Sabarimala Debate on Prime Time TV Turns Into Debate on Feminism

The recent Supreme Court order in the Sabarimala case was discussed on prime time television on 12 January.

2 min read
The Supreme Court has questioned as to why can’t women be allowed to enter Sabarimala. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

The Supreme Court’s question to religious authorities about women entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala has caught the public’s attention.

Times Now’s Arnab Goswami had Author Rahul Eashwar, activist Khushboo, BJP member Shazia Ilmi, activist Sandhya Menon, and Hindu religious representative Pandit Ajay Gautam on his show.

Also read: Why Go to Sabarimala When Women Not Safe on Roads: Devaswom Chief

Hindu Religious Leader Blames Woman For Natural Calamities on Times Now

The topic of the debate was whether or not women should be allowed to enter religious places like the Shani Shingnapur temple, Dargahs, and the Sabarimala.

Screenshot of the panel on The Newshour.
Screenshot of the panel on The Newshour.
Mens are facing discrimination by the hands of womens. [Men face discrimination at the hands of women.]
Pandit Ajay Gautum

However, the debate soon turned into whether feminists ought to interfere in religious matters.

This wasn’t the only change of topic within the debate; it turned into a piss fight between Arnab Goswami and religious representatives.

The highlight of the “debate” was however, Ajay Gautum citing an incident of a woman entering Shani Shingnapur temple as the reason for nature’s wrath faced by “South India”.

Screenshot of Pandit Ajay Gautum (left), and Khushboo (right) on The Newshour.
Screenshot of Pandit Ajay Gautum (left), and Khushboo (right) on The Newshour.

Activist Sandhya Menon then went on to recount one of her experiences with a group of Sabarimala pilgrims: men dressed in black scanning you up and down, and trying to touch her.

Did the debate cover more than two religions and put issues in the public view? Yes. In a useful order and with a conclusion? Not so much.


CNN IBN’s Zakka Jacob spoke to Author Rahul Easwar, journalists Vir Sanghvi and Anna Vetticad, and #HappyToBleed activist Suridhi Upadhyay on the prime time debate at 9 pm.

‘Feminist’ Is Not a Dirty Word

As the debate quickly turned into judgement by Easwar against feminists trying to make their way into religious matters, “where they don’t belong”.

Eashwar, who was also on The Newshour, spearheaded his opinion in the debate with the same point: Sabarimala is a “naishtika brahmacharya” temple.

When asked about how this rule is not debatable by Anna Vetticad, he went on to speak about how feminism has turned into female chauvinism.

You are only trying to impose feminist thoughts into the religious space.
Rahul Eashwar, Author

Jacob pointed out a previous order where a case against entry of women in a Dargah was quashed because it is out of the court’s jurisdiction.

Vir Sanghvi pointed out that the if traditions were not subject to change, the practice of sati would be prevalent in the country till date.

The next hearing of the case is on 8 February.

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