Shani Shingnapur mandir: 400 years on, no temple for women

Several women activists, a large number of them housewives and students led by the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade were detained at Supa, 70 km from the Shani Shingnapur temple.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Updated: January 27, 2016 3:45 pm
Shani temple, Shani temple row, Shani temple controversy, Shani Shingnapur mandir, Shani Shingnapur temple, Shani Shingnapur, Shani Shingnapur temple maharashtra, Republic Day, Maharashtra, Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, Shani Shingnapur temple Ahmednagar, Shani Shingnapur temple news, india news Last month, after a woman – apparently in ignorance-stepped onto to the unlocked platform, a purification process was performed by villagers.

In a state as progressive as Maharashtra, regressive mindsets won hands down on Republic Day – a day when the government had enough opportunity to uphold the mandate of the majority.

What should have been a simple act of worship, turned into an avoidable drama watched by the nation live on television as the Ahmednagar police, bowing to political pressure, suppressed an agitation by women to enter the sanctum of a temple-women are not allowed to enter the core shrine area.

READ | Maharashtra: Shani temple march foiled, detained women say ‘black day for democracy’

Several women activists, a large number of them housewives and students led by the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade were detained at Supa, 70 km from the Shani Shingnapur temple located in the Ahmednagar district on Tuesday. They were not allowed to proceed to the temple as the police blocked their way at the behest of the Devendra Fadnavis government which did not want not to ruffle the sentiments of those against women entering the temple.

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Women, as per the 400-year old tradition, were not allowed to enter the Shani temple till 2011. However, after rationalists carried out mass awareness campaigns, women were allowed to enter the temple but were prohibited from the core shrine area.

Today, women are not permitted to climb up to the platform where the rock idol of Shani is installed. This is what angered the women activists who decided to take matters into their hands after the temple trustees refused to heed their repeated pleas.

Last month, after a woman – apparently in ignorance-stepped onto to the unlocked platform, a purification process was performed by villagers. This escalated the anger and frustration among the women activists. There is a widespread belief, especially among the younger generation, that Maharashtra should do away with such antiquated practices. It is now up to CM Fadnavis to show the way.

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  1. H
    Haradhan Mandal
    Jan 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm
    Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagr and Raja aramMohan Roy are not so much as icons as Swami Vivekananda is.
    Reply
    1. अभिमन्यू यशवंत
      Jan 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm
      Bharatk it is not a tradition, it is faith that "Shani" is unmarried (bramhachari) therefore only men can go. Plus it is a religious procedure to go there with single wet cloth after bath ? Why our women should go there in such conditions in public ? We have Shani Temple in Ambernath, Thane, Maharashtra where women can go and touch the Shani IDOL in temple. If Shani is only one all over then any such temple can be visited by women. isn't it ?
      Reply
      1. अभिमन्यू यशवंत
        Jan 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm
        काश्मिरात हजरत बाल आहे ही मुसलमानांची श्रध्दा आहे.... आकाशातला देव येशूचा पिता आहे आणि मेरी कुमारी असली तरी येशूची माता होती ही ख्रिश्चनांची श्रध्दा आहे. खूप बौध्द लोक्स आंबेडकरांना देव मानतात आणि भारतीय राज्य घटना त्यांनी एकट्यानेच लिहिली आहे अशी त्यांची श्रध्दा आहे.... . मग शनी बाल ब्रम्हचारी आहे ही देखील हिंदूची श्रध्दा आहे. शिंगणापूर शनी मंदिरातल्या कडक नियमा प्रमाणे आंघोळी नंतर कोणतीही एकवस्त्रा ओलेती स्त्री चार चौघात उघडपणे तिथे जाणार आहे का ? . तसंही ते मंदीर आख्यायिकेवर म्हणजे तथाकथित बुध्दीवाद्यांच्या मते अंधश्रध्देवर आधारित आहे मग श्रध्दा आणि धर्म मान्य नसलेल्यांनी तिथे जावंच कशाला ? सगळेच धार्मिक विधी पाळायचे नसतील तर धर्मच सोडा ना.... मुद्दाम केलेला सगळा हलकट पणा आहे आणि आपल्याला मूळ कारण माहित नसल्याने आपणही गप्प बसतो.
        Reply
        1. A
          a
          Apr 3, 2016 at 8:59 am
          Why cant they protest against unequal practices in other religions too? Shani temple is a private trust temple and they can have their own restrictions of entry.
          Reply
          1. A
            Aditya Achar
            Jan 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm
            Take note, Men visiting Shani temple are NOT allowed beyond the barricades so where is the question of women should be allowed near the Shani Bhagwaan statue? Come on, this is total gender inequality against men :-D ..I recommend please visit the temple and see for yourself before making a big political and national issue. I have been there and we pra just outside the barricade that covers the Shani Bhagwaan statue. Both MEN and WOMEN are NOT allowed to enter beyond the barricade.
            Reply
            1. I
              Indian
              Jan 28, 2016 at 6:54 am
              What is purpose of entering into temple to ladies? to pray god Sani? there are lot of other Sani temples in India. They can do it there. There are hundreds of temples being abandoned, these honks can go and do prayers there. When a religion establishes a custom, respect it. Don't try to make Hinduism as joke by trying to enter in Ayyappa temple or Sani Shingnapur temple etc. What kind of gender equality you want to achieve by entering there? Understand one thing. Men are not going there to enjoy.. only to pray god Sani. hehe... All dramas to attract media attention...media also giving undue importance to this type of pseudo secular, pseudo feminist agitations. Media has to refrain themselves from giving publicity to them. Then I will see who will try to enter in that temple when no media coverage is there.
              Reply
              1. A
                Aditya Gaiha
                Jan 27, 2016 at 6:37 pm
                This is a social change and requires a social movement not forced entry. Sit across the table with authorities and people who oppose and convince or be convinced (have a shastrartha - debate). The State has no role other than maintain law and order. Don't mix social change with state's intervention. Once society and the temple authorities accepts the change and afterwards if there is any law which stops the entry then we can ask legislative change, if need be...
                Reply
                1. A
                  asde
                  Jan 27, 2016 at 2:35 pm
                  Women are not allowed in mosques to read holy Koran but pressutes are absolutely ok with it
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Rajesh
                    Jan 27, 2016 at 11:43 am
                    First, of all, I dont see any reason why women shouldnt be allowed into the temple. Saying that it didnt happen in 400 years is not a good reason. Besides, the rule was already changed in 2011, so it just needs a bit more modification......But I do like how our "rationalists", are so desperate to let women into main shrine area of this temple (they can already enter the other areas), but they dont show the same desperation to ensure that Muslim women have inheritance rights, equal divorce and marriage rights or anything else. I would have thought that would be a bigger woman's rights issue.
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      ckm
                      Jan 27, 2016 at 2:35 pm
                      Shani is now in high demand in Indian women. God bless Indian women.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        MG
                        Jan 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm
                        For your information men and women all are allowed to enter in the temple as per consution but this dispute is not allowing and disallowing , but for breaking Indian tradition and values of Hindu temple.
                        Reply
                        1. d
                          dv1936
                          Jan 27, 2016 at 12:35 pm
                          Women should as a response should open a new temple nearby which is only for women. The temple run by women.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Sreenivasan
                            Jan 27, 2016 at 10:22 am
                            Why the women should insist on getting into the forbidden temple? They must join hands to construct a Huge Temple for Sarawati or Laxmi or simply put another big stone and name it what they want to call it and start worshipping it and declare it is only for females. What the poor men can do, if they start such a temple ? We Hindus can do anything in the name of religion. Remember, our PM was a humble follower of Asaram Bappu?
                            Reply
                            1. B
                              BharatK
                              Jan 27, 2016 at 5:48 pm
                              A tradition must be maintained. Womens can create another Shani Mandir. Maintain peace.
                              Reply
                              1. K
                                KAILASH
                                Jan 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm
                                THis all uproar is a creation of Congress party who has nothing to do these days, they encourage feminism, spoil the peaceful atmosphere of the country, raise petty issues, all these Women NGO's are aided, and encouraged by Congress and the LEFT(communist parties), they don't believe in the existence of GOD, congress has given affidavit in the court that Shri RAM doesn't not exist, what more, Sonia hi has spoilt the atmosphere of India, by advocating FEMINISM, and it is ironical that MEDIA is also doing the same. We have age/ years old tradition that we follow what is the problem of these bunch of Women who have nothing to do with GOD or Shani Dev, they just want to satisfy their personal EGO by entering and spoiling the atmosphere of the sacred place, these women should be jailed for atleast an Year so that they don't repeat such an incident. This is a clear example of MAHILA GUNDAGARDI/ DADA GIRI.
                                Reply
                                1. K
                                  kaushik das
                                  Jan 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm
                                  And yes, please dont speak any political party name in this preceeding. If u do your motive would appear more like a political stunt and not something to help women or society.
                                  Reply
                                  1. K
                                    kaushik das
                                    Jan 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm
                                    First of all we still dont know what is the religious believe that why women are not allowed to offer prayers. Second of all this group of women watever name they are using : in the w world they should also do something productive and for the women welfare in the backward places. There are a lot of othere places where they can give some reasonable effort. They are running and challenging a old tradition , remember to challenge an old tradition you need to be knowledgeable enough to present the reasons to keep your side victorious. Yes , worng practices must be eradicated , even Raja Ram Mohan Roy went against the society and abolished bad social practices. So, be knowlegeable first , atleast read one or two social and moral books and also few religious book of the society you are about to challege and then make further talks.
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      kaushik das
                                      Jan 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm
                                      One more question to these women , who went on this religious protest as if they were hindu saviour: do they ; any one of them , any one who can reside a single sloka from the religious scriptures.. Possibily if we make proper talk with them we wouls find even they donot follow even the good of our Indian culture.
                                      Reply
                                      1. K
                                        kaushik das
                                        Jan 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm
                                        Why do i see your name xy
                                        Reply
                                        1. L
                                          lara
                                          Jan 27, 2016 at 1:42 pm
                                          According to Hinduism, Lord Shani is celibate god, so women are not allowed, if local women not making any roar why these stupid Desai want to destroy peace and faith of people, there are so many work to do for women welfare this is nothing to do with their welfare and I can see how blindly other stupid women follow her. Save those girls who are killed in mothers womb or in name of dowry or by goons. This is just political stunt. And we say if your faith is true you don't need to go at temple you can pray from your home, god doesn't say come to my temple than only I will give you blessings.
                                          Reply
                                          1. M
                                            madhusudan
                                            Jan 27, 2016 at 10:47 am
                                            I want to travel in Womens only Bus. Can it be possible? Will Supreme court will allow me? All of please think in that way. You are not near god when you reach the stone(shani temple It is a stone). Why anyone needs to go. It is like as I asked how can a man travel in a ladies compartment of a train. Just an arrangement and it is conveneience Thats all and it is not a place for everyone to go and pray. We can do so many other things to bring closer to us. Let us all bring Godliness to us and stop such nuisance as it will not help anyone. Only it is making a law and order problem.
                                            Reply
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