The Nair Service Society and the BJP continue to protest against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of menstruating ages to enter the Sabarimala temple but a group of prominent writers, cultural figures and activists have come out with a statement calling the verdict ‘a milestone in the paths of reformation’.
“This crucial judgment is one which that would accelerate human society’s movement against injustice and gender inequality that exists in the spheres of faith and worship,” the statement issued on Wednesday says.
The statement has been signed by nearly 30 people including Poet Sachithanandan, historian MGS Narayanan, writer B Rajeevan, writer and activist Sarah Joseph.
“Instead of the welcoming the judgment wholeheartedly, there are vested interests using the verdict to create conflicts and communally polarize the society for their vote mobilisation. Many women, who are housewives, are becoming a part of this movement, mesmerized by the ‘magic of faith’,” the statement reads.
Writers N Prabhakaran, T D Ramakrishnan, S Hareesh, Susmesh Chanthroth, activist P Geetha, poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar, writer and activist, Khadija Mumthaz have also endorsed the statement.
“How can we forget the fact that even in Kerala, lower caste men, who constitute the majority of devotees, were denied entry to temple till the first quarter of the last century in the name of customs and practices. We should remember that it was because of the temple entry agitations led by leaders like K Kelappan, Krishna Pillai and AK Gopalan that a vast majority of people were able to enter temple premises,” the statement said.
It further reads, “This democratic era should give women the fundamental human rights which male-dominated priesthood has denied them. The political parties that stand in the way of the progressive paths of democracy and justice will definitely face the merciless trial of history. It is ridiculous that the BJP which is leading the fight to oust devotees who form half the population (women) out of the temples, acts as if they have a monopoly over Hindu faith. It is the misfortune of our democracy that modern democratic organizations that should be committed to introduce and teach progressive values of democracy and humanity to people have come out to wage a war against a fair judgment.”
It concludes, “Progressive Kerala cannot bow down to upper caste-right wing-communal agenda that aims precariously to polarize society on communal lines and project this as some ‘second struggle for liberation’. Those who believe in democracy should come out against those shouting to defeat Kerala in the garb of protecting customs.”
(Liberation Struggle was fought against the first elected Communist government in the state in 1958.)