Sabarimala case: 'Democracies must protect tradition'

Sabarimala case: 'Democracies must protect tradition'

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition which argues that women of all ages should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.  Those of the menstrual age are barred from entering the temple on the grounds that Ayyappa Swamy is a celibate Deity in the temple.  

Parasaran, arguing for Nair Service Society, has said that democracies ought to protect religion and tradition.  He argued that the Sabarimala temple tradition of disallowing women of menstrual age can't be compared to the banned practice of Sati, which itself has no connection to the Hindu faith.  "We should not approach the issue of Sabarimala with notions of patriarchy," Parasaran argued.  

"A right question will lead to the right answer, a wrong question will lead to the wrong answer.  If a person asks 'Can I smoke when I pray?' he will get a slap. But if he asks 'Can I pray as I smoke?' he will be appreciated," the lawyer argued in the Supreme Court.  

With modernists and feminists saying that disallowing women into the Sabarimala temple amounts to misogyny, Parasaran said, "The basis of the practice is the celibate nature of the Deity (Ayyappa), not misogyny. Devotees who visit the Temple too are expected to observe celibacy in letter and spirit. Hence, during the journey, the company of women must be avoided."