Swami Ayyappan loses his celibacy for 4 minutes

The “yuvati-entry” followed by “purification” is seen as a return of “untouchability” and “violation” of the September 28 Supreme Court verdict. The breach is expected to influence the Supreme Court when it hears review petitions on January 22. Calls to arrest the Chief Tantri and his assistants under the SC/ST Atrocities Act for carrying out a series of “ordained cleansing pujas” after the “yuvati-entry” are gaining ground. But various Hindu organisations lauded his boldness.

Aditya Aamir

‘Yuvatis’ Kanaka Durga and Bindu sneaked into Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in the wee hours of January 2, 2019. Victory! Temple Chief Tantri Kandraru Rajeevaru closed shut the temple doors and “purified” the temple precincts. Humiliation! Only then was the temple reopened for male Ayyappa devotees. A team of 70 cops in mufti assisted Kanaka and Bindu gain “backdoor” entry. They did not climb the “18 sacred steps”. Kerala society stands divided, polarised. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed the “breach.” His statement comes within 24 hours of the LDF-sponsored ‘Women’s Wall.’ The “50 lakh-strong Women’s Wall” saw hundreds of burqa-clad women, carrying placards reading ‘Brahmanical Patriarchy Down Down’, giving rise to chatter that “reformation of the Hindu way of life” has throughout history been “outsourced to other faiths.” 

The “yuvati-entry” followed by “purification” is seen as a return of “untouchability” and “violation” of the September 28 Supreme Court verdict. The breach is expected to influence the Supreme Court when it hears review petitions on January 22. Calls to arrest the Chief Tantri and his assistants under the SC/ST Atrocities Act for carrying out a series of “ordained cleansing pujas” after the “yuvati-entry” are gaining ground. But various Hindu organisations lauded his boldness. 

Kanaka Durga and Bindu tried to make history 10 days ago but had failed. Wednesday, they tasted partial success. It is an inflexion point in Kerala history. “Faith vs law’ transformed into “Hinduism vs traitors to Hindu way of life.” Ayyappa devotees are taking the breach as a “traitorous challenge” to Hinduism from the atheist communists. Kanaka and Bindu came to Sabarimala in an ambulance, the 70 policemen in “Ayyappan black.” The two women “entered”. They “saw”. They “returned.” They “made history.” They sent a “signal to the Supreme Court.” 

Four months short of Lok Sabha elections, Kerala stands polarised. The “breach of tradition” came within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that Sabarimala was different from triple talaq, that the two cannot be equated. The BJP in Kerala is fired up. It is looking beyond January 22. To an ordinance! To Ayyappa devotees, mostly, January 22 doesn’t hold meaning anymore. Both BJP and the Congress want Pinarayi Vijayan to step down. Kerala Devasom Minister Kadamkampally Surendran, however, says that there’s “no test” to determine “temple-entry age”, especially after the September 28 Supreme Court verdict. 

The BJP terms the “entry of age-barred women a well-planned despicable conspiracy.” BJP-led protests broke out across the state by noon with demonstrations outside the Chief Minister’s residence and the Secretariat. The residences of Bindu and Kanaka Durga are under police protection. Grainy CCTV footage of the two entering and leaving the temple will be archive-protected. But the two will henceforth live in fear. The police cannot give them protection for life. The same as the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple cannot be forever fortified against ‘yuvati entry.’ 

Amidst all this, the Congress is as if rudderless, with no clear instructions from the high command. Pinarayi Vijayan seems to have succeeded in making the LDF’s main opposition irrelevant to a degree. Vijayan appropriated the title of ‘Navothana Nayakan’ with the ‘Women’s Wall’ and the successful “Women’s Entry.” But the LDF claim of “50 lakh-strong Women’s Wall” is suspect. A ’50 lakh-long Women’s Wall’ will stretch from Kasargode to Triveni Sangam in Kanyakumari, and from there to Sri Lanka to lose itself in the waters of the Indian Ocean! Impossible. Unbelievable. 

Kanaka Durga and Bindu were at the Sabarimala shrine for exactly four minutes. They did not wait to pray. That was not the purpose. They restored to life “she-devil Mahishi” who “Ayyappa killed”. And what’s the use if every time a “yuvati entry” is followed by “purification”, a cleansing? Can the Supreme Court order a cleansing of age-old traditions, evict the tantri-clan and the erstwhile Pandalam royals from running Ayyappa Temple, handover Swami Ayyappa to the Malaryar Adivasis, original claimants? 

My god, your god; his god, her god! What a godless situation. January 2, 2019 marks the beginning of a long-drawn struggle to claim god, use god as instrument, the effects of which will be felt for decades, if not centuries. Two women in their 40s have robbed Swami Ayyappa of his eternal celibacy. Imagine the state of mind of Malika Purathamma, her eternal wait to wed him, all in vain?

(The author is a political commentator)