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Right to Enter Temples

It is really shocking to read the reports describing the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age at Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala. The authorities concerned (Travancore Devaswam Board) claimed this stricture is sanctioned by custom. But are all these prohibitions justified in 21st century?

Menstruation is a biological process, and it is good for health. Why smear it with notions of purity and pollution? The strictures are also directly proportional to socially constructed hierarchies, most notably caste. They also vary from religion to religion. But these are only matters of degree. Physical, social, cultural, psychological and/or verbal taboo pertaining to menstruation and menstruating women, in fact, transcend cultures.

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