Monday, 2 March 2020

Liberals and tradition

In the last two months we saw stiff opposition from hindus especially women against the order of the supreme court allowing entry of women into the precincts of Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala. This happening at a state where communism is having its last hold is significant. It goes to prove that Hindus after years of meek silence are coming of age as far as awareness is concerned. This coming after 5 decades of rule of forces which are inimical to Hindu culture and which resulted in hundreds of Hindu social workers mercilessly hacked to death, is an important change in the attitude of the people of that state. We can only say that it is better late than never that the Hindus have started raising their voice against the atrocities committed against them. Liberals who were turning a blind eye to the discriminations to men and women in other religions have started justifying the state’s eagerness in implementing the supreme court order. The courts and the political parties forgot that the temple is not a secular place where they can infuse their liberal ideas. There are traditions which are followed and respected for several centuries and if one wants to respect a faith they cannot do it at their own terms.

For Hindus the temple is a sacred place and the deity is a living entity. Therefore, it’s a serious violation of religious freedom to treat such a temple as a secular place. It is not place of just history or a museum. It’s somebody’s place of residence, somebody we worship. When the courts tread very carefully with regards to issues concerning the faith of other religions it is imperative on the part of the courts to apply the same caution and diligence regarding the faith of the Hindus too. We have various temples in India, where admissions are restricted based on the nature of the deities. Married men are not allowed in several temples like the one at  Jagatpita Brahma Mandir in Pushkar, Rajasthan. Sahasrakshi Meru Temple in Devipuram- Vaisag provides empowerments to women. Women there learn the life as "I am Devi - you are Devi - we are Devi." Everyone knows about Attukal Pongala. Men do not take part in Pongala as it is meant exclusively for women. It is declared as the largest annual gathering of women by the Guinness book of World Records. We cannot argue to ban boys’ and girls’ schools and hostels on the grounds that other gender is being discriminated by not being allowed to enter there.

Mount Athos is a holy Mountain in Greece where more than 2000 priests live an ascetic life. It is completely isolated from the rest of the world and entry of women is banned. Please remember that Greece is part of the most developed European Union. Women are not allowed in Mount Omine, located in Honshu- Japan which is as per the faith of the Shinto religion. It got international recognition through UN when it was designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Likewise each and every ancient temple with its own tradition and practices are sacred and the question of applying the modern liberal ideas should not arise at all. That too in Hinduism which is the very embodiment of liberal ideas where each and every soul is attributed to the divine. Courts and Political parties should exercise the same caution and sensitivity to Hinduism, which they show towards other religions. 
YB-ET

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