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Ready To Wait campaign

The Ready To Wait campaign is a social movement initiated[when?] by a group of female devotees from India, explaining their willingness to respect the traditions regarding entry to the Sabarimala temple located in the South Indian state of Kerala. It started as a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #ReadyToWait and soon gained momentum.

IntroductionEdit

According to legend, Ayyappa, who is the main deity of the Sabarimala temple, is a state of eternal celibacy (nitya-brahmachari) and as such the shrine restricts entry to women of reproductive age (10 to 50 yrs). Feminists argue that this amounts to discrimination against women. But the campaigners, reject such responses as immature and prejudiced saying it stems from total ignorance about the complex web of beliefs surrounding Sanatana Dharma which stresses self-realisation as the ultimate goal.[1]

The campaigners, led by Shilpa Nair and Anjali George,[citation needed] point out that the tradition at Sabarimala is based on the concept that Ayyappa of Sabarimala is in the form of a Kumāra (teenager) observing Brahmacharya. They contrast the Sabarimala Ayyappa from other Ayyappa temples like Kulathupuzha, Aryankavu, and Achankovil. In these three temples, Ayyappa is in three different forms namely Bāla (child) in Kulathupuzha, Bhārya-sametha (lit. accompanying wife) in Achankovil and Tāpasa (ascetic) in Aryankavu. These four 'pratishtas' (installations) denote the four stages of human life according to Hindu scriptures. Except in Sabarimala, where Ayyappa is in his Brahmachari phase, there is no restriction on entry of women in the other three temples or in any other Ayyappa temple around the globe.[2]

They also point out that there are also temples which forbid men on particular days and contend that such practises are part of the history and cultural diversity of Indic civilisations and that they deserve to be respected. Misunderstandings regarding Sabarimala are the outcome of ascribing a human form to God, they argue, and explain that Santana Dharma treats God as a manifestation of universal energy. The campaigners stress that there is no blanket ban on the entry of women and refute reports which claim so as motivated.[3]

The campaigners say there is nothing to show that forces behind #RightToPray have any belief in Hindu traditions or any interest to secure any "right" for "Hindu women".[4] The devotees have posted their photographs with a placard bearing the slogan #ReadyToWait with a hashtag on social media.[5] Within a day the movement went viral.[6]

The response to the social media campaign emboldened the organisers to file an application of intervention at the Supreme Court.[7] People For Dharma was created as their legal entity.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit