The Sabarimala issue refuses to die down. How can it, given that it is battling ideas that are entrenched in the psyche of the people?
It also triggers the thought that it is not an isolated case. There are still temples by dominant communities where people of other communities are not allowed. And there are temples divided on caste basis.
The battles waged in Vaikom and Meenakshi Amman temple are mere memories. Every time I read about somebody being denied the right to worship in a particular place, my thought invariably goes to Nandanar, the Saivite saint who longed to go to Chidambaram to worship Lord Siva there.
I wept bucketfuls when I watched the movie and am still moved to tears when I see a dance drama or listen to the songs of Nandanar.
Though I am given to visiting temples, it is not a must for me. When I see this man, who was by birth – in those days – believed to be of inferior caste, yearning for a darshan of the Lord that for me is not a big deal, it leads to pangs of guilt in me.
I may not feel the same pangs now with the Sabarimala issue. But, the central thought is that if there is somebody yearning to have a darshan of Lord Ayyappa, that person – he or she – must be able to do so.