‘I am on Vrata, I will visit Shabarimala’; Interview with Reshma Nishanth the first young woman who announced to enter the temple

By on

Reshma Nishanth is a college lecturer who has begun her Vrata to visit Shabarimala after the Supreme Court allowed the entry of young women to visit Lord Ayyappa temple, where women between the age of 10 and 50 were restricted. It was in 1991 Kerala High Court verdict strictly restricted young womens’ entry to Shabarimala during the season ‘Mandalakalam’(pilgrim season of 41 days). On October 14th she announced this in a public facebook post and uploaded photos as well. Reshma is a devotee and she used to live in Vrata during the pilgrim season. She said menstruation is just like urine or sweat so there is no question of impurity. Being the first woman to declare it in public, marking History, Reshma faced death threats and abuses from the men who oppose young women entering Shabarimala. They came with torches and surrounded her house at Irinav in Kannur district.

Reshma talks about her decision to visit shabarimala and the threats followed by

They came sloganeering ‘Swami Saranam’. They were carrying burning torches and they surrounded my house. There were only a very few familiar faces we could find among them. Others were outsiders. Since there are intense and violent mob protests everywhere, against the judgment. My family got tensed. I was not worried about these protests but my family was. I was at my home while this happened. I was going out for a function. So once I left home and reached the road and saw them waiting for me. Then police came and talked to them.

I stand firm on what I do. Because I didn’t do it to create mob violence or I didn’t do it to prove myself a revolutionary. I didn’t want to make myself viral by telling in public that I am getting ready to go to Shabarimala. My vrata is punctual like anybody else’s. There are questions regarding purity. I have made it very clear in my facebook post. I will complete my Vrata. How can someone restrict me from going there when I follow the rituals and when I am a strong believer myself? If they are sincere to their faith, they won’t come and threaten me who is in Vrata. Their common sense should not allow them to do that. Be it Ayyappan or Malikappuram who came with proper Vrata, can’t be restricted from entering Shabarimala.

I am not alone. There are other women too. In coming days you will know about them. It’s just that I said about this in public for first time. It’s because of my faith background. Like me, there are more women who are in Vrata. They are getting ready to go to Shabarimala.

I have nothing more to say to the protesters in the streets to Save Shabarimala, the same thing Archana Padmini had told during the press meet by Women In Cinema Collective that ‘there is no point in going behind these morons’. They haven’t yet realized what they are doing. Those women say that they are impure and good for nothing. Kerala is witnessing such a street war for the first time. There had been several situations which demanded people’s gatherings and mass protests, but on those times these women didn’t hit the streets. When women and young girls got raped and murdered where these Savarna women were? Without responding to rapes and murders these women are saying we are impure and good for nothing. I am not going to respond to them. Not just I, a woman who think on herself will never do that.

Read More Related Articles