating his life at different ages as a child and as a brahmchari (in sabarimala his brahmcharya stage of life is preached ) brahmachari is the one who never married hence comes the restriction on women in menstrual cycle , the religion is a personal issue hence supreme court intervention was unwarranted as the same SC do not entertain PIL on Haji Ali dargah entry issue because it is related to so called 20+ crore minority and Hindu temple issue relates to majority Hindu hence SC felt the need to intervene because Art 25 to 30 only give protection to minority hence it is an efficient way of indirectly interfering with Hindus exclusively leaving the affairs of other religions in their own hands , Sometimes I wonder why a narrative is created by all the media about Hindus being wrong. Shame on you Print and shame on tasleema Nasrin who don’t have a clue about Hindu and Hinduism and yet permit writing fake articles

  3. If hindu young women doesn’t want to enter sabarimala why should others worry about it… Our hindu sisters knows very well about sabarimala.. And they are ready to wait till the time comes.. There is no ban for women before 10 as a child after 50 as mothers no problem…. Who want to enter the temple is non hindus.. What is the business with hindu temple for a non hindu women.. If it continues we hindus also start our play.. We will require a women priest in churches.. We will seek women moulavies.. And we ask to muslim men wear burkha..

  4. One small correction. Women can very well enter into the Kamakhya temple. Fully agree with the basic spirit of the article.

    • Really so the lowest of the low us evil nonhuman females are allowed to enter into a male god temple??? So what I hate you women hating assholes. We know that allah hates women so we now know that god does as well!!

  5. It’s so pathetic to read this article. It has completly missed or intentionally missed the depth of cultures, traditions and values and their religious significance of holding these traditons. You can jugde ppls belief only on parameters of constitutional rights.

  6. The author seems to be completely unaware of certain basic facts:

    There are so many devis worshipped in Hindu religion, so dont understand what she means by saying God is Male. It may be the case with the Abrahamic religions but not with Hindus

    The Kamakhya temple, Guruvayur krishna temple, the Jain temple in Rajasthan and many others she mentioned allow women to enter the temple. Not sure what she means. Gone nuts. The Print publishes such articles without any cross checking the facts.

    It is because of such amount of journalism that genuine readers of your news site feel let down. Bad journalism

  7. Sir
    I in full agreement with you. However with due respect, we have allowed ourselves to be driven by Babu’s. None of us had Guts to challenge them. You know better than me, How selfish are we when it comes to promotions.
    We need to teach Ethics and Morality to our officers and men. This must be part of our training. Regards

  8. My sister got brainwashed with Leftism, went to the extent of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and injuring her health just to prove that she is equal to men. She rebels against everything to an extent where people doubt her sanity. Her peri oral area appears like chimney because of years of smoking.

  9. “Freedom from anti-women religious laws”? How? When the verdict of SC is being neglected! Verdict against TIN TALAQ and verdict against Prohibition of females irrespective of age in entering the TEPMPLES are nothing but the solid steps to move forward to destroy the negativity of patriarchal thoughts. Who were “they” behind making of the religions guidelines? “They” all were males!

  10. You did not respect Islam.You hated our beloved profet.That is why you were thrown out of your country.Since then you are opposing Islam.Unfortunately you have mistaken Muslims as Islam.Never tried to know true Islam.I think you should study the Quran & try to know the true religion and repent.Allah may guide you.

  11. Fortunately, Sikhism celebrates womenhood. ‘How can you call bad who gives birth to kings?’ ‘Menstruation is a monthly phenomenon given by nature’ , says the Guru. Sikh women pray at the gurudwara and even cook langar, regardless of age and menstrual cycle. For the Supreme Being is Nirakar, formless, without caste, religion or gender.

    • First know in-depth knowledge of all religion.Sikhism born out of Hinduism and Islam 400years ago was to runaway from caste system.Punjab still has highest number of SC/ST population. Conversion to Sikhism has not brought any difference to the people ( the Sikhism is nothing but creation of another group like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Saghguru, but took a religious connotation),the truth of Sikhism comes during marriage when your caste is required.Are you from Jat ? Sidhu? Hinduism is so wide and diverse ,it’s stupidity to club all rituals in one. Kerala Hindus eat Beef,where as north it’s a sin. Kerala Hinduism does not follow vedic but tantric.women are allowed in majority of the Hindu temples.unfortenately every living and non-living are worshipped by Hindus by different ways. Many Kerala Hindu temples men are required to remove their top dress. So In the name of equality let us not get into ladies toilet.There needs minimum common sense.

  12. Are you full of hatred because you are not welcome in your country or you are not welcome there because of your hatred?
    In life there are two things. Duty and rights. People talk only about rights. But in Hinduism duty comes first and right comes next. You have to earn your rights by performing your duties. Many people have forgotten this and talk only about rights. What are the duties of a daughter? What are the duties of a son. What are the duties of a Monther? What of the father. Please try to find out about these. Once you know these all the rights will be meaningless. These rights are taken care by these duties.
    Expanding on the basic duties there are duties of a devotee. In this case duty comes after you have asked something from the deity. I asked for something from Ayyappa and I got it. Now I am duty bound to protect the rights of Ayyappa to stay a Naishtika brahmachari. All those protesting there are doing their duty. Some judges sitting in Delhi do not know basics of the country. Country is doomed when they interpret constitution to their understanding. There are many questions un answered in the judgement.
    1. Who is a devotee? Can a person call self a devotee if the person does not respect the will of the deity.
    2. What about the rights of deity? Temple is the house of the deity and devotees are care takers.
    3. Who is harmed by the prohibition of entry?

    These questions are not answered in the judgement. That is the reason you see protests. If they had tried to answer these questions then lot of english liberals would have written it is a bad judgement. But no devotee would have been upset. Kerala high court gave a well considered judgement based on which entry of women of reproductive age is prohibited.

    • She isn’t welcome there because of its obscurantist religion and its fighting modernity and gender equality. You make a very compelling case for Hinduism to be the same and comments like the one above are all the propaganda an observant Hindu needs to become an atheist

  13. We create gods in our image. The correct phrase in fact is, Man created God in his own image. So it is time to widen the pantheon a bit, moving on from Saraswati, Lakshmi – Indians’ true favourite – and Ma Durga. Women must fight to enter Haji Ali, Sabarimala, and society / the judiciary should stand by them. Not because visiting a temple or a mosque has great inherent value but because it becomes a symbol of their equality and emancipation.

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