Is Sabrimala an issue of women’s entry or the Christian real estate mafia’s greed?
Not many are aware that Sabrimala, a temple dedicated to the son of Lord Shiva and Vishnu—Ayappa, is the largest pilgrimage in the world, with close to 50 million pilgrims visiting it, annually. The recent Supreme court’s verdict allowing women between the age of 10-50, to enter the temple has been controversial as it has earned the ire of pilgrims, who believe that it’s a possible ploy to desecrate the Hindu shrine.
The central intelligence had recently alerted the state government that the temple could possibly witness an increased activity by the left wing extremists. Ergo, the vigilant state police,on Sunday, prevented a group of 30 women from Tamil Nadu, from entering the shrine, in an attempt to not exacerbate the situation in Sabrimala. This group had announced their intention at not following the traditions of Sabrimala, before leaving for the temple from Tamil Nadu, under such circumstances it was an apropos decision to not allow them an entry into the temple.
The common sentiment of populace has been against the Supreme court’s verdict, as the Sabrimala temple which is located on the hilltop amidst eighteen hills, surrounded by forest that is part of Periyar Tiger reserve; has many times in recent history, witnessed vandalism and attempts to destroy its sanctity.
In 1950, a wanton act of vandalism, destroyed parts of temple and its idol. Back then, Kerala police had come to the conclusion that there was a forcible entry into the temple with an intent to destruct it; unfortunately, the case could not be proved due to laggard handling of the matter by the authorities. Later, in 1980, a cross was planted on one of the 18 hills to usurp the hill close to Sabrimala, but strong protests led to the authorities moving the cross away.
In the year 2016, K P Yohanan group bought 2500 acres of land near Sabrimala, to convert it into a tourist center. A proposed airport was to be built on this estate owned by the Yohanan group, which was bought from Harrison Malayalam, who had in the past encroached upon the land owned by the state government. The gist of it is–the state government would have ended up paying crores of rupees for letting encroachers return the land to the government, this would be a poor precedent as it portends similar events in the future.
Yohanan, a self-anointed religious leader, has been in the eye of controversies for amassing wealth through a US based group. Capper is, the leaders of Communist government of Kerala were ecstatic at such a fatuous offer made to them. While the fate of the 5th international airport in Kerala is yet to be known, Yohanan group continues with its unbridled enthusiasm to attract tourists to Sabrimala.
Sabrimala is one of the many revered temples in the state of Kerala, which has come under scrutiny recently. Not so long ago, Shree Guruvayoor temple had to let go of its strict dress code, which entailed the pilgrims to wear traditional dress, whilst the audit conducted at Shree Padmanabha Temple’s treasures revealed it to be one of the richest temple in the world. Albeit, sometime later 769 pots of gold or RS 186 crore worth gold was reported missing from the temple.
A nagging thought that troubles every pilgrim-– are our temples, under the garb of modernization, coming under the attack of forces which want to destroy our traditions for their selfish reasons? Only time can answer this query.
This article is written by Levina
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.
This content was originally published here.