Just when many women across the country welcomed the Bombay High Court’s verdict allowing women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai, a different kind of movement seems to be taking shape in Kerala.
After a national TV news channel aired a debate with #RightToPray recently, some Kerala women have taken to social media with counter debate- #ReadyToWait.
Sabarimala shrine in Patthanamthitta in Kerala does not allow entry of women of menstruating age, a practice that many women’s rights activists in and outside the state has condemned.
#Readytowait campaign emphatically dismisses that there is a ban on entry of women in Sabarimala. Saying that there is only a restriction of women of a particular age group, the campaign urges women to be made the decision-makers in the matter.
A Facebook update by a user Anjali George on Saturday calling for “customs of the native civilization to be left to the devotees of the temple”, has seemingly triggered off the campaign. Her status update has since been widely shared, with many women even posting photographs holding a placard that reads: #ReadyToWait.
Through the campaign, the women expressed their “willingness” to wait till the age of 55 for them to be allowed entry to the shrine and said that they in fact respect the tradition that restricts them entry.
Some others shared a message that says that the women-who are religious and devotees of lord Ayyappa-are ready to wait their entire youth to visit the temple at an age that is permitted according to tradition.
Condemning “atheists” who argue in favour of the entry of women, a user writes that traditions and rituals are meant not for atheists, but for believers.
Another user who says that she was unable to visit the shrine at an early age (below 10) writes that though she wishes to pray before the deity, she is particular not to do so by breaking centuries-old traditions.
The court and politicians are unnecessarily interfering in matters of religion and tradition, accuses yet another. She adds that women of Kerala have absolutely no opposition to the restriction.