As the Ram temple issue heads for an SC-ordered mediation, the other temple that’s been a lot in the news of late, Sabarimala, presents itself as a political fruit ripe for the plucking before the Lok Sabha polls. Yes, the Election Commission has warned parties in Kerala not to bring it up, but try catch even one voter who thinks Sabarimala will not be an overt or underlying theme in the campaign. Voting is due on April 23, and the four-month-long agitation which split open religious and social faultlines in Malayali society will hang heavy in the air. The RSS, for one, gave ample signs of what its main agenda for Kerala will be at a conclave in Gwalior last week. If the Supreme Court order overturning a judicial ban on menstruating women entering the Ayyappa temple shook up Kerala politics, it also changed the lives of women who decided to uphold their constitutional rights.
The ordeal of Kanakadurga—who scripted history by being one of two women who entered the temple after the SC order—is symptomatic of the deep-rooted misogyny public responses in Kerala are often awash in. On January 2, the state government employee entered the shrine with Bindu Ammini. After the news broke out, tempers ran high everywhere and both women had to go into hiding. What ensued was out of some ancient script.