Women's identity crisis via Shani Shinganapur

Well, we are back again with an ever interesting and ever ignored topic or controversy. I’m talking about nothing but the astounding debate which is debated in our country every now and then and still never comes out with any meaningful conclusion or result. Women’s identity, equality and so on, have always been the topics in inverted commas and full of exclamatory marks in the minds of Indian intelligentsia. For now, in particular, the ignition point of the controversy is found in the famous Shani-Shinganapur temple in Maharashtra, where a few days back a woman entered the temple and took darshan of lord Shani, which she was not supposed to do. As per the ongoing traditions, women are not allowed to enter the shani-shinganapur temple. But the women in the scene broke this rule and entered it. When the temple administration found this, it reacted furiously. Some temple officers were suspended and the temple or statue of shani was purified by special vidhis and the bath of milk and curd.
           As soon as the issue entered into everyone’s drawing room through the TV sets, it faced condemnations all over Maharashtra (In fact in major cities of Maharashtra). Women activists raised their voice against the inequality faced by the woman in the temple. But the real tadaka was the comment made by the Rural Development Minister Mrs. Pankaja Palave-Munde. She dismissed the controversy as a non-issue, indicating that there are more serious problems about women empowerment to deal with. Thus indirectly she supported the mandir tradition and took a politically correct stand. Expectations from a woman in such a position that too in a male dominated political scenario of Maharashtra, were surely different. But she proved herself ordinary by putting her gun down before the so called political obligations.
          Now coming to the main controversy, I think, the issue is more about the religious orthodoxy of a male dominated society than anything else, Which by its convenience, decides the position of women in its ‘cultural’ sphere. A society where statues of female idols are worshipped but a female is not permitted to conduct its puja.. what a great contradiction! Have you ever found a female priest in any of the temple of this huge subcontinent? Answer is a loud No! Likewise, Upanayan Sanskar of girls is an anti-religious concept in today’s era, despite having clear evidences of the same being performed in the early Vedic society.
         Domestic violence is so prevalent in our society that it has now become a tradition itself. No one wonders if a husband slams his wife, not even the wife herself. In fact, it is considered as his god-given right. Our social system laughs at the concepts of Women dignity and self esteem. Obviously, here I’m not talking about the few metropolitan elite classed Indians but about the millions living in small Indian towns and villages i.e. about the real India.  
                                                                                                                                                                     I frankly think that getting permission to enter a mere temple is not going to solve any of these problems. At the same time, supporting it from a political stage too, isn’t a welcome move! Culture or religion is not a collection of rigid rules, in fact it shouldn’t be so. It is a concept flowing with time & every generation should let it flow. If we try to fix it into a still frame then, a big social & cultural mess is inevitable. Nowadays we are just having a little glimpse it.
As we all know, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had initiated a mass movement against the tradition that prohibited Dalits from entering the famous  KalaRam temple in Nashik. And at that time, he had turned unsuccessful because Our social system denied to change. So, Dr. Ambedkar chose his different way and accepted another religion, where there was no any discrimination between the two human beings. The question arises in my mind here is that, 60 years later, now, is our society ready to have a rethought about its black spots? To throw away wrong traditions and bad customs? To accept good things? current social signs, unfortunately, do not lead to a positive answer.
         Though I’m pointing out the loopholes in our social structure, it doesn’t mean that I’m blaming our culture, society, religion as a whole. I must state here that I’m a proud Indian, being specific, a proud Hindu Indian! I know that, Tolerance or Sahishnuta is the prime feature of our culture & It is mature enough to have healthy debates about its very own black & white sides, a luxury that is not offered by all the religions in the world! But at the same time, this doesn’t mean that we are the best.. We may be good or in that matter better, but not the best. So, obviously our efforts should be towards being the best.. And owing to our huge tradition of social & cultural reforms I’m highly hopeful about it. The only barrier in the way is our own mind.. We must open it.. Make it free.. and walk towards building a healthy & inclusive society!


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