The only thing necessary for triumph of the evil is for good men to do nothing- Edmund.
What is the harm in questioning the rationale behind a religious tradition, which construes a biological system as derogatory, considers almost half of the population as impure since they have to go through an involuntary biological process? Do they have option for not to go through mensuration and remain pure? Thank God that they did not have, otherwise, you and I would not have been reading and writing this article respectively or breathing in this world!
The tradition of denying a woman to visit a temple robs one of her most basic spiritual/ religious rights; right to be present and pray before the Supreme power, whom she believes. Whom she would turn to, for seeking solace, guidance and blessings in difficult times?
You cannot go to his abode and pray throughout your life, since being a woman, you are impure but a man can since he is a man and therefor pure! Do we have an option to choose to be a man or woman on our birth? When it is not optional, when she does not chose to be women and remain impure for life, why she should be made to suffer throughout her life? If mensuration is the reason for their impurity, no woman menstruates throughout life! God has created men and women. How He can feel disturbed with their presence in his abode? If He fails to meditate in their presence, is not it His problem? Is He incestuous? Is it not our polluted mind-set with which we are perceiving him?
Is it bad Karma of past life, which resulted in birth of a Hindu woman? If it is so, please feel more blessed by Him than a man. Because He had chosen you and not a man, to give birth of the humankind. Please feel proud and honoured, since due to your bad Karma, we are breathing in this world. Each of us should feel proud about your bad Karma!
Hindus believe in reincarnation. A Hindu man, who is supporting such biased, oppressive system in the name of age-old religious tradition should consider the fact that as per his faith and belief, he may be in female form in his next birth and go through such discrimination and oppression for whole life!
It is very natural to question the rationale behind a tradition, especially when it is biased and oppressive towards half of the population, propagates self-hatred due to a natural, involuntary biological process and due to which the entire humankind is in existence today!
We question, as we learn. We question with our knowledge and as we question, we learn more. We learnt making fire and with that knowledge we learnt cooking and we started eating cooked food with such knowledge. I am sure, nobody asked in those days, in the name of tradition, why should we eat cooked food instead of raw meat. If our predecessors did not question religious custom, burning of sati would have been in our Hindu religious discourse even today!
History is there to support the fact that due to such illogical customs and traditions, thrown over lower castes for oppression in a caustic Hindu society, resulted in large scale conversion of Hindus to Buddhism. It is still in our psyche and we effectively passed it in the minds of present generation, which is resulting in ugly incidents in our universities and higher institutes of learning.
We feel proud to say that Hindu religion is in existence from time immemorial. It is [arguably] not so closed like other religions. In past, we had visionaries, who brought changes, like abolishing sati burning, re-marriage of widows, defying the prevalent socio-religious norms in a Hindu society.
We have an opportunity now, since the oppressive tradition of barring women from entering into Sabarimala Temple in south has been challenged in the Supreme Court of law and a movement has started in Shani Singnapur temple in Maharashtra for having similar bar against women. We should support the movement whole heartedly for changing the system of gender bias and oppression in the name of religion. If we fail to change an oppressive religious tradition, the religion itself may extinct someday with passage of time. Jago Hindu Jago!!!
By Subhasish Paul