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Religious liberty and women rights

A country will rise when its women will grow and develop their abilities and hidden talents. But needs freedom in all spheres of life be it economical, political, social, legal and religious sphere.

There is immense need of elimination of restrictions imposed by society. The role of society played in woman discrimination needs to be changed by the society itself. India is a country in which on one side of coin people worship mother goddess and personify and on other side of coin their are bunch of restrictions for the entry in religious places. The famous “Manusmriti” quotes “YATRA NARAYSTU PUJYANTE RAMANTE TATRA DEVATA” which means where women are worshipped God will reside there only! But there are no rational proofs that entry to women in religious places is to be prohibited! The main reason provided is women are impure. Religious places like “The Sabrimala Temple “have prohibition from girls aged 10to 50yrs for the entry in the temple. Just because women are gifted with the reproductive phase and menstruation. These reason provided by the temple authorities are absolutely irrational and baseless, without any valid proofs! Also menstruation is a biological process which helps women to be a mother and complete women, which clearly indicates no harm to the celibacy of God.

Also, prohibition of entry of women in religious places are result of a nothing but a patriarchal mindset of our society, which considers women less than men in every field and also given preference in religious acts. The condition of women in India is alarming since decades. Though constitution has mentioned many provisions for women but women are being excluded from religious participation due to stereotypes that men are more deserving. Women have been provided the right to manage religious affairs subject to public order which includes.

  1. To establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purpose.

  2. To manage on own affairs in matters of religion.

This is clear violation of fundamental rights.

1] Right to equality (Article 14)

2] Right to religious freedom and right against discrimination on the basis of sex (Article15) are violated.

This indicates religious fundamentalism that stems from minds of orthodox society. Even the Supreme Court of India passes the judgement that women shall not be discriminated or prohibited from visiting temples. To give a cause for stopping the religious discrimination of women the “BHOOMATA BRIGADE” of the country and its leaders with the main character Trupti Desai are always ensuring that there is no kind of discrimination of rights with women, by continuous protests and rallies. They won the battle and made the orthodox society open gates of the “SABRIMALA “and “HAJI ALI DARGAH “ for women . These reforms highlight the inner strength and capability of women in the modern era.

Despite this the Sabrimala Shrine doesn’t permit all women and provide reason of history of no-entry of women since 1500 years.

Although writings and script from ancient period are totally opposite as they considered women equal to goddess. In the 21st century, there is a need to pause these discriminations and inferior treatments. Proper value education and gender equality lessons need to be given to the children and young generation of the country. As the young children are very impressionable. Also, strong political movements also would help in making better the situations. To eradicate these orthodox beliefs, both men and women but also the society needs men who respect feminism within them.

The words of SWAMI VIVEKANANDA are:

“The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment to women”

However, women such as INDIRA GANDHI, PRATIBHA TAIO PATIL, SUSHMA SWARAJ PROVED that no obstacle can keep them back!

Talking about the religious liberty and rights we can consider some cases

  1. The Shah Bano case judgement in 1985 was a significant step to safeguard her right of maintenance till her remarriage.

  2. Triple Talaq system an indiscriminate weapon under the religious autonomy is absolutely irrelevant was been uncalled by the court.

  3. Even the Bombay High court during the Haji ali dargah case stated that such religious institutions have guarantee of Article 26(b) to manage their affairs but when the Dargah being a public place opened for public, such right cannot be allowed to take precedence over the more for sighted goal of equality.

  4. Parsi women to enter a fire-temple after having married to hindu (non-parsi).

As, Ms. Goolrokh Gupta parsi by birth but married to a hindu was barnned from entering by Parsi institutions. Also, prohibiting last rites after the demise of her parents.

The petitioners contend that a prohibition of women entering mosque stands conflict with the Article 44 of constitution of India, which encourages the state to secure a uniform civil code for all citizens , by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently force in the country.

Also, the Shayra Bano vs. Union of India court declared Triple Talaq as unconstitutional on the basis of religion. Further, in the case the Supreme Court declared the ‘Talaq-e-biddat’ as unconstitutional. Also, taking into consideration the example of bollywood actress DIA MIrza , who broke the stereotypes during her wedding . She had a traditional wedding breaking the stereotypical mindset. A woman priest organized the wedding.

So, overall we arrive to the conclusion that the essence of every religion is to upgrade ones personality and not to degrade others. Therefore, limiting religious rights of individuals is misappropriated!


-Aditi Patil

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