After the Supreme Court overturned a timeless tradition in Sabarimala, one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage spots in the whole country, lakhs of Hindu devotees have poured out on the streets of Kerala and other states demanding a review of the judgement.
A series of protests is taking place across Kerala. Composed of mostly women, a majority of them young women, who were the focal point of the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of devotees took out marches chanting ‘Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa’.
In Pandalam, where Sri Ayyappa is believed to have been born, women led the march. The procession ended at Pandalam palace, the birthplace of Sri Ayyappa. Members of various social organisations and the Pandalam royal family participated in the march which was organised under the banner of Ayyappa Dharma Samrakshana Samithi.
Prayer marches were also taken out in Palakkad, Ranni, Konni, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode Kasaragod and other places.
I bow down before Pandalam Royal family and King for organising such a massive protest of women devotees. Perhaps the biggest ever protest lead by Hindu women of Kerala. Also appreciating Ready to wait team. We will win this battle for pride. #SwamySaranam #SabarimalaVerdict pic.twitter.com/RZ6lfSf4l5
— Pratheesh Viswanath (@pratheesh_ahp) October 2, 2018
Infact, some CPI(M) goons tried to disturb and provoke the peaceful protest against the Supreme Court’s decision. However, they were well handled by the devotees.
This is what happened to @CPIMKerala goons under DYFI's attempt to provoke peaceful demonstration of Ayyappa devotees to #SaveSabarimala in Thodupuzha #ReadyToFight 4 #ReadyToWait is not just a hollow slogan pic.twitter.com/tbc9Ipd6Ye— HKupdate (@HKupdate) October 3, 2018
“Women were in the forefront. There is anger brewing among the Hindu society. Some Western vainglorious judges cannot decide what is good for us. It is our tradition and non-discriminatory. The Communists are termites, they are always anti-Hindu. I am from a Communist family but this is not acceptable,” said Radhika, a former member of the CPI(M).
Unlike staged, placard-based online activism, these protests were totally spontaneous, peaceful and out of pure devotion, in a bid to save a Dharmic practise which has been distorted and misrepresented by vested interests.. Not only this, the devotees showed a unique way to boycott the donations to Government controlled temples, instead, they wrote “Swamye Saranam Ayyappa” on a paper and put it in the Hundi.
Hundreds of women turned up in front of Pampa Ganapathy temple and pledged not to put donations to temple “to enrich Communist-led” Travancore Devaswom Board. Although they were protesting against the Supreme Court verdict, the anger was directed against the Marxists. “The Sabarimala temple is not the family property of Pinarayi Vijayan. I don’t want to say anything more in front of the temple,” said a visibly angry Kalyani, 65. Her daughter and granddaughter also pledged in front of the temple.
“Nobody will be allowed to tamper with the uniqueness of the temple. Why the court wants to impose something the women do not want? Some deranged feminists may want it. A Muslim man has filed the case. What is his interest in the temple,” asked Radhakrishnan, an auto-driver in Kochi.
Not only in Kerala, infact in cities of other states too, devotees took to the streets for protest marches. Devotees under the banner of Ayyappa Seva Sangham took out a protest march at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, to protest the verdict. Protests were also held in Nagpur, Chennai, Mumbai and other cities. Ayyappa Sangams in Tamil Nadu have also planned protests against the verdict.
A protest is also being planned in British Columbia, Canada by the Bharatiya community. “I am a Punjabi. I don’t know much about Sabarimala. But this is clear evidence of court’s interference into religious affairs of Hindus. I am angry at the state-of-affairs of Hindus in India,” said Rakesh Mittal, a businessman.
Meanwhile, the members of Pandalam royal family (into which Sri Ayyappa is believed to have born) decided to approach the President and Centre to express their concern over the violation of age-old belief systems. More than men, it is the women who are in the forefront to protect traditions with regard to the hill shrine.
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