The admission by the Kannada actress Jayamala that she had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala Temple and touched the feet of Lord Ayappa idol in 1987 has set off a tsunami in the chai cup. The news of the “sacrilege” has led to the liberal use of words like “sordid” and “shameful” to describe an incident that happened with the alleged “connivance” of the thantri who presided over the monthly pooja.
Admittedly, women between 10 and 50 are not permitted by a rule of the Temple. Admittedly, non-Brahmins are not permitted into the sanctum sanctorum by a rule of the Temple. Still, are such rules a good thing in this day and age? Is it fair to keep women out? The Travancore Temple Board wants to initiate a series of rituals to cleanse the abode of all “such” impurities. Can we really be talking of “impurities” and “desecration” merely because a woman of menstruating age gained entry?