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Breaking barriers: on two women’s Sabarimala temple entry


The key is to allow women to pray at Sabarimala in an orderly way

In facilitating(आसान कर देना) the entry of two women, albeit(हालांकि) in stealth(गुप्त /चुपके) and under the cover of darkness, the Kerala government has displayed some resolve(समाधान करना/संकल्प) in breaking the illegal blockade(नाकाबंदी/घेराबंदी)imposed(लगाई गई) by some devotees(भक्त) on permitting(अनुमति ) females in the 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple. This is the first time women of menstruating age have made their way into the shrine(मंदिर) after a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in September 2018 threw the temple open to women of all ages. Under some pressure to demonstrate(दिखाना/प्रदर्शन करना) that it had not gone soft as a result of the upsurge of protests(विरोध प्रदर्शन/आपत्ति) against the Supreme Court’s order and was keen on signalling that it was in favour of upholding the law, the government appears(प्रकट होता है) to have drawn up an elaborate(विस्तृत/जटिल) and closely scripted(लिखित) plan, with assistance from the State police and civil administration, to help Bindu and Kanakadurga make their way unnoticed(ध्यान नहीं गया) to the temple from the foothills(तलहटी) at Pampa. Unfortunately(खेदजनक), but not entirely unpredictably(अप्रत्याशित रूप से), news of their visit has resulted in a cycle of violent(हिंसक) and politically orchestrated protests, clashes(संघर्ष), and mass(सामूहिक )arrests(गिरफ्तारी). Tragically, one life was lost.

In the face of an illegal(अवैध ) blockade to prevent(रोकना/प्रतिबंध करना) menstruating-age women from visiting the temple, the Kerala government will regard(संबंध) this operation as a victory. But clearly, even it must be aware(अवगत/जानकार) that covert ops such as this one are not a sustainable(स्थायी) solution(समाधान) to the Sabarimala problem. The State government’s dilemma — and also its responsibility(जिम्मेदारी) — is to find a way of ensuring(सुनिश्चित) safe(सुरक्षित) passage for all women who want to visit the temple while keeping the peace at the same time. Given the passions(जुनून/जोश ) at play, and the cynical(निंदक) attempts(प्रयास) to politically exploit(शोषण) them, this is anything but an easy task. In the short term, though — and this may well have been its intent(प्रयोजन/आशय) — the Left Front government has managed to alter the narrative in the Sabarimala controversy. The decision of the temple authorities to close the sanctum sanctorum and perform purification(शुद्धि ) rituals(रसम रिवाज/धार्मिक क्रिया) has invoked(लागू) old and regressive notions of purity(शुद्धता ) and pollution, of defilement(कलंक/भ्रष्टता) and desecration(अपवित्रता). They have focussed attention on the role of the chief priest (or Tantri) of Sabarimala, leaving him open to the charge levelled by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that his actions violated(उल्लंघन) both the Supreme Court order and the Devaswom Manual. At a larger level, the entry of the two women has,perhaps(शायद ) inevitably(अनिवार्य रूप से,), recalled Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s words in the majority judgment in the Sabarimala case. In his judgment, he had argued(तर्क/उलझ जाना) that the ban on women’s entry was a “form of untouchability(छुआछूत)”, and their exclusion(बहिष्करण ) was a “violation of the right to liberty(स्वतंत्रता), dignity(गरिमा/प्रतिष्ठा) and equality”. Meanwhile, as passions continue to escalate(तीव्र करना), it is important for the State government, the Travancore Devaswom Board and also those representing(प्रतिनिधित्व करना/वर्णन करना) the devotees to initiate(शुरू करें) a conversation and prevent the State from being consumed(प्रयुक्त) in a further cycle of violence and conflict(संघर्ष/टकराव) over this issue.

Important Vocabulary

1. Resolve(समाधान करना/संकल्प) 
Synonyms: boldness, courage, firmness, intention, steadfastness
Antonyms: cowardice, fear, weakness, indecision, question

2.Imposed(लगाई गई/थोपा हुआ)
Synonyms: appoint, charge, demand, enforce
Antonyms: disorder, displace, forget, overlook, prevent

3. Blockade(नाकाबंदी/घेराबंदी)
Synonyms: barricade, closure, encirclement, restriction, roadblock
Antonyms: beginning, opening, start, advantage, aid

4. Protests(विरोध प्रदर्शन/आपत्ति)
Synonyms: challenge, demonstration, dissent, objection, outcry
Antonyms: agreement, answer, calm, concurrence, harmony

5. Elaborate(विस्तृत/जटिल)
Synonyms:busy, complicated, decorated, detailed, embellishe
Antonyms: easy, facile, natural, simple, uncultured

6. escalate(तीव्र करना),
Synonyms: expand, grow, heighten, intensify, mount, raise
Antonyms: decline, decrease, diminish, drop, fall

7. Arrests(गिरफ्तारी).
Synonyms: capture, detention, imprisonment, incarceration, jailing
Antonyms: freedom, release, liberation, refusal, rise

8. Mass(सामूहिक )
Synonyms: crowd, group, horde, lot, lump
Antonyms: dissolution, fraction, individual, one, opening

9. Clashes(संघर्ष),
Synonyms: argument, battle, brawl, conflict, confrontation
Antonyms: agreement, calm, concord, harmony, peace

10. Unfortunately(खेदजनक),
Synonyms: sadly, regrettably, disastrously, dismally, grievously
Antonyms: appropriately, favorably, fortunately, happily, luckily

11. Solution(समाधान
Synonyms: explanation, quick fix, result, clarification, elucidation
Antonyms: chemical, doubt, element, problem, quandary

12. Cynical(निंदक)
Synonyms: contemptuous, derisive, ironic, misanthropic, misanthropical
Antonyms: believing, hopeful, optimistic, trusting, undoubting

13. Liberty(स्वतंत्रता)
Synonyms: autarchy, authorization, autonomy, birthright, choice
Antonyms: denial, dependence, hold, prohibition, refusal


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