Post SC verdict, Kerala woman observes 41-day fast to go to Sabarimala

Reshma Nishanth, a devotee from Kannur, requested the government and people to support her in her pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple.
Post SC verdict, Kerala woman observes 41-day fast to go to Sabarimala
Post SC verdict, Kerala woman observes 41-day fast to go to Sabarimala

In a Facebook post on Sunday, 32-year-old Reshma Nishanth, a woman from Kannapuram in Kannur, announced that she is observing her 41-day penance to visit Sabarimala, following the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the temple.

“I have been observing a fast for years without wearing the mala (a chain usually made of Rudraksha or Tulasi beads), knowing for sure that I will never be able to go to Sabarimala. With the Supreme Court verdict allowing women, I now have a deep desire to visit Lord Ayyappa. Although I don’t intend to start a revolution by entering the temple, I feel that a devotee preparing to climb the Sabarimala will energise lakhs of devotees who would want to visit the temple later,” Reshma wrote in her post.

Wearing all black she said that she is observing all the customs that are followed before climbing the hill.

“I have relinquished eating fish and meat, I have worn the chain, stayed away from carnal desires, prayed to Ayyappa and have him in my mind. I will also be carrying the bundle (kettu nirakkal) to go to Sabarimala,” she writes.

Regarding questions about her menstrual cycle, Reshma wrote, “Just like sweat, faeces and urine, I will consider that too as waste material excreted out of our body and undertake the penance with full purity,” she said

She concluded the post saying that when it comes to faith, there is no difference between men and women and requested the government and people to support her in her pilgrimage.

Reshma alleged that she has been receiving threats from people in her town.

“Yesterday, around 50 people protested outside at my home with lit lamps and singing Ayyappa bhajans. I knew their intention was to intimidate me and my family and I decided to call the police,” she told Manorama News.

Reshma added that it wasn’t just her but a group of female devotees who planned the pilgrimage to Sabarimala when the temple opened during the month of Vrischikam. “Devotees who are women will definitely enter Sabarimala; I’m living proof of that,” Reshma added. However, there has been much controversy over her post with devotee groups digging up Facebook posts of her husband last year in which he had posted pictures of non-vegetarian being cooked in their house during the mandalam period. Reshma has been trolled a lot using these screenshots, with many people calling her a fake devotee.

Supporting all devotees who have planned to visit the temple, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran said that the party will support them in their endeavour.

Ramachandran also requested people not to turn Sabarimala into a conflict zone and accused BJP of trying to turn the temple into another Ayodhya. Congress is with those who are ready to observe the customs and traditions and visit the temple, KPCC president said in a statement.

EP Jayarajan, Minister for Industry and Sports in Pinarayi government, too said that Reshma and other devotees who plan to visit the temple has his full support. “Believers can protect their belief and go ahead. Believers, as part of their prayer and faith in Lord Ayyappa, have the freedom to visit Sabarimala; denying that is a violation of constitutional right, violation of democracy, against god and an atrocity. How can a government not follow the court’s orders?,” he said in an interview to Asianet.

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