Monday 1 October 2018 12:14 AM UTC
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court allowed the entry of women of all ages into Kerala’s renowned Sabarimala Temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board President, which runs the shrine, was “disappointed”, but said that they will accept the verdict.
Mr Easwar is the grandson of Sabarimala priest Kandararu Maheswararu, who died in May this year.
Several women say that they will not visit the temple till they hit menopause. The women cadres of Hindu outfits offered prayers in temples in Tamil Nadu with a promise that they would “wait” till they crossed 50 to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple, notwithstanding the Supreme Court verdict allowing them entry.
“For us, the ancient customs are important irrespective of whether a court agree with them or not,” a woman said on Saturday.
In a four-one majority verdict, the top court today revoked restrictions on women entering the temple following a 20-year legal battle, ruling that patriarchy cannot be allowed to trump faith.
“Our core argument is that presiding deity of Sabarimala shrine has some peculiarities. The deity is in the form of ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ and has certain rights to uphold the privacy of the deity. And the deity’s private space is the temple, so we were expecting a much more balanced verdict,” Mr Easwar said.
The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala has traditionally barred all women of menstruating age.
The temple’s rule emanated from the still widely-held belief in India that menstruating women are “impure”. The custom in the temple was challenged by a clutch of petitioners who argued that women cannot be denied the constitutional right to worship.
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