A group claiming to represent women devotees of Kerala moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday, saying the members were ready to wait till the age of 50 to enter the famed Sabarimala temple. The group has termed the petitioners, who have approached the apex court against the restriction on women’s entry into the temple, “feminists” and their cause “White Man’s Burden to civilise unwashed pagans.”
‘People for Dharma’, a Chennai-based organisation, told the Supreme Court that its campaign, called ‘Ready to Wait’, was the antithetical voice to the popular ‘Right to Bleed’ and ‘Right to Pray’ movements seeking equal rights for women to worship.
“By appointing themselves the champions of the rights of women devotees, what the feminist petitioners actually imply is that the devotees are incapable of fighting for themselves. That’s one kind of classism too. It is a modern version of the ‘White Man’s Burden’ to civilise unwashed pagans,” said their application, filed through advocate Suvidutt M.S.
The group sought to intervene in the pending litigation on Sabarimala temple entry rights for women aged between 10 and 50.
The temple entry case is likely to come up for hearing before a three-judge Bench led by Dipak Misra as soon as the court re-opens on November 7.
People for Dharma said the “feminist petitioners” had “absolutely no clue to the scientific and philosophical basis of a temple and falsely and foolishly equate the practices of Santana Dharma with the inborn discrimination in Semitic religions.”
“Campaigns popularly titled as ‘Happy to Bleed’, ‘Right to Pray’ are mere initiatives which serve as case studies showing how ‘equality discourses’ are being utilised to undermine Adhyatmic traditions of Sanatana Dharma and prepare the ground for harvest by Abrahamic ideologies,” the application said.
The application said there was no prohibition on women’s entry in Sabarimala. Women below 10 years and above 50 years were allowed to have the darshan of the deity.
“Some temples even celebrate the menstrual phase of women,” the group said citing the cases of Kamakhya temple in Assam and the Devi temple in Kerala’s Chenganoor. “This alone is enough to expose the hollowness of the claim that Sanatana Dharma discriminates menstruating women,” the application said.