How do we counter the sensitive gender-equality issue in India? Well, by resorting to a reverse gimmick, where the authority concerned will take back the “privilege” offered to men rather than extending it to woman.
In a twisted attitude on gender equality, trust of the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik (Maharashtra) decided on Sunday that no one – men or women – would be allowed inside the inner sanctum apart from three priests who offer the daily prayers. The trust hastily took this decision to dodge a Bombay High Court order that says that women should get equal access as men to temples in the state.
The ancient temple, located 30 kms from Nashik, is a major Lord Shiva shrine of the country, which has one of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas’, drawing devotees from far and wide.
The temple trust’s decision was taken in the backdrop of famous Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar’s Shignapur village when last Friday hostile villagers and the police prevented Bhumata Ranragini Brigade Trupti Desai and 25 other women activists from entering the inner sanctum. The trust, veiled its decision as a step to avoid ‘possible rush and accidents’.
This taboo of barring women from having a close view of god is practiced at various temples across India. The second-class treatment meted out to women is based on various socio-religious factors. Menstruating women are considered “impure”, by many Hindu sects, and the society believes that such a woman can enrage the revered deity.
Since mentioning the very word “menses” is such a no-no, the possibility of ascertaining whether a woman is in her “pure” or impure” stage is also not feasible, temples impose a blanket ban on women.
But the upholder of the sanctity of the divine world is challenged by a progressive judge, who throws all these archaic beliefs out of the window, in favour of a balanced view. Since challenging a court’s decision is not a clever thing to do, the next best solution that the priests find is, prevent men too.
The highly chauvinist views do not change. They would never let women be in their domain. They would rather bar the mortal men from viewing god up, close and personal.