The debate over Sabarimala has got mixed up with majoritarian political moves as it is not just a matter of faith any more. If not handled properly, it can cause serious damage because three big claims are being made, overtly and covertly.
The first is the proposition that an individual’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution will be secondary to the sentiments/practices/customs etc. as put forward by a vocal section of a religious community. If the final answer is that then the SC can’t decide on this as a matter of fundamental rights, since it is a matter of faith. This is the logic that can support applying Sharia law in place of constitutional laws.
The second is a brilliant Catch-22 construct. All real devotees of the deity believe that the deity has expressly instructed that he won’t allow women of 10 to 50 years of age into his presence. Therefore, those who are seeking the court to intervene in this by countermanding the deity’s expressed wish, cannot be devotees of the deity, and therefore have no locus standi.
The third is that a group of people claim to know that the idol is a god, that it is in fact a brahmachari god, and has desired that women of a certain age group must be barred from seeing him. There is no proof how this group came to know of these things beyond the claim of this custom having been there from the inception of the temple. They demand to be taken at face value for it is a matter of faith.
Partho Datta, Kolkata
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