To resolve the Sabarimala Temple issue, let’s take an English proverb - what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
This saying of wisdom is used to emphasize that if one person is allowed to do something or to behave in a particular way, then another person must be permitted to carry out that thing or conduct himself or herself in that way too. A goose is a female bird whereas a gander is male in the context. Notably, this proverb was first recorded in 1678 in the west where an issue of gender discrimination does not arise now as people are faced with here.
This adage paves the way for equality of rights in all aspects without any riders. Irrespective of gender, caste, creed or religion, equal opportunities of living, rituals and lifestyles must be ensured, it seeks. In other words, we can say –what is good for the man is good for the woman. Hence, when a rule applies to one applies to both male and female in our society. Whether there is a temple, mosque, church or gurudwara, what matters most is a human being.
A service to the mankind is a service to the nation. The Constitution of the country under relevant section clearly states rights to equality. Let's honour that. Let there be free entry for everyone everywhere for their religious faiths, practices and choice of God and goddess they have faith in and wish to worship.
It is 2019 now and India is still stuck with sex-determination and discrimination with respect to the entry of menstruating women to Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. The apex court is tasked with a review petition of a liberal verdict it passed earlier in favour of women against male chauvinism. Can’t we rise above all these and move on, taking lessons from birds and animals that are free spirits?
The Sabarimala temple issue is more of a political tool than anything else. It was 2018 when the Supreme Court ordered the unrestricted entry of women into the temple as desired by the female community. The matter should have been settled and the court would have been engaged with other pending issues before it. But then the political tug of war is ostensible, with parties throwing their weight. For petty gains, divide and rule is no better idea. However, discriminatory attitude and policies are rampant.
On the one hand, we take resort to the 'Manusmriti', an ancient legal text among the many Dharmasastras of Hinduism wherein a verse goes like this - where women are worshipped, there lives God, wherever they are not worshipped, all actions fail. On the other, a section of society petitions the court to restrict menstruating women’s entry into the temple. This is a parochial and paradoxical approach which needs revisiting.
Everybody will admit the fact that this holds true that this world has been a male chauvinistic society. However, past is past. Now restrictions are being lifted. Rectifications are continuously in progress with political appeasement taking back seat. There is no denying that India is a very progressive society. It cannot afford to be entangled in such an issue that trivializes a progressive thought and overall prosperity of the human race. It needs to move on, correcting and junking trivial issues. The Supreme Court deserves all appreciation for its verdicts in line with religious matter. People from all quartets should accept the apex court’s pronouncements.
There was a time when a certain section of society was deprived of certain facilities and access to shrines, education and commonplace. For good, things have moved positively with education being in the driving seat. The value of education gets belittled if we have to wait for: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Let’s uphold human values.
Dr Birbal Jha is a noted author and Managing Director of Lingua Multiservices Pvt Ltd. having a popular trademark brand ‘British Lingua’. He is credited as having created a revolution in English training with the slogan ‘English for all’ in India. He has also been accorded the status of the ‘Youngest Living legend of Mithila’.