Women have fought the equality battle for ages now, and it is but agreeable that whatever status we have today comes from persistent struggles that our previous generations put up against convention. While it is evident that women today are in commendable position with pretty much equal status reserved for us everywhere, the existence of few issues cannot be denied. But what can be completely agreed upon is the fact that women’s issues have become extremely subjective, unlike in the past – where subjugation of women was a social norm.
Today if we hear about crime against women, the inflictor of the problem will mostly be a sexual predator, an insecure husband, or an avenger of a personal feud. Let’s admit it; it is true that either man or a woman can be on the receiving end of crimes inflicted by these sets of people who are actually just seeking some form of violent satisfaction for their mental instability. Clearly, their intentions are NOT driven by their culture or religion or traditions, and India has moved on from the phase where women were required to silently succumb to their husband’s commands or stay out of the house while they menstruate. At least, that is the case in South India as you and I see it. It might be true that culture supported dowry issues are still prevalent in states like Bihar, but let’s talk about our part of the country for now.
Women in South India are more or less the radicals who have grown out of submission decades ago. We flaunt good education, fairly reasonable freedom for career, opportunities to grow to whatever heights we aspire and inalienable equality in all spheres of life. No culture prohibits us from obtaining education, marrying the right man or getting the job we prefer. Nor does any culture determine our financial or social stances. Having experienced all this on an everyday basis, why after all did we let the Shabarimale issue become what it has?
Despite the taken-for-granted extent of freedom here, it is true that there still are issues – but like I said before, hardly any of them are inflicted by culture. Problems faced by women are inflicted by subjective aspects mentioned before. So what problem did the two women who entered Shabarimale solve? Is this going to reduce the rate of rape inflicted by sexual predators? Is this going to lift up the literacy rates amongst women who are deprived of education because of poverty? Is this helping in any way to increase the number of women in governance?
Let alone the consequences – which are pretty much none anyways. Let’s talk about the cause of this lame issue. Why after all, was it questioned why women cannot enter this space? Indian traditions have no necessity to answer whatever questions are posed on them, because the very support for a tradition to sustain itself is the fact that it is a ‘tradition’. Unlike Christianity or Islam, Hindu traditions do not draw themselves from doctrines – they draw themselves from practices, in other words, traditions itself. So it can sustain itself without reasons – so the ‘tradition’ of women not entering Shabarimale did not need an explanation at all. It doesn’t matter if Ayyapa was a bachelor and didn’t prefer women. It didn’t matter if the rule was made for women’s safety in the past. It only matters that it was a tradition being practiced through generations – Hindutva does not have a doctrine so the traditions are its complete identity.
However, not only was this tradition attempted to be explained in a number of ways, it was broken in the name of ‘culture inflicted inequality’ which is actually a non-existent thing. South Indian women do not face culture inflicted inequalities, nor do most women in India today. India does not mutilate its women’s reproductive parts in the name of religion. Hindutva does not ask its women to wear a particular kind of outfit. Forget righteousness, India doesn’t even behead or stone its women to death for adultery. Issues faced by women in this country are domain agnostic – revenge, money, lust, poverty, male ego, personal grudges – whatever be it; it’s hardly religion or culture. So for those who are happy about the women having entered the temple, well, you have achieved nothing. But if it was your intention to simply wreck an age old tradition, then congratulations.