With the help of courts, women groups in the country have tasted some success in ending what they call ‘discrimination against women’ at places of worship. In two recent judgements, the Bombay high court paved way for women’s entry to the sanctum santorum of a Shani Temple in Maharashtra and the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai. The two victories have now put the focus of some women rights groups on over a decade-old pending sensitive case of women’s entry to Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.
However, as far as the Kerala temple is concerned, many believe that the women rights groups are “conspiring” against the age-old religious practices driven by deep faith in Lord Ayyappa. To expose this, some women in Kerala have started a counter movement, saying they are ready to wait to enter the temple. As per tradition, there is no blanket ban on the entry of women to Sabarimala. There is only a restriction on the entry of women in the menstruating age group. The #Readytowait campaign started on social media by some Kerala women seeks to highlight these points, urging the women to be made the decision-maker in the matter, not the courts or some rights group who don’t feel about the deity –Lord Ayappa.
The campaign was apparently triggered by a Facebook post by one user Anjali George. She wrote: “Request all women who ardently wish to defeat the anti-pagan #BreakingIndia forces funded monotheistic agenda to foist Abrahamic Puritanism on this mighty nation which has nurtured diversity and worshipped the feminine in all its varied forms, to join the #ReadyToWait movement.” Several women have now posted their photos with posters ‘Ready to Wait’ on the social media platform to show their solidarity with the campaign. They have pledged that they are ready to wait until the age of 55 before entering the temple.
The campaign has generated quite a buzz on social media platforms, and many believe it would expose the “misinformation” and “conspiracy of the women rights groups. Commenting on the campaign Rahul Easwar, an activist who belongs to the family of priests at Sabarimala temple, tweeted, “Proud to see 100s of Hindu Woman standing up to defeat the Conspiracy against Sabarimala – #ReadyToWait ..May our Woman lead us”.
The Sabarimala temple is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) in Pathanamthitta district, which is unique in many respects. The uniqueness gathers its voice, as the temple is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, according to the official website of the temple.