February 10th, 2016
Image Source: newsnation
A discourse that began when a PIL was filed by the Young Lawyers Association seeking entry for women of all ages in the Sabarimala temple has blown up into a huge debate that has roped in several other religious establishments that unfairly discriminate against particular sections of the society. While the nation questions the credibility of traditions that prevent women and people of specific castes from entering certain religious establishments, the famous Parsuram temple in Dehradun has lifted its 400-year-old restriction that prohibits Dalits and women from seeking entry into its premises.
An unprecedented move by an extremely orthodox institution is a welcome change for India at this stage. The management of the Parsuram temple in Garhwal’s Jaunsar Bawar region has announced that “everyone will in future be welcome”. For the past 400 years, women and Dalits have been barred from the celebrated temple on the pretext of beliefs held by the common people.
According to the Chairman of the temple management, Jawahar Singh Chauhan, the age old tradition has been deposed to move along with changing times. “This region is on the path of progress. Our literacy rate has gone up and people want scenarios to change,” he said.
There was never an official rule that stated that Dalits and women were barred from the temple but rather an unofficial understanding amongst the population of the region. Recently, there had been several protests held by Dalit activists in the region who said that the greater war was yet to be won as there are 339 other temples that still discriminate on the basis of caste.
”They have finally given an official confirmation that the ban has been lifted. We have been raising this issue for the past 13 years. We welcome the move,” said the Dalit leader, Daulat Kunwar. But the fear is that although an official statement from the temple has come through, people will still be hesitant to enter the temple not only because of the customs that have pre-existed them but also because of certain beliefs that they themselves hold.
Nevertheless, the path-breaking reform has come at the right time for India. We hope that this change that treats everybody as equals when it comes to their rights to practise their faith will set a good example for all the other religious institutions in the country.
The Logical Indian applauds the change that has been implemented in the Parsuram temple by its committee and hopes see similar moves across India.