All the major world religions discriminated against women and being biased against them. One way or another, women have been suffering greatly in their own religions and religious intuitions. They tried to control women in every possible way. The religions are ready to strike with a sword if the women are menstruating.
Menstruating Women were stigmatized as impure in almost every religion. This seems to be a misogynistic attitude by them because, in their view, menstruating women are impure. It is disgusting that menstruating women were treated badly by their religions for their natural process.
This misogynistic attitude affects hundreds of millions of women all across the world and be widely condemned as unfair and archaic. In the 21st century, it is unjust and unlawful to discriminate against human beings for their color, race, and gender.
Interestingly, we still see a ghostly and opalescent similarity among the religions when it comes to controlling the womenfolk in the name of religious purity. If one religion is less stringent about its women, then the other religions are most stringent about them. But women and the feminine are the targets for onslaughts of limitation and repression in every religion. The repressive laws of religions still take women rights back to the dark ages.
All women should be allowed access to their religious institutions irrespective of their physical conditions. But Muslim women are not allowed to Nizamuddin Dargah's inner sanctum in New Delhi. Muslim Women were banned from entering into the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai since 2011.
Half a millennium ago Roman Catholic Church had gone through reformation and it still goes on, and yet a woman can't be a priest in a Catholic Church anywhere in the world. The Jane shrine in Ranakpur, Rajasthan has prohibited menstruating women from entering into it. A Hindu woman can't do a pooja when menstruating.
As legend has it that the Hindu god of growth Ayyappa has been practicing brahmacharya. It can be translated as the Ayyappa god is going after Brahman, the Divine creator. There are Ayyappa temples all across Kerala and beyond. But
Sabarimala Mandir in Kerala doesn't allow menstruating women into its premises when other Ayyappa temples let menstruating women enter into their temples. Women can visit the temple only if they are not menstruating. This is a public temple, so everybody has the right to access it.
The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India opened the doors of Sabarimala temple for the menstruating Keralite women in September last year, ruling that the ban violated the articles 14 and 25 of the Indian constitution. The judges said "Temple is not a private property; it is a public property," The lone woman judge on the bench, Indu Malhotra dissented with the other judges, saying courts must not interfere with the issues concerning "deep religious sentiments". The Hindu women in Kerala now have the right to enter and say their prayers.
It would be hard for the law enforcement agonies to implement the court's order as it is very difficult to change attitudes and the archaic mindsets of Keralites, which have become so deeply entrenched over the years. The avowed traditionalists are against reform of any kind. It seems they are still the majority. So they are not letting menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala temple. It seems it is not going away with one verdict.
The hard-line Hindus will be trying their best to defy the court's order. And, it is highly unlikely that the temple management will let the women enter into the temple. When this tradition is deeply ingrained into society, it would be difficult to enforce it overnight. It is high time to end the aged old tradition and let the menstruating women enter into the Sabarimala temple.
On Wednesday, last week, two women in their 40s with the police protection entered into the temple in the wee hours of the morning. The Keralite Women tried to enter into the temple many times in the past but at last week, they managed to get into it. The protesters paralyzed Kerala after women defied the ban. So many Hindu extremists and law enforcement agencies got injured in the fracas.
The writer, a Bangladeshi freethinker, is based in Toronto, Canada
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