Women empowerment, like social justice, has been a pet theme for the politicians, but both have not been achieved even after sixty years of independence. The main reason for this failure is the whimsical and cynical way by which the politicians handle these two issues, only to accomplish their self interests instead of true national interests. The Congressmen, Marxists, Dravidians and other P-Sec parties vie with each other in this regard, which results in utter chaos not serving the purpose.
The state of Kerala, which has been ruled alternatively by the Congress and Communists, constituted the ‘Kerala Women’s Commission’ in the year 1996, as per the Section 5 of Kerala Women’s commission Act 1990 vide GO (P) No. 9/96/SWD dated 14-03-06 with a Chairperson and six members, in order to improve the status of women and inquire into the unfair practices affecting them. The present Commission headed by Justice Sreedevi looked into the Church’s practice of appointing ‘Nuns’ and the issues affecting them, as per the direction of the present CPM led LDF government.
The Churches in Kerala have a practice of appointing even minor girls as ‘Nuns’ and there is a feeling among the Christian community that the nuns are not properly taken care of by the institutions. Cases relating to physical and psychological abuse of nuns and usurping of their properties have been widely reported in the media every now and then and the ‘Sister Abaya’ case is an apposite example of such an ugly practice going on in Kerala.
After making an in-depth study on the issue, Justice Sridevi Commission came up with a recommendation that restrictions have to be made in the process of enrollment of nuns by Churches. It has suggested the government to enact a Law to prescribe an age limit for appointment of nuns, so that, legal actions could be taken against those parents, who send their minor girls to Churches for becoming nuns. The Commission has also asked the government to formulate measures for the rehabilitation of the nuns who return from the Churches and Convents after relinquishing their nun-hood due to the ill treatment meted out to them by the Churches and other institutions. The commission was critical of the fact that the Churches, which take over the properties of the girls who get appointed as nuns, do not have the habit of giving them back to the ladies when they relinquish nun-hood for some reason or the other, leaving them in lurch with no means for livelihood.
The Congress party, due to ‘obvious’ reasons, came down heavily on the Kerala women’s Commission for making such recommendations and termed it as an act of interfering in the religious rights and practices of the minority community. The KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala charged that the Commission’s recommendations were a part of the CPI-M’s evil agenda to attack the faith and traditions of religious minorities. He has even demanded the resignation/sacking of the Chairperson of KWC Justice Sreedevi.
The point to note here is that, the Church and the Catholic community have become ‘pull and push’ objects between the Communists and the Congress parties. Of late the relationship between the Church and the ruling CPM government has touched a new low and hence the KWC’s interference in the affairs of nuns is seen as an act of vendetta perpetrated by the Communists, which has naturally compelled the Congress to side with the Church.
Another important point to note here is that the concern, shown by the Congress party with regards to the minority community, has not been shown for the majority community, which has been treated with utmost contempt and disregard by the Marxist government. Right from the beginning, the present government has been creating havoc in the affairs of Devaswoms and the traditional practices of Temples. Atheists and people from minority communities are being appointed in various posts in the Devaswoms. The Temple revenues are being diverted to other sectors instead of using them for the benefit of Temples and devotees. The government has tampered with the traditional practices in the Temples to a great extent unnecessarily. Such acts of the government have hurt religious sentiments of the Hindu majority and forced them to go for legal remedies.
The Congress party, which rises against the government in support of the Christian and Muslim community, deliberately turns a blind eye to the sufferings of Hindus.
For example, the restriction for entry of women between the age group of 10 and 50 at Sabari Mala Shrine and the ‘dress code’ in Guruvayur Temple have been made up as big issues and politicized by the Communist government unnecessarily and the Congress party also plays along with the government in denigrating the Hindu Temples and traditional practices. While the true and believing Hindu women have no issue at all with such traditional practices, the atheistic Communists and the pseudo-secular Congressmen have been wantonly creating problems in the functioning of Devaswoms hurting the religious sentiments of Hindu majority.
The Congress party, which rises in revolt against the Sabarimala and Guruvayur Temples in the name of women empowerment, has been conspicuous by its support for Church’s practices against nuns and by its silence on the non-entry of women in Mosques. Both the ruling Communists and the opposition Congress have scant regards for the Hindu majority, as it is a ‘minority’ in terms of ‘vote bank’ against the combination of ‘Atheists and Minorities’, which forms a solid vote bank. This is ‘secular hypocrisy’ of the worst order and ‘God’s own country’ would soon be disowned by God Himself.