(30 Nov) Mumbai : In an incident that was played out greatly by the media on Sunday, a woman approached the deity at the well-known Shani Shingnapur temple on Sunday, an area which has always been prohibited for access to women devotees. Flouting all norms, the woman approached the idol in full public view, paid her respects to the idol and walked off the platform. Following this, the trustees of the temple and villagers of Shani Shingnapur, a small village in Ahmednagar district, purified the idol and the premises with cow’s milk. This incident has also evoked many reactions from city-based activists. Reacting to the issue, activist Nilam Gorhe said, “Women should be allowed everywhere, no matter what area it is.
If men are allowed there, women should be allowed also. I cannot comment on whether the woman did the act deliberately or unknowingly, but she has questioned an age-old superstition. I also condemn the villagers’ move to ‘purify’ the area later. As a society, we need to be more reformative than that.” Similarly, Right to Pee activist Mumtaz Sheikh said, “Since it is a religious place and such issues are sensitive, this event has a different meaning attached to it. However, at least it addressed the disparity evident in society between the two sexes. Temples and mosques across the country put such restrictions on women and we must talk about it. I am glad young women are taking up issues of equality.”