Changing the traditions which were followed for nearly 400 years, the Parsuram temple in Jaunsar Bawar region (Uttarakhand) has allowed entry of Dalits and women.
The management of the temple recently announced that “everyone will in future be welcome”. Chairman of the temple committee, Jawahar Singh Chauhan, said
“This region is on the path of progress. Our literacy rate has gone up and people want scenarios to change. It is a move taken with change in times”
Explaining why the traditions were in place for so long, Chauhan said, “Dalits are hesitant to enter the temple premises because of certain beliefs. We want to send them a message that everyone is equal before the Almighty and no one can be stopped from entering a place of worship.”
The Parsuram temple witnesses the largest footfall among temples in the region and is known for its animal sacrifices. But this tradition has also been stopped now.
The temple authorities said that there will be no more slaughter of animals of any kind. Earlier, protests were also held condemning these traditions and a Dalit delegation led by BJP MP Tarun Vijay also met the state minister for Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions Dr Jitendra Singh and sought his intervention to put an end to the discrimination.
Dalit leader Daulat Kunwar said, “They have finally given an official confirmation that the ban has been lifted. We have been raising this issue for the past 13 years. We welcome the move but there are 339 other temples in the region which also need to give their approval for the entry of Dalits.”
In an another end to a discriminatory practice this year, the world-famous Shani Shingnapur temple appointed Anita Shetye
, a housewife, as the chairperson of the temple trust.
The Shani idol in the Shani Shingnapur temple
Also, a legal battle is going on to allow entry of women between 10 to 50 years in Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabrimala in Kerala. Supreme Court will hear the case and had earlier questioned the ban, saying
Supreme Court will hear the case and had earlier questioned the ban saying it is a public temple and everyone needed to have the right to access.
Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in Kerala