Challenging a 400 year old custom that denied women temple entry

From Hinduism to Judaism to Christianity to Islam, religious restrictions surrounding menstruation and the belief that it makes women’s bodies impure are common across the board. While the judiciary has upheld women’s right to equality in cases of Shani Shingnapur, Haji Ali and Sabarimala, where women were denied entry to religious sites, the practice continues across the country. 

When community correspondent Rohini Pawar found out that women in Veer village in Maharashtra too were denied entry to the inner sanctum of the temple, she decided to redress this wrong. Although Rohini is an atheist, as a fierce advocate of women’s right, she found this deeply problematic – denying women the right to enter any space is a violation of their right to equality.  She took up the matter, first, of the community first and then the temple authorities.

When she spoke to the women in her community she realised that women have never protested this practice, due to the fear of backlash for violating traditional practices. She screened her video talking about the issue to the community as well as local NGOs, who petitioned the temple authorities.  And, with this, a 300-year-old custom was not just challenged but also changed – women are now allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple in Veer Village.

THIS VIDEO IS MADE BY COMMUNITY CORRESPONDENT MADHURI CHAUHAN, UTTAR PRADESH. THIS SERIES DOCUMENTING EVERYDAY PATRIARCHY IS SUPPORTED BY UNFPA. 

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