1500 women fight for equality at Shani Shignapur Temple

1500 women barge into the inner core of the famed Shani Shignapur temple today to protest an archaic tradition that women are not allowed because they “humiliate” the gods. The temple is situated at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. These women protesting are from the Bhoomata Ranragini Brigade feel that such gender inequality is bizarre in the 21st century. And we agree. It’s nearly bizarre that a country like India is yet stuck in the past where priests can decide who and what’s pure or impure.

We feel it is a symbol of gender inequality which cannot be tolerated in the 21st century, Trupti Desai was quoted in the India Today when she announced that 400 women had agreed to spearhead the movement.

The temple association have always defended their rules calling the act as their tradition and part of religion. And this temple isn’t alone. From Sabarimala Temple to Haji Ali women find themselves restricted in different parts of the religious places or inner sanctums.

This has opened up the debate in the country where the temple trustees have drawn criticism from women groups. “The temple has an ancient tradition which everyone should respect and follow. If someone forcefully tries to break it, it will only hurt the sentiments of the devotees,” said Sayaram Bankar, a trustee who has urged the Brigade to reconsider their Republic Day rally, reported The Hindu.

Entry of women inside the shrine area is prohibited for a long time now and no doubt the old-fashioned thinking requires change. Last year, a girl had tried to violate the temple tradition by jumping into the inner sanctum. This led the temple trustees to do a purification of the entire temple which attracted negative comments from the public for the trustees. It also directed some of the temple trust to resign from their duties.

All religious institutions need to do away with bizarre and archaic rules. Women hold all rights as any other fellow human being and that’s the least they should be treated as.

Picture Credit-  WN