In the southern Indian state of Kerala, millions of women gathered to form a 385-mile “human chain”.
At the center of it all is a Court ruling from November 2018 that dictates women of reproductive age be permitted to worship at the Sabarimala Shrine, in Kerala. Traditionally, women ages 10 – 50 are prohibited from worship at this particular temple as per restrictions of its deity, ‘Lord Ayappa’. After the ruling, right-wing supporters gathered at the temple to prevent the newly legalized women from entering. Left-wing government coalitions organized the ‘human chain’ response protest to run along the major highway, estimating 3 million supporters. Over 5 million showed up.
The current government, right-wing Hindu Nationalist BJP party, has stated that the movement towards reforming temple procedures is an attack on Hindu values. Precisely, if those values perpetuate biases of any kind. It is bigger than religion and such needs to be acknowledged.
If you are willing to consider a perspective outside of willful ignorance, it quite apparent that religion can be packed with oppression, patriarchy, and misogyny.
Realistically, all religions were “created”, whether through divine intervention or a response to socio-cultural conditions. The institutions of religion do not precede human existence; in every instance, religion itself is a man-made construct. With that said, even through divine inspiration, would it not take a prophet with misogynistic tendencies to bring into existence god(s) and laws that treat women as lesser beings? Contemplating this from the viewpoint of India’s past and present struggles with gender equality, the truth becomes self evident.
Regardless of the intrinsic nature of religion and the general resistance to doing so, all practices that do not echo equality must be addressed in order for any true progress to occur. Any excuse to restrict the existence of and/or discriminate against another human being needs to be done away with.
These women are no longer willing to allow their existence to be dictated by gender inequality in any way. 5 million women say enough is enough.
Read the BBC article here.