For the longest time, those in the Narendra Modi government refrained from commenting on the Supreme Court allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala. Today when Union Minister Smriti Irani spoke on it, she said something we are still trying to make sense of even as she called it "basic common sense". While we women were looking up to her to stand up for the rights of women, she ended up failing us, with the most bizarre of statements. Here's what Smriti Irani, speaking at an event in Mumbai today, said: "Everyone has the right to pray, but not to desecrate. It is plain common sense. Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend’s home? So why would you take them into the house of God?" Smriti Irani's Bizarre Analogy on Women's Entry in Sabarimala Temple: 'Will You Take Sanitary Napkin Soaked in Menstrual Blood to Friend's Home?'
Let's try to break this down. "Everyone has the right to pray, but not to desecrate," Irani said after explaining how even she was made to stand outside a temple while she was menstruating. How is praying while you are menstruating "desecration"? Are we to believe that Irani has loudly and clearly stated that menstrual blood is impure? Are we to believe that something that is biological and absolutely normal, is "disrespect"? Sabarimala Verdict: Why These 5 Arguments in Favour of Restricting Women’s Entry Into the Ayyappa Temple Are Baseless.
Video: Smriti Irani's Statement on Women's Entry in Sabarimala
#WATCH Union Minister Smriti Irani says," I have right to pray,but no right to desecrate. I am nobody to speak on SC verdict as I'm a serving cabinet minster. Would you take sanitary napkins seeped in menstrual blood into a friend's home? No.Why take them into house of God?" pic.twitter.com/Fj1um4HGFk
— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2018
"It is plain common sense. Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend’s home? So why would you take them into the house of God," she added. Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend’s home? Who does that? Who carries a sanitary napkin soaked in menstrual blood into a friend's home? Do we take it in our hands to our friend's homes? No, absolutely not. But, we visit our friend's home irrespective of whether we are menstruating or not. Our friends don't have signboards displayed outside their homes saying 'menstruating women cannot enter'. Friends don't judge us on the basis of whether or not we are menstruating. And that is exactly what applies when we pray. God doesn't judge us on the basis of whether we are menstruating or not, and we don't carry sanitary napkins soaked in blood in our hands to the homes of our friends or home of God.
There was absolutely no common sense in that statement. It was bizarre and disrespectful. Are we to believe that "common sense" was not taken into account by the Supreme Court while pronouncing its verdict? We are still left wondering as to what the Union Minister's statement really implied.
The statement made by the Union Minister also takes our attention to the pressing issue of how it's women against women. How it's the women who are playing a huge role in taking patriarchy forward, making the fight for equal rights even more difficult. In this fight for rights, we women seek the support of each other, we have to fight against what has been laid down by patriarchy. We need more real common sense.
(The opinions expressed in the above article are of the author and do not reflect the stand or position of LatestLY.)