How women are treated in Hindu temples in India
Posted on January 3rd, 2019

Prevention of women entering Temples by Orthodox Hindus in Kerala.

This kind of discrimination against women and also lower castes happens all the time in Tamil Nadu and also especially in Northern Sri Lankan Kovils and Temples. But such things are hardly reported. Before the rise of the LTTE, there were protests in Mavattipuram and other places in Sri Lankan Temples where low-caste people were not allowed entry.  The ITAK party opposed liberalizing temple entry while the Marxist leader Shanmugathasan led the protests. During the LTTE wars, the Tigers militarized and used women for their objectives, often using them as expendable and easily controllable carder who can be used as suicide bombers.

After the war, old caste traditions and orthodoxy have once again began to creep back, with Norther Provincial leaders like Wigneswaran strongly encouraging orthodoxy. But things are stirring up in Kerala and other parts of India.

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka’s  “civil society” types and  “human rights” NGOs are dominated by members of the upper caste Jaffna Orthodoxy. Even the Catholic church memebers in Jaffna are caste and orthodoxy dominated, with burials in the chruchyard determined by caste.

Unlike in India, the feminist movement among women in Sri Lanka is quite inactive against these issues. Instead, Tamil human rights famininists  unleash their ire in Geneva.

Zwei Frauen trotzen der Mauer aus Hindu-Männern

Zwei Frauen trotzen der Mauer aus Hindu-Männern

Unter Polizeischutz und bei Dunkelheit haben sie es geschafft: Zwei Frauen gelangten in einen Hindu-Tempel im Sü…


Here is a rough translation of a German language report .


Two women defy the wall of men forbidding Temple entry for Women in Kerala

Under police protection and in the dark, they made it: Two women arrived in a Hindu temple in the south of India – and so demanded their right to equal treatment. The conflict has been smoldering for months.

In the shelter of darkness, two women in India have entered one of the holiest Hindu shrines, claiming their right to equal treatment. According to authorities, they secretly entered the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala state under police protection shortly before sunrise and later left the sanctuary undetected. They were thus able to bypass the extremist Hindus, who have for weeks transformed the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala into a fortress and withheld women.
Two women arrive at the Hindu temple in the state of Kerala in southern India.

[Photo” Two women arrive at the Hindu temple in the state of Kerala in southern India.]

On video footage can be seen how the two women in black robes with lowered heads rush into the temple. They did not come to the temple via the “18 holy steps” but through the personnel access, they reported afterwards.

Head Priest orders “cleansing ritual”
The action of the two women caused violent protests by arch-conservative Hindus – the Sabarimala Temple is one of their most sacred temples. The supreme priest ordered the temple to be shut down for a cleansing ritual. After an hour he was reopened.

The extremist Hindus oppose the lifting of the women’s ban on visiting the country’s Supreme Court. According to tradition, women between the ages of ten and fifty cannot enter the gilded temple because the deity worshipped there is considered unmarried and believers fear a “seduction” of the god by women’s vile. The ban was informal for many years and became law in 1972. However, in September 2018, India’s Supreme Court declared that the practice violated the constitutionally guaranteed equal treatment of men and women.

Violent riots
Many women then tried to reach the mountain shrine of the god Ayyappa. However, they had been deterred by angry Hindu activists. There were riots between supporters of the ban and the police in October, and around 2,000 people were arrested. Again, there were  violent protests against the action of women. In front of the parliament in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram, there were violent clashes. The police used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades against the protesters. Protests were also reported from other cities in the state

Recently, tens of thousands of women in Kerala had formed a mile long human chain to protest against the Temple ban and to promote gender justice. According to the Communist Party of Kerala, 5.5 million women came together for the protests. The news of the two women who had access to the temple was received enthusiastically by the solidarity movement.

Opposition to court decision
Even legally, the dispute continues. Numerous conservative Hindu movements and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi object to the Supreme Court’s decision. They challenge the verdict on the grounds that it ignores the traditional belief that Ayyappa lived in celibacy. For January 22, a court hearing of the opponents of the judgment is provided.

Since India is again ruled by Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP, conservative and fundamentalist Hindus have been buoyant. The conflict over the South Indian temple is therefore also indicative of the identity politics with which they make mood. Not only does the BJP seek to give new meaning to the ancient Indian cultural and religious heritage, it also borders on India’s other religious communities, whether Muslim, Christian, Jain or Parse. Equal rights for women are also considered fundamental. This strategy should also shape the election campaign of the Hindu nationalists: this year, the Indians determine a new parliament, the BJP wants to remain  in power by what ever means.

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