No Devotee Troubled Us: One of the 2 Women Who Entered Sabarimala
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
Two women in their forties became the first female devotees of the menstruating age to have worshipped at the Sabarimala shrine, on Wednesday, 2 January.
Bindu (42) from Kozhikode district and Kanakadurga (44) from Malappuram began their journey at 12 am on Wednesday. They reached the sanctum sanctorum by 3.30 am for darshan.
Since the Supreme Court struck down a ban on women's entry at Sabarimala, several women who attempted to go to the temple have faced violent protests.
Speaking to The Quint, Kanakaduraga, however, said no devotee caused any trouble as she and Bindu entered the Sabarimala shrine. She said they peacefully worshipped Lord Ayyappa.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, meanwhile, said, “The women were not given any special treatment or taken in a helicopter. They were just given police protection. We followed the SC order and provided security to both the ladies, they were not given any special preference. They did not face any opposition. When they reached Sabarimala, they did conducted rituals with other devotees.The devotees who were present at the spot also helped and provided the women with all the necessary arrangements.”
He said that for hours after their visit there was no violence or protest showing political parties are instigating people to protest against this.
After the women’s entry, however, the nada (where the main deity is kept) was temporarily shut down for "purification" rituals.
Here’s what Kanakadurga had to tell about her pilgrimage to the Sabarimala:
Could you tell us what happened today at Sabarimala?
At about 1-1.30 am, we started walking from the Pamba river to the sanctum sanctorum. At about 3.30 am, we reached the shrine, prayed and left. During the entire time, there was not a single issue created by any of the devotees there. No violence. We worshiped along with the other devotees. After a good darshan, we returned. When we reached the Pamba river, we needed police protection and that was provided to us.
Didn’t any of the devotees stop you?
No. That’s what was wonderful. There are problems only when people who have a rashtriya agenda come and try to create havoc. Devotees never cause trouble. In fact, on 23 December, we had tried to come to Sabarimala, but just when we neared the sanctum sanctorum, so many people began coming towards. When we thought we were going to get attacked, police gave us protection and brought us back. Today, we thought that before a lot of people come to the temple, we should reach the shrine. We started our journey at about 12 in the night, so that we can reach the nada (the place where the deity is kept) by 3.30 am, when it is opened.
The Sabarimala nada has been closed for “purification” rituals because women entered the temple. What do you have to say about that?
Traditions have to change with time. Back in the day, there have been many unfair restrictions on women, but over time, we are changing all of them. Every time we tried to stand up against such practices, there has been a lot of opposition and anger.
There is a lot of chatter on social media saying you and Bindu are from the CPI (M) or have other political affiliations. Please clarify.
I don’t have any political background. Since the day the Supreme Court lifted the ban on women’s entry at Sabarimala, I have wanted to go to the temple...in fact, even before. But that had not been possible because we were restricted. After the SC order, I spoke to a few people over WhatsApp and that is how I met Bindu and we decided to go. We don’t have any political link.
What do you have to tell the women watching you now?
Women have desires, but most are scared to make them a reality because they worry about not being accepted for those values. When the society and her family don’t approve of her desires, she goes silent. I hope that all women are able to casually visit (the Sabarimala temple) with all other devotees and offer prayers.
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