Dear Sabarimala Priests, Does God Actually Need You to Protect Him from Women?


Dear Sabarimala Priests, Does God Actually Need You to Protect Him from Women?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Growing up in the south, you understood the importance of Sabarimala through friends and classmates, almost as if it were part of your syllabus. You were made to believe that Sabarimala is a place where you went to make sure you cleared organic chemistry. You pretty much gave up everything for 40 days – including studying – for your prayers and question papers to be answered.

But it never really worked. My dear friend, Selva, tried this and dropped a year.

As an atheist, I find this whole Sabarimala fiasco unfathomable. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go to the country’s highest courts, spend their energy fighting cases for years so that they could go to a temple. I grew up in Jayanagar, the most orthodox part of Bangalore. It’s so orthodox that youngsters sext each other only if they belong to the same caste. And in this pious place, I did everything in, well, God’s name to avoid going to temples. And here we have three women fighting to enter a temple in the middle of a freaking tiger reserve. Don’t know why my mom’s not called me yet to tell me, “See, such good children they are. Doing all this to go to a temple. Their parents must be so happy.”

And it’s not just this insane urge to go to the temple that puzzles the shit out of me. According to reports, they started their two-hour trek at 6.45 am, with a hundred policemen only to be stopped by the head priest, and have their devotion questioned. If that weren’t enough, a union minister came out and labelled these girls anti-Hindu. I mean, come on bro, managing to wake up so early in the morning and walking two hours to go to the temple is the most Hindu thing, ever. Probably more Hindu than setting a few bodies on fire in 1983 and 2002.

So as the women waited at the steps of the temple, the devotees tried mansplaining to them why going up there wasn’t good for them; especially when they were of menstrual age. When that didn’t work, the priest said he’s going to lock up the temple and leave, so that nobody could enter. I’m pretty certain that whenever this priest got out while playing cricket as a kid, he would throw a fit, take the bat and leave, ensuring nobody could continue with the game without him.

If you actually go by the legends surrounding the temple, I don’t think anyone should be allowed into Sabarimala.

Menstruation or not, how can a perfectly natural biological process dictate where you can go and cannot go? You know what, fuck it. If we’re going to do this, I’ll file a petition in the Supreme Court calling for a ban on excessively sweaty men from working out in my neighbourhood gym. It’ll be fun to watch angry, perspiring men coming to the gym early in the morning with a 100 cops demanding to be let in. And to prevent them from entering, the gym instructor locks the gym and walks away with the keys. It’ll serve two purposes, a) Yay! Leg day cancelled; and b) Finally we manage to get the cops in this country to hit the gym.

Also, I just don’t get these so-called devotees who are making decisions on behalf of God. It’s His place, after all. If He doesn’t like certain sections of people coming in, surely, He can punish them. Isn’t that His occupation? By doing His job for Him, you are questioning His credibility and professionalism. And that is as anti-Hindu as you can get.

Look “man”, you were good until you were taking ownership of women’s lives and decisions, but the arrogance to believe that you can protect the protector is a bit too much. God didn’t employ you as the bouncer to His temple. Frankly, I’m not surprised that He didn’t. I’m certain He knew you’d make for the world’s worst bouncers. Imagine how nightclubs would look if you guys guarded the doors. “Sorry, ma’am, only men and old ladies allowed into this club. What’s that? No, not even couple entry with cops allowed. Outside prasadam also not allowed. Please leave, if you create a scene I’ll have to call the devotees.”

If you actually go by the legends surrounding the temple, I don’t think anyone should be allowed into Sabarimala. In the 12th century, Manikandan, a prince from the Pandalam dynasty, meditated at Sabarimala to become one with the divine. There’s a reason why the prince went into a thick forest braving tigers and other dangerous creatures that come with thick forests – like the mining mafia. He wanted to be left alone to meditate peacefully. He clearly didn’t want anyone around, definitely not lakhs of men protesting over women entering the temple.

The only other time so many men have had grave concerns about women accompanying them to a place, are during bachelor parties in Pattaya. And that, I completely understand. It can be embarrassing to have your lady witness an inebriated version of you tied to the bedpost by a female stripper as she robs you silly. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she also turns out be a man. I’m all for men filing petitions to not allow women enter bachelor parties in Thailand. But I sincerely hope that in the coming days better sense prevails in God’s Own Country.

Or wait. Do the women now have to fight another 27 years in the Supreme Court to be represented in the advertising tagline as well? Holy fuck.