“I am happy. What I feel is a great sense of self esteem, and not a bit of disappointment or sadness,” Kanakadurga says, following her ordeal.

Nothing can make me feel I was wrong to enter Sabarimala Kanakadurga to TNM
news Sabarimala Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 16:52

Kanakadurga is unruffled. Sent away from her home, beaten-up by her mother-in-law, admitted to a hospital for several days with a head injury, and now living in a government-run home for women – Kanakadurga has not let any of this eat away at her self esteem or her happiness. “True, I didn’t anticipate so much consequence,” says the 39-year-old woman who, along with Bindu Ammini, made history by entering the Sabarimala temple after the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry to women of all ages into the temple. “But I did know that there will be backlash, when one does something towards a social-public cause,” she tells TNM.

“Even the backlash from my family members, I anticipated,” Kanakadurga says, “although not to this extent. However, I am not even a bit disappointed. I have the mental strength – I am strong enough to face whatever it is that I need to.”

“Nothing can make me feel like I did anything wrong by entering the temple,” Kanakadurga says in an interview to TNM, “I am happy. What I feel is a great sense of self esteem, and not a bit of disappointment or sadness.”

Kanakadurga and Bindu Ammini entered the Sabarimala temple and prayed there on January 2, amidst protests and violence by people who are opposed to the entry of women in the menstruating age group inside the temple. After living in undisclosed locations for several days for safety reasons, Kanakadurga returned home to Angadipuram in Malappuram on January 15. However, her mother-in-law refused to let her inside the house, leading to a verbal scuffle between the two. The former then beat her with a wooden plank. Injured on her head, Kanakadurga was admitted in hospital first in Perinthalmanna and later shifted to Kozhikode.

On discharge she was moved to a home in Perinthalmanna on January 22 since her mother-in-law and husband remained stubborn that she won’t be allowed live in the house. Because of this, she hasn’t been able to see her children.

“After I left home on December 22 to worship at the temple, I was able to see my children only once when I returned to home on January 15. And even then, only for a few minutes. After that. till this moment I haven’t been able to contact them, nor do I have any information about them,” she says.

The state government run Civil Supplies Corporation employee has now filed a domestic violence complaint, since she her family is not letting her live with them. “I have moved the court and filed a domestic violence complaint since my husband didn’t allow me to stay at his home – where we used to live. I don’t want to gain anything else by moving against him. My sole intention is to live with my family and to see my children at the earliest,” she says.

“The court will consider my petition on Monday or Tuesday. I am hopeful that I will be able to rejoin my family soon,” she says, “I am eager to see my children.”

While so much has happened with her ever since the temple entry, Kanakadurga says that as an individual, she hasn’t changed since the worship at Sabarimala or the chaos that followed.

“But I’m content that I could be a part of change – a part of Renaissance. I’m happy that I can inspire other women who want to take the path not taken. I am happy that I am a part of change for women. I am peaceful,” she says.

“For those who have been trying to alienate me, I want to loudly say that I am not sad or disappointed. There are friends who relate with my ideologies, who have been with me throughout,” she says with a will power that can’t be defeated, “Yes my financial condition has worsened. There have been attempts to isolate me, there were people who behaved badly... who still behave badly. But that doesn’t affect me.”