On January 1, 2019, an estimated 5 million women in Kochi, Southern Kerala in India gathered together to form a human chain. Side by side and shoulder to shoulder they stood, dubbed the “women’s wall”, they formed the peaceful 385-mile long chain of empowerment.
The protest presents itself in the wake of a September ruling by the Supreme Court that would allow women access to worship in Sabarimala Temple.
India’s ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other Hindu groups oppose the ruling. They feel that it attacks the religious values. This has triggered many weeks of protest.
Typically women are being barred from entering the Sabarimala Temple because if they are between the ages of 10 and 50 they are considered women of “menstruating age”. Hinduism regards women of “menstruation age” to be unclean and then bars them from any religious ritual. After the Supreme Court ruling in early September, women have been entering into temples, but Sabarimala Temple is considered one of Hinduism’s holiest of temples, and according to the Deity, Lord Ayappa is an avowed bachelor who had taken an oath of celibacy and making the entrance of women in this age group quite the controversy. These protests have at times erupted into women being attacked physically, as well as verbally.
India’s left-wing coalition is being credited with organizing the event. When the women who stood in the protest were interviewed, they thought this was much bigger than a notation in religious freedom, they felt this was a protest of the constant gender inequality in their nation. They want the right to worship, but it is about the support of one another and about the ability to empower the women of their country. The women want to attack the backward thinking. The women of the “women’s wall” stood tall and entered into a state of power and cast forth an expression of women’s equality.
Photo Credit: Businessinsiders.in
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