Shani Shingnapur Temple: What is this ‘right to pray’ nonsense? – Radha Rajan

Trupti Desai

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil Online“Our courts, not even the Supreme Court has the right to deny Agama which governs a temple’s religious rituals and practices. If the High Courts and Supreme Court want to do fairly by women than let them bring about parity in the number of women judges in the Supreme Court first.” – Radha Rajan

In Modi’s India some force is throwing up non-entities like Kanhaiya Kumar and Trupti Desai who become the talk of the media overnight on non-issues.

Kanhaiya KumarKanhaiya Kumar, like Sonia Gandhi is destined to self-destruct through his mouth. Every time he opens his mouth Kanhaiya Kumar is exposed and yes pun intended. For a man who even at 30 is still struggling to complete his Ph.D., Kanhaiya Kumar is dreaming big dreams. And a motivated group is egging him on to dream with his mouth.

Kanhaiya Kumar has barely shut his mouth and Trupti Desai has opened hers demanding right to enter the Shani Shingnapur Temple. And this is where the media, the English media is playing a dirty game. For people who know little about this temple, like me, I do not know if this temple denies women entry into the temple.

Arnab Goswami‘s campaign raising Trupti Desai as some kind of reformist has titled this campaign “Right to Pray”. I find this queer. Has this country denied this woman or any woman the right to pray? Trupti can pray to Shani Bhagwan even from outside the temple if prayer is what she wants.

My grandmother living 20 yards from the Srirangam Ranganatha Perumal Temple went to the temple maybe thrice or four times a year. No time. Mother of 13 children and keeping an open house—open to relatives from distant villages, she had no time to go the temple.

But she performed her pujas at home. My grandfather on the other hand went to the temple morning and evening. And me, I have never prayed in my life although my kuladevata and I have very lively conversations through the day. I talk, he listens.

So I don’t understand this right to pray nonsense. But is that what this lady Trupti wants or is it something ignoble and totally disruptive? Please enlighten me somebody. I hear she is not demanding right of entry, and that women are not barred entry into this temple, but she actually wants to enter the garba griha or the sanctum sanctorum

This woman like Kanhaiya Kumar is the chief dramatis personae in the “controlled chaos” geopolitical wargames the Generic Church is playing against us. Those who want to know what “controlled chaos” is read: ‘Controlled Chaos’ as an Instrument of Geopolitical Warfare and ‘Color Revolutions’ by Dr. Vladimir Prav

You need useful idiots like Trupti Desai and Kanhaiya Kumar to let loose “controlled chaos” simply to test the waters to see what brings people to the streets, on what issues and how many other useful idiots are ready to stir the spittle.

In Tamil Nadu as I am sure in several states, no one except the priest is allowed to enter the garba griha. No man, no woman here. Only the priest. Does Trupti think Bhagwan Shani is short-sighted or short of hearing that she has to enter the garba griha to “pray”? Seriously? And Times Now thinks this is some huge revolution?

Arnab GoswamiArnab should do a random sample and ask religious temple going women if they will enter the sanctum santorum of any temple simply to make a point? Arnab Goswami will be surprised.

One can ask all the questions one wants, break as many rules as you wish but to what end? If we are serving a larger good in the larger interest, by all means, but to seek some bogus equality when even men cannot enter the inner sanctum, then this is a non-issue which is blown up simply as “controlled chaos”.

Our courts, not even the Supreme Court has the right to deny Agama which governs a temple’s religious rituals and practices. If the High Courts and Supreme Court want to do fairly by women than let them bring about parity in the number of women judges in the Supreme Court first.

This country has placed only six women and one of them obnoxious in the Supreme Court as judges in 66 years after independence. Lets have equality there first before the courts presume to interfere in Hindu temple practices. When women can enter the temple and perform pujas, this is not “right to pray” but something else altogether and nothing good or noble about it either. An idle mind is a useful rent-a-cause idiot.

» Radha Rajan is an author, political analyst, and animal rights activist. She lives in Chennai.

Trupti Desai


13 Responses

  1. Some people want to slut-walk into the cheap limelight that the free market offers by upending all our age-old conventions on its head. They would like to sanitise our history, our traditions, our culture in the light of what the Constitution grants us by way of Rights and Entitlements. Today, the Constitution overrides Tradition. Tomorrow, it may nullify that which gives rise to that Tradition, and so on and so forth.

  2. I agree that the activists may not believe that the deity is actually present in the stone image. They may (I say may, because I am not certain that the Bhumata people are in that category)also like the Christians believe that it is only a symbol.Protestans view the host as symbolic but not the Catholics who believe that Jesus is literally present in the host and in the wine.

    However, it is not clear why even men are not allowed inside the garbha graha in most temples in Kerala and possibly Tamil Nadu also.

    But if men are allowed as they were inside the Shani temple then it is time that women are also allowed. This is not a question of women’s right. Surely the deity is evenhanded towards both sexes.

    Regarding the villagers’ rights,may be,although not all villagers’ rights are to be condoned. Not long ago there was a discussion about whether animals should be slaughtered in the thousands simply because some common criminal (called himself a rajah) had a dream that the deity asked him to do that.

    I recalled that both Radha Rajan and I objected to this horrific slaughter.

    But Times Now raised the question whether temples of all faiths should be allowed inside the temple. Such an argument is misplaced simply because non Hindus do not accept the worship of deities other than their own One God. Why would they want to enter a Hindu temple then ?

    To gawk ? A Hindu temple is not a museum or a public park.

  3. Radhaji, in South Indian temples, notably,those in Kerala neither man nor woman can enter the garbha graha. I have seen this on the occasions that I went to the temples.

    But in North India the custom appears to be that men only can enter the garbha graha. In fact in one of the debates on Times Now, Rahul Easwaran held up a picture of Shashi Tharoor and his then wife Sunanda entering the garbha graha, to prove his point that both men and women are allowed to enter the garbha graha and hence this debate was irrelevant.

    Ofcourse, he was being disingenuous here. In Kerala neither man nor woman can enter, only the officiating priest can enter the garbha graha or touch the deity.

    It would be useful if all concerned would provide the basic facts, especially the media.

    While clearly there are attempts made to sow disunity among Hindus this unfortunately was the wrong topic for the endless debates which have so far only confused the public.

  4. Dear Admin,

    Not sure if you ever read Swamy’s opinion on this. He already clearly communicated that he supports this gender equality in temple entry in the sabarimala case itself, in his tweets.

    I always used to say that the destroyers of Hinduism are not outside. They are within. There is a clear sign that a section of people are trying to destroy all the pluralities of Hinduism and trying to make it into yet another Abrahamic religion for political reasons. In such a scenario, the only plurality that will eventually exist will be in the number and kind of Gods. The strength of Hinduism lies not in the Gods that we worship but in the Dharma that we follow. Dharma is always plural. There is no concept of a unified Dharma followed by one and all. Sanatana Dharma is not just about Gods but rather an over-arching principle of which Gods are just a minuscule part of.

    • Swamy is a sophist. No doubt he is expressing the party line on gender equality and women’s rights issues. The problem is that these issues are not relevant to temple puja traditions which have evolved over centuries for a specific purpose and which cannot be meddled with by reformers or politicians or, indeed, the courts.

      Hindus have been fooled into believing they have a Hindu government. Nothing could be further from the truth. For all his personal piety, Modi has done absolutely nothing for Dharma so far.

  5. The simplest reason why the temple’s traditions cannot be changed by the courts is secularism which supposedly guarantees separation of state and religious institutions. Thus, the government and the courts have no business telling Hindus how to practice their religion. If reform is to happen, it will be taken care of by the Hindus. This Trupti is just another media junkie. And we all know what the media was called by general V.K. Singh.

    • India is not a secular state and Indians should stop fooling themselves about it. India cannot be considered a secular state unless and until a common civil code comes into force.

      Hindu traditions are not protected by the Constitution in the same way that Christian and Muslim religious traditions are protected. The courts and government have been interfering with Hindu religious traditions from the time of Independence following the British.

      Hindu religious and charitable endowments acts exist in various states with government departments to enforce them. These departments are unconstitutional (according to at least one court ruling) and the state governments are misappropriating the Hindu monies offered in various temples. Yet it goes on. Nobody seriously tries to stop it. Until Hindus make a concerted effort to take back the management of their temples and religious traditions into their own hands, they will continue to be exploited in every way—including by the so-called Hindu-Hindutva Modi Sarkar,

      Again we must ask, what are the self-important old men of the VHP and other leading Hindu organisations doing about this very sad state of Hindu affairs?

  6. I heard a talk by Ms Radha Rajan. She mentioned that she has done some research on how Anti – Hindu Indians recruited by western powers operate. She mentioned some names also.

    I have been very interested in the same subject, and would like to write email to her. I am looking for her email ID. Can it be sent to my email ID?



  7. Decently articulated. I have just five points to make, which I wish the eminent judges take cognizance of.

    One, that the temple came up at Shani Shignapur, after the divine vision of some devotee, where after the village people united to erect a pedestal for the deity. Thus, the temple is the absolute property of the village folk, and no courts should and can order encroachment or trespass by people from outside, against the wishes of the village folk. Further, since the temple has not been built by any grants from Government, how can courts adjudicate upon a private property in favour of outside parties. Since, the temple is a village property, hence the brouhaha being created around Equality does not apply. No body can claim right to usurp another person’s property in the name of equality.

    Second, since the temple came up as a vision of some village folk, his words were taken to be true. So, if the essence of divinity are presumed true on the basis of folklore, why their traditions are being questioned and condemned. If you believe one part of their statement, accept the other part also.

    Thirdly, in the name of Right to Pray, there is a deliberate attempt at demeaning the traditional, cultural ethos of Hinduism by vested interest groups. There is an emergent need for all Hindu organisations to come up and fight this matter both at intellectual level and also at judicial level. Hindu Dharma has a tradition of Shastrarth, whereby dharmic discussions were held. Here again, the wise men, well versed in Hindu scriptures should come forward and discuss the issue. And they should adjudicate upon this sensitive issue and Hindus should accept their decision as sacrosanct.

    Fourthly, I would also like to bring to the notice of eminent writer of the blog and also to people at large that for adjudicating upon any issue, the judge, before adjudicating upon the subject before him, should possess detailed knowledge of the subject. Are our judges sitting in HC or SC knowledgeable enough in these Dharmic matters. Have they spent time understanding nuances of our Dharma, our scriptures, our traditions. If not, how can they decide on such matters.

    And lastly I would also like to ask those who allege discrimination in Hindu society against women, to question the Christian society how many popes have been women, how man priests have been women, how many maulvis have been women. So, in your urge to denigrate your own Dharma, do some soul searching and study of the theology and then make outrageous accusations.

  8. Subtle, meaningful and pragmatic is what this article expounds. That there is a calculated design to destabilize the nation using whatever means available, be it manufactured or created, by a dirty dozen of faceless apostates is beyond doubt. These destitutes who feigns congeniality while actually holding malevolent intentions must be exposed and eradicated including the parochial Media who air it with disdain. These frequent unrests are preempted by think tankers of the 44 and decayed Left Brigade is needless to say. Powerful narratives like these have to be circulated in the social media to reach out to those who fall for such gimmicks highlighted through the amplified 24/7 PaidMedia.

  9. This matter is not for the courts and should never have gone to the court.

    It also has nothing to do with women’s rights and the Constitution.

    It is a matter of a temple puja tradition of a least four centuries which also directly concerns the surrounding village and its inhabitants.

    The puja rules and tradition have evolved to ensure the manifestation of the Deity in the image and designated area of the garba griha. Changing the tradition in any way may cause the Deity to abandon the temple. This is what the temple management and villagers seek to avoid at any cost.

    Obviously the women activists and the court do not understand this underlying truth or respect the traditional Agama rules. Very probably they do not believe the ‘superstition’ that the Deity is present in the stone image. They have internalized the western Christian notion that the image is only a symbol and that the Deity lives somewhere else in an unknown place beyond the human pale.

    This is the great misfortune of ignorance that the modern Hindu has fallen into!

    And where is our Hindu leadership? Where are the old goats of the VHP who are supposed to protect Hindu tradition in India. Where is that windbag Subramanian Swamy who supposedly knows everything legalese there is to know, but who in all these decades has not been able to have Sonia Gandhi convicted and put in jail or have a Ram temple built in Ayodhya. Why has he not come forward to help these desperate villagers in their hour of travail and need?

    Why has no clever Hindu lawyer not filed a PIL in the Supreme Court to have women imams leading prayers in mosques and women priests performing Mass in churches?

    It is all about “women’s rights” isn’t it? Or do these issues only apply to Hindus and their traditions that are so easily trampled over by any motivated person or group who parades around as Hindu reformist?

    • these are the golden words :

      “….they do not believe ……….. that the Deity is present in the stone image. ………internalized the western Christian notion that the image is only a symbol and that the Deity lives somewhere else ………….”. “…..this is the great misfortune of ignorance that the modern Hindu has fallen into! ”

      and this is the lamentation of any devout Hindu :

      ……… where is our Hindu leadership ?

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