The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Piyush Sharma, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Religion vs Women Rights debate made a historic victory for women activists when Shani Shingnapur temple authority allowed women to go inside the inner sanctum. This has sparked a new reform wave since the Untouchable were allowed to go inside the temple. The Shani Shingnapur Trust allowed the unrestricted entry citing the High Court orders. The Maharashtra government also supported the orders and asked for equal rights across the religions.
This all started with the Bhumata Rangragini Brigade, the women group which was campaigning for the entry of female devotees inside the sanctum. During this movement around 350 women were detained by police but soon released after public outcry. This led to Devendra Fadnavis to urge the temple authority to hold a dialogue with the women group. These efforts will also pressurize some famous temples, which do not allow females aged between 10 to 50 to enter into inner sanctum of the temple citing the impurity, to change their stance and reform with time to provide equal rights which is ensured in Hindu Religion.
The fundamental questions which arises from these debates are- Who has the Final say when it comes to equal rights in religious places?” Why are we not able to destroy patriarchal system which is at the very core of this issue? After more than 60 years of independence, implementation of constitution which does not allow anyone to discriminate based on caste, creed, color, religion or gender, why are we not able to ensure equal rights and why are we still following the centuries’ old discriminatory practices and customs? It is high time as we have done away with the Sati Pratha, Child Marriage (to a certain extent), we eliminate this menace also.