Young women are traditionally not allowed in the Sabarimala temple. Some say they are not allowed since they are considered "unclean" during menstruation but other scholars says that they are not allowed because Ayyappa- to whom the temple is dedicated is considered a celibate yogi.
In a show of support for the custom, the chief of Sabarimala Devasom Board Prayar Gopalakrishnan had said women will be allowed into the temple the day a machine is invented to detect if they were menstruating.
"The day there will be a machine to detect if it's the 'right time' for women to enter temples, that day they will be allowed in Sabarimala," Mr Gopalakrishnan was reported as saying.
Following the comment, which was reported in social media, a 20-year-old woman, Nikita Anand, wrote an open letter in the website Youth ki Awaz. What followed was a campaign and a barrage of posts on Twitter and Facebook supporting it.
Woman and men wrote under the hashtag #HappytoBleed..
Shocking & very disappointing statement by Chief of Sabrimala temple. Must change attitude towards Women. #HappyToBleed- Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) November 23, 2015
The campaign started on November 21 calls on women to hold placards or sanitary napkins in their profiles or the campaign page.
The stigma on menstruation has 2 b done away w/ instead of being unscientifically & illogically reinforced! It's natural. #HappyToBleed- Deepa Singh (@asingh10_deepa) November 23, 2015
In her open letter, Ms Anand wrote that while she was taught that men and women were created as equal, she was "shattered" to know that for one of the biggest historic temples in India, bleeding is a sin.
In their tweets and Facebooks posts, other women shared her outrage.
Rahul Eashwar, an author and the grandson of Sabrimala's Supreme priest, defended the board chairperson saying, "One has to go by the soul of what he said and not the translation, which can lose its spirit. He only meant to uphold an age-old tradition of not allowing women between 10 and 50 years of age to enter the temple."
Geeta Nazeer, social activist and senior jounalist from Kerala said, "These statements are ridiculous and unfortunate that they are coming from a man in official authority. Time and again women are subjected to such ridicule and harrasment. These are signs of nothing else but patriarchy."
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