The Supreme Court of India has decided that, from now on, women who are on their period are allowed to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple. According to the Huffington Post, menstruating women have been banned from this popular Hindu pilgrimage site for centuries. A question that probably pops up in your mind right now, is how the people who decide who can and can’t visit the temple decide wether a woman is on her period or not. Well, during the past centuries, the Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple has handled the following ‘solution’ for this problem: every woman of menstruating age was banned from the temple. Women of ages between 10 and 50 were considered of menstruating age.
The argument of the activists that have striven for the removal of the restrictions for women, argued that the rule was outdated and treated menstruating women as “unclean”.
The argument brought up by the defenders of the old ban is that it honered Lord Ayyappa, the celibate divinity to whom the temple is dedicated. Other supporters argued that not being allowed to go into the temple would protect te women, because the energy at the Sabarimala Temple would harm the women’s health.
The lifting of the old ban nevertheless proves that lobbying works, because the decision of the Supreme Court of India was the result of a peitition that has been going on for years.
Interestingly enough, the only one voting against the new ruling was also the only women on the five-member bench of the Supreme Court: Justice Indu Malhotra. According to her, “notions of rationality cannot be invoked in matters of religion.” Because of that, she thinks that the worshippers and not the court should decide the religion’s essential practice.”
Do you think traditions like this banning of menstruating women should be broken more often? Leave a comment and let us know!