Chennai: In what could be regarded as 'resentment' over the Supreme Court’s order directing the Sabarimala devaswom board to allow women of all age groups for darshan, several Hindu organisations and Ayyappa devotees have decided not to take their womenfolk in the 10 to 50 years age group, along with them to Sabarimala for the annual pilgrimage.
A large number of devotees have even planned to stage a ‘peaceful’ protest in the city and other parts to draw the attention of the Supreme Court that ‘revising’ the Hindu customs and traditions that were laid with a specific purpose; was unacceptable to them. And women too form part of the agitation extending support to their male counterparts in demanding the restoration of status quo ante.
“The need for challenging the Supreme Court verdict through a review petition may not arise if we all decide not to go by it. The issue concerns our faith and our decision to fulfill our vows and the obligatory 41 days vratham,” asserts Kasi Venkatesan, a devotee of Lord Ayyappa. Sabarimala attracts fairly large number of devotees from Tamil Nadu followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and if women from these States decide not to go, then there is no need for any authority to interfere, he adds.
Says V. Subramanian secretary of Jan Kalyan “women have been given prominence place in the Hindu religion and as far as Sabarimala is concerned, men undertake a pilgrimage for a darshan of Lord Ayyappa who remains as a celibate and answers his devotees’ prayers."
There is nothing wrong in women of all age groups in visiting Sabarimala but the issue is one of undertaking the arduous long trek through the forest and prior to it taking up the mandala vratham (for 41 days). When the issue is of the male devotees taking up a vow of celibacy during the mandala vratham and also the pilgrimage, allowing women would only dilute the very purpose of the pilgrimage, he claims.
He says that many Lord Ayyappa devotees have decided not to take women in the 10 to 50 years age group along with them to Sabarimala during the annual pilgrimage. “Women too have made up their mind not to violate the tradition. They are aware that they can have darshan of the Lord even without taking up a pilgrimage. So the question of discrimination does not arise,” Mr. Subramanian argues.
A group of devotees including women who have decided to stage an agitation at Mangollai in Mylapore in the city on Tuesday believe that Hindus have dharmacharyas to guide them and not the courts.
Women devotees would display “ready to wait” placards while their male counterparts would display “allow my vratham” placards for the ‘peaceful’ demonstration to express their need for following the centuries-old tradition....