Kerala

Sabarimala curbs are not discriminatory: historian

S. Jayashanker  

Denial of entry for women of child-bearing age to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple has been a centuries-old practice strictly adhering to the tantric concept of purity and pollution.

It has nothing to do with any sort of sexual discrimination, said S. Jayashanker, renowned historian and former Deputy Director of Census Operations.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Jayashanker said the Hindu concept of “purity and pollution” was very broad and complex. It was an integral part of India’s rich cultural heritage and had substantial variance between regions and sects.

The 84-year-old historian has to his credit 13 volumes on ‘Temples in Kerala’ published by the Census Department attached to the Government of India.

1956 notification

According to him, a notification issued by the Kerala government on November 27, 1956, states: “In accordance with the fundamental principles underlying the ‘pratishtha’ (installation) of the venerable holy and ancient temple of Sabarimala, Ayyappans (devotees) who had not observed the usual vows as well as women who had attained maturity were not in the habit of entering the temple for darshan (worship) by climbing the Pathinettampadi [18 steps].’’

Women employees of the temple, during their menstrual period, were compulsorily given special leave during the period to avoid “pollution” and any kind of expiatory rite on that account. The Travancore Devaswom Board still follows this practice.

According to him, the deity too enjoys certain fundamental rights.

The trespasses, if any, to his abode by non-allowable women would affect the fundamental right of the deity and hence his right has to be fully protected, he said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 11:21:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sabarimala-curbs-are-not-discriminatory-historian/article25420814.ece

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