In a first, Nashik’s Shree Saptashrung Niwasini Devi temple, managed by the Saptashrung Gad Trust, has appointed a woman as a trustee on its board. Manjyot Patil’s appointment as a board trustee has broken a 45-year-long tradition at the temple. She will hold the position for the next five years.

What You Should Know: 

  • In a first, Nashik’s Shree Saptashrung Niwasini Devi temple, managed by the Saptashrung Gad Trust, has appointed a woman as a trustee on its board.
  • Manjyot Patil’s appointment has broken a 45-year-long tradition at the temple. She will hold  the position for the next five years.
  • Besides Patil, the trust appointed four other men – Lalit Nikam, Deepak Patodkar, Prashant Deore and Bhushanraj Talekar – as trustees. 

Also Read: Eight Temples in India that bar entry of women

Nashik Temple’s First Woman Trustee

Besides Patil, four other men – Lalit Nikam, Deepak Patodkar, Prashant Deore and Bhushanraj Talekar – were also appointed as trustees for a five-year term beginning on October 1. The selection committee comprised of Abhay Waghwase, principal district and sessions judge, and Ganesh Deshmukh, the trust’s chairperson as well as the district judge-7 of Nashik. They judged applicants on the basis of criteria like educational qualifications, experience in the social service sector, and ideas for the temple’s progress.

Expressing her elation at the appointment, Patil told Times of India, “I have got an excellent opportunity to take up the work of the trust. Besides planning to bring in funds from industries, my aim would be to undertake various steps in healthcare and education by support of the trust.” Reportedly, many women had applied for the position in the past, too, but failed to meet the trust’s criteria.

Also Read: “Women who enter Shani temples will invite rape” says Shankaracharya Swaroopanand

Indian Women And Temples

Overall, Indian women have a seemingly complicated relationship with temples. Earlier this year, The News Minute reported that Sanchaita Gajapati’s appointment as the first female chairperson and hereditary trustee of the Simhachalam Devasthanam spawned a political dispute in Andhra Pradesh. Commenting upon the same, Gajapati said, “The idea that women shouldn’t head (temple) trusts are regressive patriarchal views which need to go. They don’t want to change the status quo.”

Most Hindu temples bar the entry of menstruating women under the pretext of periods making women ‘unclean’ for holy rituals. Furthermore, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the notable Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The decision led to violent protests from many people who believed that the ruling violated the wishes of the temple’s deity, Lord Ayyappa. In 2019, two women named Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga became the first females to enter the temple. Read more about them here.

Also Read: Sabarimala: Let The Lord Be, Let The Men Be, There Are Other Temples

Picture Credits: Times of India

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