A month ago, Supreme Court ruled out an age-old tradition which prevented women between 10-50 years of age from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Despite the SC verdict, no woman can visit the shrine peacefully as protests are taking place all over the state.
While many added their comments and views about the events, cabinet minister Smriti Irani is the recent one to have made her contribution. She said,
“I am nobody to speak of the Supreme Court verdict because I am a current serving cabinet minister. I believe I have the right to pray but I don’t have the right to desecrate. And that is the difference that we need to recognise and respect.
“It is just plain common sense.” She went on. “Would you take sanitary napkins seeped in menstrual blood and walk into a friend’s home? You could not. And would you think it is respectable to do the same thing when you are walking into the house of God?”
To back her comment, the textile minister narrated one of her own experience where she had to wait outside the fire temple as women aren’t allowed inside.
“What does that mean (the waiting outside the holy place) irrespective of whether I am a politician or a minister because I have two Zoroastrian children and a Zoroastrian husband. I am made to stand outside. I will stand either on the road or sit in my car. When I took my newborn son, I had to give him at the temple, gave him to my husband, because I was shooed away and told don’t stand here,” she said.
Dear Smriti, we all are bound to respect each other’s personal opinions. But generalising something isn’t recommended at all. When you are a person who is an example for many, such comments would question their idolisation.
Personifying women as a ‘bloody sanitary pad’ was a good figure of speech but poor choice of words and attitude. Women not entering the holy Sabarimala has reasons far beyond the ‘menstrual age’. It was a gesture by the women to respect Lord Aiyappa’s celibacy and Devi Maalikapurathamma’s love for him.
It is the year 2018 and our nation is already far behind due to the shackles of Patriarchy, Misogyny and Blind faiths attached to its legs. Let it break free!