This week South India was rocked by a huge protest against a decision of the Indian Supreme Court against a 12-century temple in the state of Keral, South India. The previously eminent newspaper that sadly bears the name of our city had to report its own opinion about the protest. The New York Times decided to title their article as Religion and Women’s Rights Clash Violently at a Shrine in India.
The title itself got us thinking. Every woman has equal rights to worship her God according to the tenets of her religion. In fact, in our opinion, every woman has the right to practice religion and worship as she chooses. But does a woman or a group of women or all women put together have the right to dictate their preferences to a church, mosque, synagogue or temple that is owned and managed by a private non-governmental institution?
Our guess is No. We have never heard of a religious place of worship that chooses its regulations or its leadership by a popular vote of its devotees. Otherwise, the Vatican would have been forced to choose a Black African or Caribbean pope years ago, perhaps even a female pope. Forget choosing a pope. Do women have rights of entry into religious places, even into inner sanctums of religious places of worship? Do courts have a right to demand a change of regulations or religious laws to fit what some women or even all women want?
New York is the largest Jewish city in the world and the New York Times is fully aware of religious restrictions on menstruating women in Orthodox Judaism. We are not. So we simply googled a question – Can menstruating women enter Orthodox Jewish synagogues? The results can be checked by all. Apparently, some Jewish groups prohibit menstruants from entering a synagogue or even touching a Torah. What about the Vatican? Do women have a right to demand entry into Vatican’s inner sanctum while they are menstruating or not?
More importantly, does the US Supreme Court have the right to instruct Jewish Synagogues, Christian Churches, Muslim Mosques or Hindu temples to follow US civil law of non-discrimination on gender? We doubt it. And we seriously doubt if the US Supreme Court would overrule religious laws of Judaism, Christianity, Islam or even Hinduism to demand obedience from non-governmental institutions or religious worship to US civil laws of non-discrimination.
And even the New York Times would not, we think, run a campaign to demand rights of women to include court-ordered entry into Churches, Mosques, or Synagogues.
1.NYT’s Anti-Hindu Religious Apartheid
But it is OK to do so to Hindu temples, even private temples run by private religious institutions, according to the NYT:
- “For centuries, women of childbearing age were prohibited from entering the temple, which is perched on a lush hill in the coastal state of Kerala. Last month, after India’s Supreme Court struck down that ban, saying that barring women from the temple infringed on their constitutional rights, thousands of protesters pledged that women who dared to visit the temple would be punished.”
The NYT added:
- “On Wednesday, when the temple opened for the first time since the ban was scrapped, it quickly became the latest battleground in a long-running conflict between India’s modern, liberal court system and deeply conservative elements of its ancient culture.”
Look at the deep bias of the New York Times. The article describes the Indian Judiciary as “modern, liberal” and uses the same labels to describe the action of the Indian Supreme Court. Would that be the same interpretation if the US Supreme Court unilaterally ordered removal of the Orthodox Jewish ban on menstruating women from entering synagogues? Of course not. Because Jewish, Christian practices in New York are not to be criticized, let alone forcibly changed, in the name of religious freedom. And forget about changing practices that govern women in Muslim Mosques.
But a 12th-century Indian temple is unilaterally forced to change their religious practices by a Supreme Court and the New York Times applauds that decision!!! Not just that, the NYT reporters took the help of Muslim & Christian police officers to try to force their entry into the sacred temple. The NYT specifically quotes a Muslim police officer named Habeeb Ullah telling the NYT reporter “Madam, you don’t be afraid, O.K.?” And the NYT article quotes a police officer named Abraham telling NYT reporters “Every devotee will be allowed safe passage.”
And, of course, the Indian police officer with the Christian name was not talking about true devotees of the temple. They were talking about NYT reporters & a couple of Muslim, Christian women brought specifically to force entry into the temple.
The New York Times described the actions of the communist-run Keral Government as:
- “By late Wednesday, the Kerala government had deployed hundreds of heavily armed police officers near a river bed at the base of the trek, and dozens of people had been arrested.”
What sort of people had been arrested?
- āṅgīrasa śreṣṭha @GhorAngirasa From Whatsapp. Elderly mother of the. tantri (chief priest) of sabarimala temple, Smt devaki antarjanam arrested and removed by vermin police…
Since the NYT titled its article as for “women’s rights”, let us see how the Keral police treated women:
Male police officers of a communist government beating Hindu women devotees with sticks, women bleeding from such beatings, male police officers pelting devotees with stones – all this for defending “women’s rights” according to the New York Times and to force entry of a Muslim woman activist and a Christian woman activist into an ancient sacred Hindu temple!
By the way, the High Court of this communist run Keral state refused last week to hear a petition by Muslim women to be allowed to enter Muslim mosques in Keral. And the New York Times did not even report this in their article.
If all this is not religious apartheid against Hindus, we don’t know what is!
- Sir Ravindra Jadeja @SirJadeja – Christians Won’t Allow Female Pope Muslims Won’t Allow Non-muslims In Mecca Mosques Won’t Allow Women, Ones That Allow Won’t Let Women In Main Prayer Hall Entire Secularism & Gender Neutrality Feminism Is Only Limited To Hindus.
2.End of Act One
The first act ended when the Head Priest of Sabrimala temple finally announced:
- Prasanna Viswanathan@prasannavishy – A Memorable Vijayadashmi At Sabarimala. It has been a victory for the devotees of Ayyappa today, and it came from the simple act of the head priest saying that if pushed, he would lock the temple, hand over the keys, and go home. https://swarajyamag.com/
politics/a-memorable- vijayadashmi-at-sabarimala… via @swarajyamag
With that announcement by the Head Priest, the police withdrew and violence was avoided:
- Abhijit MajumderVerified account @abhijitmajumder Thousands of local tribals have thrown a protective ring around
#Sabarimala to stop breach of temple tradition which celebrates Lord Ayyappa’s celibacy. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa, son of the Raja of Pandalam, gave tribals the right to protect the place
The biggest story of this affair is the en masse protest by women of Keral & India in support of the Sabrimala tradition. Guess the New York Times doesn’t think the women of Keral & India know what women want! Or they perhaps think these brown women of India are not capable of understanding what white women of New York Times & American left are trying to do for them. Now such contempt would make the New York Times guilty of racial apartheid in addition to religious apartheid.
3. Long Term Impact
The size and the spontaneity of the protest is absolutely amazing. Just look at a few more photos from Twitter:
This affair also exposes the failure of the Indian Government in Delhi.
- Arihant@haryannviThanks to Hindu mothers and sisters of Kerala for saving Sabarimala from desecration by invaders. I will never ever forget Modi’s deafening silence. When the enemy was at the gates and Hindus needed his leadership the most, he failed. This is not the Modi I used to idolize.
Based on his twitter handle, Mr. Arihant is from the Northwestern state of Haryana, a BJP stronghold. And the one above, Mr. Anil Sharma, is also a North Indian. Their reaction exposes the chasm that has been building between many religious Hindus and Prime Minister Modi. His election victory in 2014 and his victory in the huge northern state of Uttar Pradesh was built on Hindu unity on his side.
Unfortunately, and unlike President Trump in America, Prime Minister Modi has chosen to act against the people who voted him in. His calculation is to win big among women voters who vote in larger numbers than men. That is why he has chosen to project himself as a fighter for women’s advancement.As a part of this new image, PM Modi seems to have to decided to do whatever appeals to the left wing women’s movement in America.
That may be why he chose to accept the Supreme Court’s decision against sacred Sabrimala and stayed silent as police from the communist state of Keral heaped violence on devotees of Sabrimala. As a result, Modi found himself on the wrong side of the majority of women in Keral, South India and even perhaps all of India.
Broadly speaking, he is becoming somewhat of a symbol of same old BJP, the party that courts Hindu vote and then discards Hindus to bask in praises of western media like New York Times, BBC & Economist. That is what the previous Vajpayee government did in 2004 and lost that important election. PM Modi himself faces a difficult decision in 2019. He needs the entire Hindu base to enthusiastically vote for him. We hope he understands that a vast majority of Indian women consider themselves to be daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and protectors of the Dharma & traditions of their families.
Fortunately, he still has time to correct his lurch into appeasing the western left wing that despises Hindu culture & dharma. And, as his first step, he should take a leaf out of President Trump’s book and fix the Brit-colonial judiciary in India that is hell bent on destroying Indian culture & dharma.
Because Sabrimala shows that Hindus will organize & fight for their culture against the Brit-colonial Indian Supreme Court with him or without him.
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