Sabarimala
The video song asks why women cannot enter Sabarimala and also reminds viewers about the oppressive customs that used to prevail in Kerala society in the name of tradition.
Youtube Screengrab

As the Sabarimala temple is closed till November, the Kerala police has started taking action on the people who indulged in violence and attacked the women who wanted to exercise the right granted to them by the Supreme Court. In the thick of this battle, the People’s Art and Literary Association (PALA), which is associated with the CPI(ML), has come up with a video song, asking questions to those who oppose the entry of women in the menstruating age group into Sabarimala.

With a simple tune and catchy rhythm, the Tamil song with a few Malayalam lines, begins by asking why women of menstruating ages coming to the Sabarimala temple is considered impure and goes on to say much more than that. It explains the role of women in most male devotees keeping up their 41-days vow to pray at Sabarimala and also describes how the vows have diluted even among the male devotees these days.

Saying that Lord Ayyappa wouldn't doubt their intentions since he's vowed to be a celibate, and that the women don't doubt the intentions of the male devotees who've come there, they go on to suggest that it's the members of the Sangh Parivar who are creating issues in the hill temple - and that if they doubt their intentions, they should stay home. The song further goes on to remind viewers that Kerala, which is called 'God’s Own Country', had once had the tradition of forcing women not to wear an upper cloth and even imposed a breast tax. It also speaks of the exploitation of Nair women by Namboothiri men, a reference to the sambandham relationships of the past.

The video, which has around 25,000 views on YouTube and 12,000 views on ‘Vinavu’, which is the official page of PALA, has garnered a lot of comments from the viewers, many of which are abusive. Apart from making sexually coloured remarks against those in the video, the viewers have also resorted to filthy language in an attempt to defame and intimidate the producers of the video.

Sabarimala, the abode of Lord Ayyappa, was thrown open to women of all ages by the Supreme Court through its verdict on September 28. Since then, many Hindu groups have taken to the streets to oppose the verdict and express their displeasure over the apex court ‘interfering in their religious beliefs and traditions’. The tension reached the zenith when Sabarimala opened on October 17 for the monthly pooja and a few women who tried to enter the temple were attacked and forced to abandon their attempt to climb the shrine.

The Kerala police have filed cases and arrested hundreds of people and are still looking out for many others who were a part of the group that resorted to violence to enforce their religious beliefs.