Women in Sabarimala – The Untold Story: Elsa T Oommen

This is a guest post by ELSA T OOMMEN

‘For the last 20 years woman irrespective of their age were allowed to visit the temple when it opens for monthly poojas. They were not permitted to enter the temple during Mandalam, Makaravilakku and Vishu seasons’
– (S. Mahendran vs The Secretary, Travancore Devaswom Board and Ors. (1991) (8) [AIR 1993 Ker 42])

The Supreme Court of India will soon be hearing the final arguments on the question of the restriction imposed on women in the reproductive age from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The court had earlier questioned the constitutional basis of the restriction at the behest of a the public interest litigation (PIL) placed before the apex court of India by the Indian Young Lawyers Association (IYLA) where it called for allowing women of all ages to be allowed entry to the temple.

This case is of prime importance to the democratic setup of India, because of three fundamental pivots.

Firstly, the perpetuation of such discrimination on the basis of women’s natural biological process of menstruation goes against the fundamental rights as guaranteed by the constitution. Prayar Gopalakrishnan, the chief of Travancore Devaswom Board who had remarked that women will only be allowed to enter the temple with the invention of machines to check the purity of women, triggered nationwide debates on the notion of purity of the menstruating woman. It also triggered the viral campaign where thousands of Indian citizens lend their voice to say that they are #happytobleed.

Secondly, the restriction on access to public spaces such as the public roads from Pampa to Sannidhanam (Ayyappa temple) can be viewed as being against the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens of India irrespective of caste, creed and gender.

And lastly, the petition has also come to the special attention of the court owing to numerous death threats hurled on to the lawyers who gave the petition. A three-judge Special Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra made it clear that “access to justice” was not hostage to any person or authority, and only a court could control it within the parameters of the law.

Let us consider the case history of Sabarimala temple entry of women as it came up during the early 90s. This case, S. Mahendran vs The Secretary, Travancore… (1991) is being cited by those upholding the ban on women entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The full text of the judgement reveals that young women in the reproductive age were not banned from entering the temple except during special periods such as the mandalakalam, makaravilakku and vishu seasons . It was also evident from the former Devaswom (Travancore Devaswom board) commissioner Smt S. Chandrika’s statement that ‘the entry of young ladies in the temple during monthly poojas is not against the customs and practices followed in the temple’. Here she also admits that her granddaughter’s first rice feeding ceremony (choroonu) was held at Sabarimala temple. All these details contained within the details of the above judgement points that young women were free to go to Sabarimala except during the three seasons mentioned above.
So it begs the question, when did the menstruating women become impure enough for Sabarimala to discriminate them at all times? When did the Naishthika Brahmacharya of the deity become relevant enough to stop women from entering Sabarimala for worship? When did the conscience collective of Sabarimala agree to deny women at Sabarimala entirely.

Justice Mishra, while going through the recent PIL submitted by IYLA had asked Travancore Devaswom Board what proof it had to say that women never entered the temple 1500 years ago. The recent statements given by the board in this petition seems to be countering the statements made by former Devaswom Commissioner in 1991 about women having no restriction to enter the temple apart from the three seasons mentioned. As the case proceeded in 1991 with all the respondents, the High Court Bench of Justices K. Paripoornan and K.B. Marar examined the Sabarimala Tanthri since the Travancore State Manual stated that only the Tanthri could authoritatively give answers on such questions. Tanthri Sri Neelakandaru testified that women belonging to the restricted age group of 10 to 50 years were prohibited from entering the temple even before 1950, although the statement made by former Devaswom Commissioner, Chandrika had said that the entry of young ladies in the temple was not against the customs and practices of the temple.

The High court then gave the final order that the restriction on women in the age group of 10-50 is in accordance with the customs of the temple and does not violate Art 15, 25 and 26 of the constitution, weighing heavily towards the Tanthri’s testimony. It is to be remembered that the court order was that the ‘restriction should be imposed on the basis of age and not on the basis of the physical or biological condition of any individual.’

Can the rationale of restricting women in the age group of 10-50 be justified outside the purview of physical and biological condition of menstruation?
It is baffling that the history of women’s access to the temple of Sabarimala was overlooked by the majority of the mainstream media in various debates. It is also important to revisit the case history of 1991 to understand how a partial ban on women’s entry became a complete ban on their bodies if they were of the reproductive age. This is seen to have stemmed from ‘some devotees’ fear that women of menstrual age may defile the temple by their presence’. Kerala Devaswom minister G Sudhakaran had also remarked in 2007 that there is evidence to prove that women had visited the temple and the need to restore a right once enjoyed by women.

Nivedita Menon in her work observes the ‘impossibility of appealing to women as a category unmediated by other identities like religion and caste’. It is in such circumstances that one has to see the vision of the framers of the Indian constitution when they did not go for complete separation of the state and the religion. Dr B. R Ambedkar had remarked that ‘…there is nothing which is not religion and if personal law is to be saved, I am sure about it that in social matters we will come to a standstill’ . The crucial role of law to intervene into the conscience collective to bring about reforms is vital.

The intervention of the state law into the customary practices of the various communities have produced far flung changes in the latter. This is not just a linear process whereby the non-state acquires the elements of the state law, but also a case where the state law or the dominant law also seems to assimilate the elements of the customary law. The courts in India have led social reform agendas in a country that is still largely enveloped by some form of conscience collective which can be oppressive to marginalised groups in the society such as scheduled castes, minorities and women. India has also witnessed murder of social reformers and activists such as Narendra Dabholkar who had fought gender bias in temples and places of worship. Thus, the emancipatory role of the apex court is of utmost importance in fighting such deep rooted biases which exist in the society.

The Supreme Court has rightly cited constitutional guarantees of equality to question the restriction imposed on women in the reproductive age group. “Why can you not let a woman enter? On what basis are you prohibiting women entry? What is your logic? Women may or may not want to go [to worship at Sabarimala], but that is their personal choice,” remarked Justice Dipak Misra, heading a three-member apex court bench on the case, “…you cannot prevent them from worshiping at the shrine”. Former president of Devaswom Board, N. Bhaskaran Nair, had hinted at possible changes when similar demands for women’s entry came up in the early 90s by saying “I respect all the temple conventions but, personally, I think a change is inevitable. Once the lower caste people were denied entry into the temples. The ban on women may also change”.

To conclude, one can see that the total ban of women of age group 10-50 in Sabarimala temple, is neither historical nor entirely based on religion, but merely based on the decisions of an all-male establishment which is free to stipulate rules which discriminate against women on the basis of biological and physical conditions intrinsic to their sexuality and gender. The facts regarding women’s entry to Sabarimala trumps the seemingly justified, yet arbitrary ritualistic and religious argument of women’s entry.

[Elsa T Oommen is a doctoral scholar at the University of Warwick]

38 thoughts on “Women in Sabarimala – The Untold Story: Elsa T Oommen

  1. A nice read! But there are a few key points that the author have clearly missed in analysing this topic from a realistic, practical viewpoint, than the idealist’s position.

    One – why should the court intervene in the problem that is exacerbated by the Hindu Religion. It’s not like women don’t have rights anywhere else. They do, and those rights are protected. If the Hindu woman believes that they shouldn’t enter the temple, today, tomorrow, yesterday, what right does the court have to intervene, before asking for reformation within the Hindu community itself? Tomorrow, can the court dictate the laws in the Bible, and suggest that the Catholic church should have female priests?

    Two, even if the court gets their way, what about the safety issue of women entering the temple? Anyone you have been in the vicinity of the Sabarimala, would have seen the mad rush of devotees into the temple. And this crowd is mostly controlled by none other than the local police. – taxpayers’ money. Now what kind of pressure is it going to put on the resources to ensure the safety of the women, and chances are there would be some missteps, and that misstep will be attributed to the Hindu community, thus creating a bad public image in the global sphere. Despite, the fact that the Devaswom Board, kept the rule of women (age 10 – 50) not being allowed as a measure to to control the numbers, to make sure that such a misstep never occurs. Because, let’s be real, if a man were to be assaulted, the issue wouldn’t sound half-bad compared to a ‘woman’ being assaulted. That is just the plain reality.

    Three, why should history be any pointer to look at this case. If my religion says – women should not be allowed, then isn’t it religious freedom? If I am part of a religion that only wears white clothing, then don’t I have the right to shun anyone from my religious premises who are wearing any other coloured-clothing??

    Four, Does the public space from Pamba to the temple,still stay solely under the purview of the Government, if had been constantly funded by the Devaswom trust? Don’t they have any rights or say in what happens there?

    Hope this brings into perspective the differnet shades of the issue. It is easy to keep crying women rights, and ask for everything. But unless the current society and goverment ensure that women’s rights are protected, there is no point to all this babble.

    1. 1. No one is forcing any woman to enter the temple. A group of 5 woman lawyers gave the petition and they may need to visit Sabarimala. It is in their fundamental right to do so.
      Eg: Even if >90% of the woman in India is okay with staying home at night, it is the duty of the society to provide protection of even a single woman who want to go out at night. The idea of majority doesn’t work in personal freedom.

      2.So, you are saying we shouldn’t allow woman to temple because it creates more rush? If so, Don’t allow men to go to temple. Is that okay for you? To reduce rush? It is the authorities duty to provide safety for all in such cases. Discrimination inst the solution.

      3. It is not religious freedom. Personal rights is above religious freedom. Religious freedom is okay as long as it doesn’t violates basic human rights.

      4. Temples are a public space. Just because the some authorities own it, doesn’t mean it is a different country with different human laws. I cant make special judicial laws for my house. As long as my house is in this country, i have to respect its laws.

      5. Everything you pointed can be broken down by simple logic. It doesn’t take a genius to falsify it.

        1. If you are interested in fighting for the rights of Muslim woman, you are always welcome. Find Muslim woman who want to do it, and fight for their cause.

          And, are u saying that you will only allow the rights of your daughter and family, only if Muslims allow that too? “Let my neighbor Muhammed allow his wife to be free. then i will allow my wife too”

          Typical right wing response. You don’t need others to show the path in order to do the right thing. Just do the right thing yourself.

          1. Neeraja

            Sorry arjun but I disagree to ur points.A stone is transformed into a god or deity by the people, their old traditions (or so called stories that we heard from our childhood) and their belief.if u r questioning the age old belief of womens not allowed in temple .why are u not questioning hundred of people throwing money on a carved stone when a huge part of indian population is living under poverty. If hundreds of people’s believe has given a carved stone an identity and u trust that u have to trust their other beliefs too. Secondly providing safety to a single women on road a responsibility and duty of society I appreciate ur thinking.But can the people who r fighting for women entry to the shrine fight and give safety of a woman in the hilly forest area where not only humans are a threat but wild animals too.

      1. Anpadh

        So, if anyone wants to enter your house at any time for any reason, you are obliged to let them in, no matter what? There is no law that says you can force people to remain outside of your house if they wish to enter it.

  2. K SHESHU BABU

    Sabarimala is not the only temple where women are barred. There are others in Karnataka, Assamand other places where the fundemental right of women to enter temples is restricted (IBN Live Jan 12 2016). The struggle should aim at lifting bar in all other temples throughout the country.

  3. Udayabhanu Panickar

    Why people who do not worship in Temple are so much interested in Sabarimala Temple? Why not the people who worship in the Temple make that decision?

    1. Because Temples are public institutions that serve the society, and it has to go in accordance with basic human rights. No discrimination on the basis on race, sex, caste or anything.

      1. Temples are not public institutions. It belongs to the people who worship there. So Hindu Temples belongs to Hindus. Others should keep out of Hindus business. Same way Hindus should stay out of others places of worship also.

        1. jdevika

          But then Sabarimala is not just any other ‘Hindu temple’ – it permits men of all castes and creeds to worship there! When that is the case, surely anyone of any caste or creed worshiping there is entitled to make an opinion! It is Hindutva that simply cannot see that which is blinding you. Therefore, by that logic, the demand is for the entry of all women of all castes and creeds and not just Hindu women! BTW, there are precedents in Kerala of temples formerly closed to women opening to them — the Thiruvalla sreevallabha temple which was closed to women except on vishu and tiruvatira opened to them from 1968 — a decision confirmed by the tantris and through devaprasnam! It is one of the 108 divya desama of vaishnava devotion, more ancient than Sabarimala, and if it can open its doors, so can Sabarimala.

          How narrow-minded these card-holding Hindus are! And how ignorant about their own faith in practice! Shame on you!

          1. Anpadh

            So, jdevika is the only person who knows how Hindus should behave and all other Hindus are ignorant. How interesting!

  4. There are certain procedure to be followed before going to Shabarimala Temple. Which can not be followed by females who undergo menstrual discharge. It is not just for keeping women out. If it was for keeping women out it should have been for all the women. By the way I do not have any religion or any caste. I am not speaking for any religion or caste. I just say what I see as proper.

    1. jdevika

      The problem with you and other Hindutva males is that you concede no sense to women nor do you trust them. No devout Hindu women are likely to go to a temple when they are menstruating, and for your information, the very huge majority of women do know when they will, every month. They would be extra-cautious about this. BTW, there are so many male ‘devotees’ who go to Sabarimala observing bare-minimum, and sometimes none at all – just wearing the black mundu and the chain? Why don’t you men try to do some reforming there? Women would behave equally or far more responsibly than men here, for sure.

      1. It looks like you have lot of preconceived notions, which you are not ready to verify and change if needed. I very plainly told you I do not have a religion or a caste. I do not go to Temples and I do not even think there is a religion by the name “Hindu”. (So forget about me being a “Hindutwa” men.) Also it looks like you need to get more information on Sabarimala Temple and the procedures followed by the Temple and people who worship there. By the way you are least bothered about the treatment given to women by some religions. Why is it so? If you are a women’s activist you should be looking at women’s equality all across the board, not just one section of the population. In my opinion a lot of people who are allowed there should not be allowed, people (men and women included) like who drink liqueur, who eat animal flesh etc. I hope you know that there are lots of alcoholic women also now. And also, I hope you are from Kerala, (that is if you are not using fictitious name and identity as lot of internet activists do). and you know about Shree Chattampi Swamikal, He did write few things about women’s and men’s role in the society. I am a very firm follower of those words he wrote about the position and role of males and females in the society. By the way if you do not know, what He wrote about the role of males and females in the society, I can point out where you can get them. If you are an activist of any kind, treat all people on equal footing, not just some people from some community and ignore all others. Treating some one different in the name of any kind of identity, let it be gender, caste, religion or any thing else; is injustice and inequality.

        1. jdevika

          If you don’t have any particular religion or caste, you would not take such a blatantly conservative position on such vital issues! C’mon, don’t think that the rest of us are fools! Secondly, Chattampi was a great thinker of HIS times, and sorry, no thought can survive the assault of time. All religions have to be continuously renewed if they are not to become instruments of oppression. The early 20th century reformers were responding to their times; and this generation should respond to theirs. Thirdly, your idea of equality is completely flawed and elitist. Gender, caste, religion etc are not neutral identities, they describe regimes of power. Treating the powerful gender and the powerless gender alike, or the powerless castes and the powerful castes alike is just a way of perpetuating the status quo of power! Fourthly, I am amused that you think that I may be using a fake id. That only shows how ill-read you are! You obviously pay no attention to the ongoing debates on gender or caste in Kerala, and generally live in the world of privileged older men who think that they control the truth about everything in this society! Well, your days of such smug sureness are numbered!

        2. Anpadh

          You are right. jdevika does not like to think or to be challenged. Any challenge is met with insults and jeers, not rational or well-considered responses. I suggest that you end the discussion with jdevika because there is no point in continuing a discussion when the other person is convinced that anyone with a different opinion is necessarily wrong and stupid.

          1. jdevika

            Yes, by all means, leave! Your opinion is not just different – it is flawed in its logic, unfounded empirically, and totally blind to its elitist and majoritarian natures. You are very welcome to leave, indeed.

            1. jdevika

              Udayabhanu Paniker and Anpadh belong to the same breed of pompous fellows who cannot marshall a single bit of evidence in favour of their argument and therefore act as if whatever they say must be right and true. I, on the contrary do have evidence for women being admitted to hallowed temples in Kerala where they were not permitted earlier, for decades at least, and where the tantris were more open and the devaprasnam too yielded a positive outcome. As far as I know devachaitanyam has not yet disappeared from the Sreevallabha shrine of Thiruvalla! It is Mr Panicker who is avoiding the evidence and hanging on his panna-kezhava patriarchal attitudes! And it is he who refuses to be educated about changing times.

  5. Balaji S

    Much ado about nothing! It’s a battle over a pointless issue. Even if women are allowed, are they really keen to go? Other than a few rabblerousers, most women (and also men; I, for one, will never bother to go there) would prefer to stay away from it. Secondly, what exactly is achieved through it? A false of pride that men and women are equal. There are far more important areas that more energies can be spent like corporate with inequalities in pay structure for men and women, Political Parties that oppose reservations for women at party level, very few women in senior judicial positions and various other power centres of the society. Finally, will such battles be taken against institutions of power in terms of money and political status? I doubt so! The rich and powerful will always have their way out.

    1. jdevika

      Balaji, I too will not go to sabarimala quite possibly also because I think that the ecological damage done by 5 million men going there, not all with highly spiritual intentions, certainly, and shitting in the sanctuary-forest is the real problem that noone wants to address. This filth has been polluting the entire stretch of the Pampa, and the so-called devotees of Ayappa – all devout men of course – will never see how they are insulting their own god. I also agree that projecting temple entry as the most important gender equality problem is not just facile but perhaps outright dangerous as well. But I’d still argue that the question should not be dismissed – women are less than second-class citizens in the Hindu order, and any voice against that, however minor it may seem, is not to be muffled, even with the best intentions. Also, this is not just a ‘women’s issue’ – it is about how ‘timeless’ rituals and customs can be! There is evidence that they have often changed in Kerala’s temples, and not through modern social reform, but through very traditional routes too, and to insist that women’s non-entry is a product of ‘timeless custom’ is quite dangerous. For the same argument can be easily extended to other practices as well, and to outside the temple too, perhaps, to justify ritual exclusions in the name of ‘caste customs’ etc.

      1. Balaji S

        The sad truth is that battles over issues like these will divert the focus from bigger issues in religion and caste like dowry, inter-caste marriage, inheritance and others where women are treated worse than men. As a friend of mine used to say, if you have to win the war, you have to choose the battles and would not mind losing a few. This is a battle worth losing.

        1. I agree with you 100%, Balaji S. These are minor issues. I would rather see people put their resources into ending child-abuse and other problems such as hunger and poverty.

        2. jdevika

          Well, you may have a point there! Nevertheless, I think it is impossible in this country to take a purely rationalist line on affairs. One has to engage with religion, all religions, and transform them from within as well.

  6. Poor reading comprehension too, so i repeat:. Temples are not public institutions. It belongs to the people who worship there. So Hindu Temples belongs to Hindus. Others should keep out of Hindus business. Same way Hindus should stay out of others places of worship also. Why people who do not worship in Temple are so much interested in Sabarimala Temple? Why not the people who worship in the Temple make that decision? It looks like it hit at the correct place, goodbye.

    1. jdevika

      If there is anyone who is hanging on to prejudice it is you U Panicker! For the last time, sabarimala is not the usual hindu temple which doesn’t let people of other faiths worship there. Oh the likes of you would love to see it restricted to just Hindus! You are free to fumble around in your darkness but don’t think that the rest of us are as lacking in generosity as you are.

  7. Elsa

    Right to pray and right to worship in all places of worship is central to this debate. It might not be the most pertinent issue in a country with caste violence, domestic violence, inequalities of pay, corruption and yes, the list goes on. Nevertheless, this is a pertinent issue. This is a case where women of a particular age are being barred from entering a temple by citing historical reasons while clearly full content of judgement raises many significant questions regarding the matter. It is also interesting to see that many people think that women will not go even if they are allowed to in the future. I strongly believe that it must be left to the women. Let them decide on that. I can also say with some amount of certainty after watching discussions on tv such as ‘niyanthranarekha’ (Manorama news) that many women might indeed be in favour of going if they were allowed to.
    I would also like to confirm to the points raised by jdevika before regarding the unique nature of sabarimala temple where there is no restriction on the basis of caste and creed, which means that all women from all faiths are able to engage with this debate. She is a well known scholar and academic in the field of gender, law, community mobilisation and caste especially in the context of Kerala. A quick search of her name in google scholar should alleviate the concerns of everyone who think she might be using a pseudonym!!

  8. avinashk1975

    @ jdevika, …………For the last time, sabarimala is not the usual hindu temple which doesn’t let people of other faiths worship there………what is the basis of this claim? I have not seen any Christian or Muslim going to sabarimala. Do you think they will fasting for 41 days (or even a day) like the believing Hindus fast for going to sabarimala? Can you substantiate this claim?

    1. jdevika

      Believe it or not it is open to male devotees of ayappa of all faiths. And it is an open secret in Kerala that hindu men do not always keep the vows as well as the fanatics often claim. I personally know men who rush there while on very short visits from the gulf countries. And the vows these days are certainly not as rigorous as they used to be in my childhood Those days young men on the vows did not sleep at home or eat supper with their families! They slept with other men on vows in the sastha temple. None of us dares to address even the youngest of these by any other name but ‘Swami’! The traces of Buddhist asceticism did linger strongly. And yes, devout men of any community could enter there, as long as they believed that they observed the vows of chastity and abstinence . These Buddhist traces are what the Hindu fanatics would like to erase.Just as they turn a blind eye to the fact that many Hindu men are just on a fun trip there. If you ask me I would say that he numbers of devotees should be strictly restricted like in the kailash pilgrimage. And the group allowed to go should have both men and women and transgender and other genders as well (after we it was Vishnu’ s gender fluidity that made ayyappa’ s birth possible). And the Lord resides in a forest that is equally holy and so only people who are willing to respect the forest and ready to travel with minimum comforts should be permitted anywhere there.

  9. avinashk1975

    @ jdevika, you are just beating about the bush. <> could enter and do they go there are two different questions. The Muslims believe that “there is no god but Allah and the Christians are strictly warned “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). With such a belief, will they dare to go any temple (whether Hindu, Buddhist or any other)? If “it was Vishnu’ s gender fluidity that made ayyappa’s birth possible” the temple could not have any “Buddhist past”!! Btw was it gender fluidity or a gay marriage?

    So far as I know, the devotees are allowed in the temple without the mandatory 41 days of fasting but only restriction is that those without “irumudi kettu” are not allowed to climb the 18 sacred steps. They can go and worship through a side entry.

    If the “hindu men are just on a fun trip there” they would surely like to have young women flock to the temple!! If your claim “people of other faiths are allowed” is true, can you say for sure that they are also not on a fun trip there?

    1. jdevika
    2. For your info, women were also allowed to go there without climbing the eighteen steps. Your irritation about my alleged beating around the bush is just an expression of your irritation towards my refusal to agree with your horribly warped and purely theoretical understanding of religious life – as if in India we always lived in watertight religious compartments practising faiths mechanically. That is what fanatics of all dispensations dream of and no doubt your sympathy lies closer to that pole. Oh yes- hundreds of men who merrily consume alcohol and fuck about go there every year to just have fun -again in your imagination just pure hindu worshippers exist wihin an utterly ideal community! I have met minds similar to yours mainly among the urban middle or upper caste hindus , often meddling nri zealots who have not the foggiest idea of lived faiths in non metropolitan India. Yes, the eighteen steps are only for those who keep the vows – Hindus are not indiscriminately allowed there. But which other temple in Kerala allows people of other faiths even within the naalambalam? Worship does not mean always entering the inner enclosure. Dalits were banned even from temple roads once! And again if you weren’t so fixed on your idea that everything hindu has existed in pristine form all through history would have been easier for you to come to terms with the Buddhist vestiges in Hindu faith here. And just to let you know, if the logic of the hi Hindu right wing is applicable here then most major Hindu temples in Kerala will have to be given back to Buddhist people! And if Hindu temples here someday will shed their narrow mindedness, I assure you, there will be Muslim born people who will be ready to try it! Of course just as there are hindu men who treat it like a picnic there will be others too who may not be that serious. But all such people and not just non Hindu people should be stopped from going there! As for your concern that men who go there for fun will want women, your warped mind is exposed. Any devout man would want such men weeded out -and he would have nothing against the presence of devout women. If men are so weak that they find women’s presence terrible distraction, they should never go to sabarimala! How strange that conservatives would rather have dirty men there rather than just pious men and women! Shame!
  10. Sreejith

    As someone who believes in equality of religions and gender, I agree with the argument that women should be allowed in Sabarimala, regardless of age and religion. However, I find it strange that courts intervene easily in traditions and customs of Hindu faith (which, I am sure have borrowed/stolen/usurped heavily from other faiths), but would not dare to question traditions and customs of Islam or Christianity.

  11. avinashk1975

    @ jdevika, why is it impossible in this country to take a purely rationalist line on affairs? We had illustrious predecessors like Dr. Abraham Thomas Kovoor, Joseph Edamaruku, Pavanan (P.V.Narayanan), etc in Kerala itself. Sanal Edamaruku is still active, though he was haunted out of the country for busting a “miracle” in a Church in Mumbai. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26815298 I would rather like every one to promote rationalism rather than trying to get entry into places for worshiping (non-existent) god/s!!

  12. Shreya

    I have done some basic research and I have a query. The Kerala HC judgment on this issue said that there was a partial ban and women were allowed in Sabarimala except for three seasons of mandalakalam, makaravilakku and vishu. However, in another article, I read that there was a total ban. Which one of them is true? Is there a partial ban or a total one? I would be glad if any of you can tell and even give a relevant link to the Source.

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