Over time, multiple religious leaders, political leaders as well as leaders of ‘cultural organizations’ have manufactured a variety of reasons to explain the repeated sexual crimes against women in India. From wearing jeans, to using cellphones to eating chowmein, each one of these reasons have been suggested by different people at different points of time to explain why rapes are so rampant in India. The essential idea is to blame the victim.
The latest piece of wisdom in this series is that women entering Shani Temple will increase rapes. This brilliant piece of deduction is courtesy Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth. Shankaracharya’s statement has come three days after the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra was forced to revoke a centuries-old ban against the entry of women into its inner sanctum after Bombay High Court directed the state government to uphold the fundamental right of women to pray.
Women entered Shani temple inner sanctum, due to this, incidents of rapes will increase further, Shankaracharya Swaroopanand says: ANI
— Times of India (@timesofindia) April 11, 2016
Social Media, expectedly, was buzzing with a variety of reactions.
Shobhana Panikar writes:
[pullquote align=”full”]”Women entering temples will cause rise in rapes” yes of course, women should not go to temples, or markets or offices… women going out of the house will cause increase in rapes. Women should stay inside the house and she will be safe… wait did you say marital rape? Ah no, that’s not possible cause marriages are sacred in India…
What’s even more scary is that it’s not just such sadhus but thousands of their followers who also might be influenced by this kind of attitude…[/pullquote]
Pradeep Singh writes:
[pullquote align=”full”]Women entering Shani Temple will increase rapes – Shankaracharya
Shankaracharya is right because many rapes happen in temples, pandit-pujaris sitting in these temples commit all those crimes.
According to last year’s report there are around 80,000 Devdasis (temple prostitutes) in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh only. On the name of who-knows-which-one-of-33cr-fake-god these girls are exploited in temples only!
Money collected at these temples is used against us in various forms so why bother to go there? Yes, I understand we must have right to go there and I stand with everyone fighting for that but my association ends there only. I don’t want anyone to go to these Brahmin temples.
These Brahmin temples are harmful not only for women but men also. Stay away from Brahmin temples.[/pullquote]
Kavita Krishnan, a woman’s rights activist, writes:
[pullquote align=”full”]A Shankaracharya says temple entry for women will lead to more rapes. Sigh. The old old threat, ‘cross the Laxmanrekha we draw, and you’ll be raped’. High time people stopped idiots like this from wielding power over their lives. This guy is 94 years old, and has been spouting this kind of nonsense for a long long while.[/pullquote]
Madhura Chakraborty writes:
[pullquote align=”full”]How come this is not seen as reflecting on the entire hindu communty and religion? But the moment some demented saudi mullah says something everyone is up in arms against how evil Islam is and how it’s instrumental in oppressing women. At least Islam in its fundamental written texts talks about equality of all believing Muslims. Hinduism singlehandedly came up with caste system way back when which has since imprinted itself on Islam and Christianity practised in the sub continent.[/pullquote]
However, along with sane voices, there were some nut-cases too. Like Mr Deepak Kamat who thinks that rapes are ‘predestined’. Coincidentally, his Facebook username is ‘greathindu’.
All religions, without an exception, discriminate against women. Time for women to think beyond religion?