We have heard a lot about women and temples this year.
In November we had the Kerala Government suddenly saying women should be allowed into Sabarimala temple irrespective of their age, and a month before this, we had Arnab Goswami confusing the women of the #ReadyToWait campaign with the parody #ReadyToDie campaign.
We won’t go through all these many developments that have happened this year, but it seems like while 2016 began with the Madras High Court coming up with an elaborate and confusing dress code for temples in Tamil Nadu, now, twelve months later, Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala has got caught up in a fight on women’s dress codes.
The story is confusing. First, on 29th November, the temple relaxed its dress code to allow women in churidars to enter the temple. This was after advocate Riya Raji filed a petition at the Kerala High Court challenging the old tradition of women having to either wear a sari, or a dhoti over their other clothes if they wanted to enter the temple. Then there was news of only a few women being allowed to enter the temple wearing a churidar through a side gate, while officials at other gates refused to let in other women who had come in churidars. Following this, Hindu organisations turned up and blocked the road leading to the eastern gate of the temple, demanding the withdrawal of this decision. When the district judge and chairman of the temple administrative committee, K Haripal put the order on hold, the protestors dispersed.
It seems like there’s no doubt that all these temple protests are going to be in the news next year too.