Today, I was surprised to note that the Indian state’s trespassing into society is not only unnecessary but also very, very, ill-advised. The Supreme Court apparently asserted today that:
- There should be “no discrimination” (against women) at Sabarimala because there’s no discrimination in the Vedas and Upanishads, and that this “discrimination” has “cropped up historically”, and that
- Since Krishna “is everywhere in everyone, men and women”, “there should be [no] gender discrimination in the premises of the temple”.
I’ve already argued that the Indian state should stay away from this matter, and also addressed the question as to whether this is discrimination and how it should be fixed if true. So I won’t go into that. Let me instead make a few quick points to show that the above assertions of the Court are ill-advised:
- It’s not statesmanlike to bring up the Vedas, Upanishads, the idea of Krishna, in this matter because even if they did permit the alleged discrimination, India cannot behave as if it’s not a sovereign state. It can’t take lessons on law from those who can interpret the Vedas, etc. It brief is to stick to the constitution and interpret it all by itself.
- It’s irrelevant to bring the Vedas, etc., in the matter of Sabarimala in particular because it is very likely the modern form of a Buddhist shrine. The Buddhists couldn’t care less about them even if the Indian state were to surrender its sovereignty to them. (From #1 above, I don’t have to add that it’s not stately to invoke the Buddha either.)
- It’s erroneous to single out social practices and say only they are “historical”. Even the Vedas, etc., are historical. S N Balagangadhara has made it crystal clear that the Vedas, etc., cannot be taken as the holy books of a “religion” called Hinduism. In fact, he shows how India has no religion (note the singular) but only traditions (note the plural). Given this, it’s a mistake to think that the Vedas, etc., apply to every single Sabarimala temple in every nook and corner of India.