At a time when women activists and liberals across the country are fervently fighting against discrimination meted out to the female gender at places of worship, a group of women have begun a campaign that they are ready to wait till they are 50 years old to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

Facebook user Anjali George, who is reportedly heading this faction, believes the Sabarimala issue is not one of gender. “There is no ban on entry of women in Sabarimala as the media is reporting. There is only a restriction on women of a particular age group,” she says.

Labelling the activists as “western-funded feminists” and “godless commies”, she is telling them to “leave the customs of the native civilisation to the devotees of the temple”.

Read her Facebook post here:

This Facebook post along with the hashtag #ReadyToWait has gone viral and hundreds of women have reportedly lent their support to this movement by using placards, drawings and digital illustration to indicate that they too are ready to wait. 

Padma Pillai, who is in her 40s and heads an IT firm told NDTV, “If it was man-made and wrong, I will fight against the tradition. But if it’s in the shastras, it’s my right to fight to obey. Women can worship Ayyappa anywhere else where they are allowed.”

Activist and frequent TV panelist Rahul Easwar has welcomed this move which opposes “leftist feminism”. 

Be it the Shani Shingnapur temple or the Haji Ali Dargah, Bombay High Court has allowed women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum. 

The Supreme Court in May had questioned the centuries-old practice of barring entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years to Sabarimala temple in Kerala saying it would test whether “faith and belief” can differentiate among persons of same “denominations”.

CPI(M), heading ruling LDF, has batted for entry of women of all age groups into the temple, saying those having a “feudal” and “anti-women” mindset are endorsing the restriction.

In June this year, it said that it was even prepared to conduct an opinion poll on whether to allow entry of women of all age groups inside the famous Lord Ayappa temple at Sabarimala.