There is not a single Shastra Sampradhaya or dharmika the Hindu by race has not flouted as yet, on record and off the record. Why kicking up this new fuss now?!
Every forward step a society takes has been historically met with stiff resistance only. Nothing has come easy for some of us.
Whether it was blacks fighting for their equal rights against apartheid or women suffrages claiming adult franchise, no single victory for the oppressed came without struggle or sacrifice even in the world’s largest democracy America.
In India, we have been for reforms since the times of Abolition of Sati (when Hindu women were forced to jump into the funeral pyres of their husbands and end their lives). The Independence movement in India was also coupled with achieving social justice for the reserved categories which materialized as an Act to the effect in 1947. The year truly marks freedom of many a kind.
With the temple doors flung open for the Harijan or Dalit however we may call them, a new social order began to emerge in India, much to the chagrin of those who flourished at the expense of the marginalized communities for centuries.. From then on to now, the communities who lived on the fringes have been subject to countless harassments and ridicule, belittling and discouraging them from taking bold steps forward. Mental cruelty continues to be the general methodology adopted to snuff out the self-esteem of the deprived who are finally emerging out of their shadows.
It is never easy to leave behind the slave mentality. Or what we may call the ‘the Stockholm syndrome.’ Do we Indians consider ourselves above that or are we still having a little residual Raj hangover. Just to tell someone that, ‘yes i am good, and as good as you, and may be even better than you!’ in the eye takes some courage and confidence.
Another milestone in modern Indian history was marked with women winning equal share of entitlement to family estate-property in Undivided Hindu Families (HUF). Very recently the triple talak for Indian muslim women was also squashed by law.
Which legal enactment did not make the Indian men frown? Our society reacted to every move for advancement with a convoluted response only. Very recently, we were fighting for women’s entry to Sabarimala. Without a court battle, with the emancipation and accomplishment of the Indian Nari in general, this would be a reality in under twenty to thirty years.
Forever an admirer of EVR who led the social reforms from the forefront in the state from during the times of Gandhi, today when channel surfing I came across the news that a woman Odhuvar has been appointed and a handful of OBC Archakas were also sworn in to serve as priests in the Agama temples, of course on graduating from Vedic schools.
Kudos to the government of Tamil Nadu. Normally I have reservation against Dravidian politics. But I also happen to strongly believe that a just and equitable society is the only way we can move forward. If we are to stop the nation from lapsing into civil war or chaos in future, it is imperative that we establish an order of social justice in the society in the present times.
I don’t watch tv news these days so i am not sure how much coverage this great leap to my state Tamils was reported in national media. Where credit is due, it has to be given. The southern states of India are faring well because, the political leaders from here (corrupt or otherwise) still stuck to their guns and pushed for social reforms that left leave ripple effect in the society.
The current move to introduce woman odhuvar and OBC archakas in our places of worship, can have potential to arrest conversions. If not for EVR, the entire SC/ST bunch could be converted lot today. By throwing open the temple doors and ushering them in, Periyar promised them equality and justice.
Those who work for or live in foreign countries must know: how we have to work double harder to prove that we are equally good or even better probably. Forever having lived my life in hostile territory, I can understand what it takes to arrive even at this point of a ‘test.’
May the woman odhuvar and the newly appointed OBC archakas prove their detractors wrong, with their meticulous service at the temples. This is just a beginning.
When Hindu women in India are free to divorce and marry twice, when we allow our sons to butcher and skin goats and buffalos for a livelihood at posh five star hotels and our daughters fly airplanes, we can stop short of nothing in future, when it comes to embracing all humanity as one. The Hindu hypocrisy tests our patience. Hindus cite the Mogul era for barbarity and bloodshed, but forget that the passive aggression that we had had put in practice was far more heinous. For generations some of us prospered stamping on the self-respect and dignity of a section of humanity.
To those who are since taking a shaking baby step forward, let us lend a helping hand to reach out and steady their course first.
Churchill gave Indian Union maximum five years life before we could collapse, when the British left India in 1947. Here we are today, 75 years and alive and kicking. May be the British would go bonkers but India will survive to eternity. Let us not make a similar mistake of underestimating fellow humanity. Underutilized/unearthed potential can work like a powerful fertilizer on fresh soil.
We have been wanting to free the Tamil Nadu temples’ administration from the government clutches for a while now, which is thoroughly justified in every sense. The state has no ethical or legal rights to spend the revenues from the Hindu places of worship on governance. At the same time, I can’t stop wondering whether such a temple reform as of today would have been made possible otherwise. After all, we needed a statute to open the temples to a section of humanity even in 1947. We needn’t have waited for law to enforce equal rights for one and all.