On Durgashtami, you entered the Shoolini Temple at Solan in Himachal Pradesh and saw that the havan was being performed to celebrate the special occasion for the Mother. You asked to participate in the havan and this was objected to by the priests. Then, two days later, on Dussera you performed the havan.
In an interview that followed, you stated that as a woman you would stand for equality of women. I am a woman, so must assume that you are going to stand up for me and applaud you? I am analysing…
First of all, you barged in as a ceremony was going on and destroyed the sanctity of the ceremony. The trained priests are employed to perform havan, so did you ask them beforehand if you could participate in the havan? If you did and if it was denied, did you take other steps to take forward the issue rather than just bulldoze into a temple on a very auspicious occasion and disrupt the sacred ceremony? Do people barge into your office and demand to do your work? Is this decent behaviour? Moreover, are you the deciding authority if you had to give such a permission? What made you assume that the priests had decision making powers of this kind? Certainly, this is not the kind of behaviour that I would approve of even by my own family member, leave alone an IAS officer!
At this stage let me state that there are many temples with priestesses and your demand is not a novelty except for the media attention. Off the top of my memory - this Kerala temple, this Odiya temple, Arya Samaj all have priestesses. Of course, none of them barged in anywhere and asked to be one. They went through the rigour of becoming one instead! You might have done that, if you were serious about the whole thing.
Second, you said that you stand up for women’s rights. Yes, that is commendable, and I would be among the millions of women in our country to stand up right beside you and behind you like solid rocks.
It would have been wonderful if you stood up for women who are crying their loudest cries in silence, those women who are barred from being educated, who are married off at a very early age, who are forced to wear a certain type of clothing and to bear many children, who are denied entry into their place of worship, who are threatened with talaq if they fail to satisfy not merely their own husbands but (very probably) also other male members in the family, who are (as per ‘their’ law) treated as half or lesser than their husbands or brothers when it came to inheritance.
It would have been wonderful if you stood up for women who, having given up worldly life, are witness to scores of paedophilic abuse by their male peers for years and years, are forced to be the love objects of their male peers in the very abode of worship, who are threatened with sanctions if they so much as whimper out about this blatant abuse, who are killed if they fail to keep mum about it, whose life is smothered by such brutish male dominance all in the name of religion.
It would have been wonderful if you stood at the border of Bharat and Nepal and prevented the smuggling in of young girls to be sold as meat for pleasure of male sub-humans. It would have been wonderful if you had educated men to not talk about women’s liberation if they did not bother to understand that their sisters and mothers were not toys to be used at protests and stone-pelting operations. It would have been wonderful if you had stood for prohibition that would help women to keep their hard-earned money from their drunk husbands and provide their children a better life. It would have been wonderful if you had gone to the hills in your chilly state and used solar panels to heat up the cold homes of simple poor women. It would have been wonderful if you had worked to provide some solace to the difficulties that women face in their day-to-day lives all of which are so visible to one and all.
Yes, you could have been wonderful in a most constructive way, but you chose publicity instead. You chose to create an issue where none existed and play the role of a hero there. You ought to be a powerful heroine but, unfortunately for us, the tax-payers with whose money you have been trained and are being paid, you are opting to be a silly media shero (yes that’s not a typo).
You can be left alone if you could convince us that you are merely a misguided, brainwashed girl who happens to have somehow qualified to a profession for which you are a misfit, but the other coincidences are too many to ignore. We remember Trupti Desai who barged into Shani Shingnapur, we remember Fathima who barged into Sabarimala. We know that the news about you is agenda driven and staged. We know that you are intelligent but of the misplaced kind. Young lady, you are down a slippery slope in life for, you have lost the respect that you could have easily earned and, rather, will be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Image Credit: http://himachalstory.com/location/shoolini-mata-temple/
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