By Ila Ananya
Have you heard about the new twist in the Sabarimala controversy?
There’s a photograph doing the rounds on social media that shows three women praying to a deity and standing next to a priest in Sabarimala. It’s been shared in a frenzy after TG Mohandas, the convenor of BJP’s intelligence cell, tweeted the photograph with the comment, “Hope these girls are above 50!” before proceeding to clarify that he isn’t against women entering the shrine. Why he’s called them “girls”, we don’t know.
It’s unsurprising that what this resulted in has been not only accusations of the photograph being Photoshopped, but also a detailed conversation about the age of the women in the photo. One woman has even tweeted that she knows the women in the photo, and that they are all above the age of 50.
Since then, the Kerala government, which seems to have been caught in the middle of neither saying they support or don’t support women’s entry into Sabarimala, has ordered a probe into the photographs. “Though the government is in favor of allowing women of all ages at the temple, it is committed to upholding the prevailing customs till changes are being made,” Kadakampally Surendran, the state temple affairs minister has reportedly said.
Of course we know that it seems like temple restrictions can’t really get more absurd than they already are. Either way, it reminds us of the whole #ReadyToWait campaign (and its more wicked parody #ReadyToDie), where some women said they were willing to wait until they hit menopause to be allowed to enter Sabarimala, since that’s the custom. It’s funnier, because it seems like the women in the photograph at Sabarimala happily decided to do what they wanted and disappeared, and left a long thread of men worrying about their presence.