The shingle in the neck of the nine-year-old girl amidst the ruckus of not giving entry to women in Kerala’s famous Sabarimala temple has attracted everyone’s attention. On the plate reads a message: “Lord Ayyappa, I am 9-years old now, I will come to this temple next time when I am 50 years old”. Below the sentence in Malayalam appears one in English: “Ready to wait”.
Nine-year-old Hrudayakrishna, who came to Sabarimala with her father Harikrishnan, said, “This is the third time I have come to Sabarimala and, according to the tradition of the temple, now I can come only when I am 50 years old. That’s why I decided to wear this plank.”
Women of 10 to 50 years are barred from entering this Ayyappa temple on the hill of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala as. However, despite the removal of these restrictions by the Supreme Court, there is strong opposition to the arrival of women of menstrual ages.
Harikrishnan, a resident of Kerala, who lives in Bengaluru, said that he wanted to give only one message about the tradition and culture of the Sabarimala temple and so his younger daughter wore a plaque around her neck. Earlier, Sabarimala was opened on Saturday for two months of darshan.
The agitation over women’s entry into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa has witnessed several ironies in the past one year. Here are the most glaring ones.
- While devotion to Lord Ayyappa had been witnessed mainly in the south Indian States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, a rent-a-cause activist bearing a Gujarati name, Trupti Desai, suddenly got super-excited about pushing herself into the shrine.
- Women who belong to the sect are not interested in forcing their way through to the shrine of Lord Ayyappa; in fact, they are on the forefront of the ‘Ready to Wait’ campaign.
- Communists, who are generally atheists, suddenly got interested in ways that a sect worships its deity in whom Karl Marx would have no faith.
- Communist and Muslim women made a beeline for Sabarimala to drive home the political points of secularism and gender equality.
- The Muslim community, known for moral policing, did not excommunicate woman activist Rehana Fathima for going topless but ostracised her for trying to enter a place of worship of kafirs. Here, hate for Hindus became stronger than love for the purdah.