CPI (M) has finally succeeded in defiling the sanctity of Sabarimala. In an act of desecration in the garb of devotion, two women in their 40s entered Sabarimala’s Sanctum Sanctorum before dawn, at about 3:45 AM on January 2, 2019. Dressed in black and under the protection of the police, in a hasty manner, the women rushed through and reportedly “prayed” to Bhagwan Ayyappa before returning. They faced no protests from devotees in that time of the night and caught devotees and temple priests by surprise with their secretive act.
The two women, Bindu, 44 is a CPI(ML) activist and Kanakadurga, 42 is a civil supplies employee. Both women had attempted an entry earlier in the last week of December also but were blocked amid protests by devotees. The priests believe that the ban on the entry of women of age 10 to 50 should remain as Bhagwan Ayappa is in a celibate form at Sabarimala. There are many temples in India where women are the dominating force and men are barred, like the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala reflecting the complexity of Hindu traditions that transcend elementary concepts of gender equality. However, the Supreme Court scrapped the ban in a judgment citing gender equality.
Since then the CPI(M) has been vigorously trying to enforce this judgment. The state-sponsored campaign by CPI(M) government in Kerala finally seems to have achieved its objective with the intent to desecrate the holy shrine, disrespecting and assaulting Hindu sentiments.
The nature of the visit being discreet and stealthy and the connection of these women with the Communist government clearly show that this egregious offence was not an act of devotion but that of deliberate desecration clearly aimed to undermine the Hindu faith. Traditions were discarded and so were the rituals of the Sabarimala temple. The women “prayed” at a time when no prayer ceremony takes place in Hindu Temples, with some exceptions that do not apply in the worship of Bhagwan Ayyappa.
Women activists, with the help of hundreds of police personnel who have unleashed brutalities against peacefully protesting devotees, have been making unrelenting attempts to enter the temple. Previous attempts to enter the shrine by young women, with little devotion to offer, had been foiled by devotees who stood their ground, disallowing their entry, by begging the women to not desecrate the sanctity of the temple, all despite harassment and despicable brutalities by policemen.
Earlier, a young Muslim and a Christian woman had attempted to enter the shrine as devotees. One of them, Rehana Fatima attempted to violate the premises as she carried a used sanitary menstrual pad, her Facebook posts that were highly derogatory and directed against Hinduism led to her arrest. Women from the Manithi organisation of Tamil Nadu also attempted to enter and protested outside the holy premises. Bhagwan Ayyappa’s devotees organised Ayyappa Jyoti, a silent protest wherein thousands participated. 1400 of these protestors were later arrested. On January 1, the CPI(M) organised a Women’s Wall event, where a large number, as claimed by the government, of Christian and Muslim women also participated with placards attacking “Brahminical Patriarchy” and in demand for the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple premises.
In the name of gender equality, the Communist Party has found a piece of egalitarian fodder that also divides and estranges Hindus, to maintain its relevance in the state. Instilling an illusory emotion of a kind of renaissance among women who could not be more ignorant about Hindu traditions and beliefs, the Communist government has managed to deliberately assault the Hindu traditions. The temple had been closed for a purification ceremony after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that two women were successful at entering the temple. For now, these CPI (ML) stooges have succeeded in what they set out to do, it remains to be seen how this defiance and act of desecration will be judged by the posterity.