Why You Should Be A Feminist For Genuine Worship of Devi Maa

Devi Maa will arrive our homes tomorrow, on the Pratipada of Ashwin Shukla Paksha, for the next nine sacred days of Devi Navaratri. For the next nine days we will worship Devi Maa in nine different forms.

In another scenario, many of us, the devout Hindus, are fighting for the rights of Sabrimala temple. According to them, the perceived dangerous consequences of women entering the temple will invite a big threat to Hindu Dharma. In the third scenario, more and more women are coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment. The 'Me Too' campaign is gaining pace in India. These three scenarios have one aspect in common them -- the femininity.

The Worship, Abandonment, and Abuse of The Femininity:

We worship one form of femininity as Mother Goddess, we abandon femininity in the human form from our holy places, and we harass it in our daily lives. 

I find it complex to fathom. Forgive me if I am wrong. Who are we in reality? Those who worship femininity as Goddess, as Shakti, those who abandon it, considering impure or those who assault, abuse and oppress her for believing inferior gender?

One more scenario has been developing parallel to these -- of hating feminists and feminism.  

What is our real face? How much honest is our devotion to Devi Maa? Is it just a pretence of reverence? Will the Mother Goddess accept our pujas when in reality our behavior towards women is hateful? 

Being a misogynist, no ritual and puja will be honest. It's not Dharma. We label the practises of our convenience, which fulfil our self-interest, as Dharma and create traditions. Then we fight for such man-created, so-called traditions to oppress the oppressed. We feel a threat from the oppressed because if they, women in this case, get the freedom we fear they will take control of our male supremacy. We want to keep them oppressed because according to us they are born for it and they deserve the ill-treatment, exploitation, and abuse. Naked truth of our mindset.

However, we pretend to be protectors of women. We boast the greatness of our Indian Culture referring to a Sanskrit verse: "Yatra Naryastu  Pujyante Ramante Tatra Devata. The God resides in the home where women are revered." We tell the world, this is our culture to revere women. 

Please ignore the news of rapes, gang-rapes, acid attacks on women, news of raping minor girls, domestic violence, brutal murders hidden under the name of honor-killing. 

And we hate feminism. We don't need it. Women don't it. Feminism is a cancer according to us. 

During the Navaratri Festival our devotion to Devi Maa will be at its peak. We will chant Her sacred names. We will perform rituals every day of Navratri, and will observe fast. We respect and want to do everything to protect our traditions and the glorious culture. 

Please don't read the rape news for the next nine days. We can't stop rapes, but we can just ignore the news.

If you deny the rights of women, if you think women demanding their rights is dangerous to the society and Dharma in particular you are not a devotee of Devi Maa.

If we believe the femininity entering any temple or one specific temple for that matter will wreck havoc on the earth then we should stop pretending to worship Devi Maa. Because at one point we hate femininity and at the other we worship it. The worship is not honest.

The argument to defend the ban on the entry of women in Sabrimala temple is that traditions for individual deities are different and hence should be respected. Also that these traditions are not universal which means that the argument of discrimination of women is false. But this argument does not prove the rule that women of a certain age shouldn't enter the temple.

When we believe women of a certain age entering the temple will be dangerous, we are only highlighting our beliefs about womanhood while the fact is that the Hindu rituals and traditions are not limited to restrictions imposed on women. Hundreds of small and big traditions are supposed to be observed by every temple. Nobody can find how many of them are followed with the extreme precision like it is being discussed in the case of women. Nobody can question the authorities. We don't even know them. Many dharmic people are reminding as cleverly that rules and restrictions are for men as well. But hardly anybody bothers to tell us what are they and how many of them are followed? Nobody can question or check if the rules for men are followed or not. I am not trying to create a 'men vs. women' point. The whole fight in the name of Dharma seems like a desperate battle for power control on religious places which we fear, in future women may gain. 

I would trust the devout Hindus if I could hear any rule like banning the parents who are guilty of female foeticide. I am sure that the intellectuals who could come up with the rule to ban women between the age 10 to 50 can also find the ways to identify such criminals. How about banning the entry of rapists?

If we believe feminism is harmful and equal rights for men and women both will be dangerous for men then we should not worship Devi Maa. Devi Maa fought against the injustice and killed the asuras, saved the male gods. She fought the war against the asuras despite being a female who is be supposed to be weak as per our definition. Maa Durga or Kali wasn't banned from waging the war for being female. All the male gods had worshipped the Goddess to kill the asura and save them.   

If we believe menstruation makes women impure then we should believe our birth from a woman is impure by the same impure monthly cycle being the involved in our birth. The religious leaders scared of womanhood should come up with innovative ways to birth children without impure women. But we create a difference that men are pure in all conditions and women are impure.

Misconceptions About Feminism: 

The term feminist receives hate. So much so that even nowadays people believe men need to be defended from feminists.

There is a selective feminism, according to many others. Some define feminism as attempting to be like men. For many others it's a leftist agenda and hence should be hated. These perceptions are of the people who hate feminism; not those of women who believe in it.

Feminism is NOT a campaign to prove male and female are physically same or should be the same. I emphasize, feminism is not a desperate fight to prove how men and women are same.  

Feminism is NOT about hating men. It's a myth propagated about feminist women. (with the assumption that feminists are only women, whereas feminist men do exist.)

Feminism is NOT a movement to achieve female supremacy in the world.

What Is Feminism?

Marriam-Webster dictionary definition of the term feminism

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2: organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

Feminism is the movement for equal social, political, economic rights for men and women. And the fight for equal opportunities for both sexes. The rights of women shouldn't be denied for their gender considering it inferior. 

The fight of feminism is for equal treatment of women as a human.

The feminism, I understand is

1. right to get educated in a safe environment free from harassment or threats of it -- direct and indirect both.

2. right to work. Allowing daughters to get the education is not a special freedom parents grant. After the completion of education it's the right of the daughter to work. Letting the daughter or wife work is not a special freedom to be granted with a debate whether they should be allowed to work or not. I still witness such mindset that every girl, daughter, wife should have a controlling man and she should not be allowed to take her decisions independently.

3. the second aspect is safe working environment free from gender discrimination, hateful or abusive behavior.

Demanding above basic human rights isn't a threat to men. Demanding a safe environment shouldn't be a threat to men. Why is it perceived and propagated so?

Demanding equal pay shouldn't be a threat to men. Why is it perceived and propagated so?

I don't deny that men also have to face to sexism and harassment. The rights of men do matter. But women are being oppressed and denied their rights as a human for ages just because they are women. The representation of women in the positions of power is still significantly low with high number of workplace harassment and sexual assault cases. The people who advocate for the rights of men especially and believe that feminism is a cancer need to understand this fact.

Support the movement of equal social, political and economic rights for men and women. Support feminism. Those men supporting equal rights should proudly tell the world that they are feminist. If you're a feminist man, don't limit yourself to claiming as a feminist you should actively take actions to bring equality and fight for the rights of women in your power and capacity. It will act as a significant step towards ending the common misconception about feminism as women hating men.

This Navratri when you worship the Mother Goddess by traditional rituals decide to end the hatred for feminism and feminists. Decide to acknowledge and respect women and women rights. Women also need to acknowledge their rights and decide not to hate feminism. Support equal rights. When you'll be determined to support equal rights and choose your actions in accordance, Mother Goddess will accept your Puja.

Read In Marathi: मंथन: निस्सीम देविभक्ताने फेमिनिस्ट का असायला हवे?
Read In Hindi: मंथन: देवी मां के भक्तों ने फेमिनिस्ट क्यों होना चाहिए।

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