When Babri Masjid was demolished on Dec. 6, 1992 in less than 20 minutes, entire nation, including its Prime Minister were taken by surprise, but the demolition failed to return in the form of votes for the Sangh Parivar outfits. Soon, it has disappeared from the daily headlines, relegated to inside pages in many newspapers.
Visuals of two women (Bindu and Kanaga Durga) at Sabarimala shrine earlier this morning pic.twitter.com/347z3KWAwU
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) January 2, 2019
In the last three months, after the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women into Sabarimala temple, the protests have been hitting headlines while no TV channel could take its gaze away from the issue. BJP saw a greater role to turn it into a launching pad for its foray into the state politcs. Citing tradition, it opposed the entry, per se.
#WATCH #PMtoANI on different stand of BJP on triple talaq&Sabarimala: These are two separate things.Most Islamic countries have banned triple talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. It is an issue of gender equality,matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith pic.twitter.com/EA655dDqTO
— ANI (@ANI) January 1, 2019
Within a few hours after PM Narendra Modi's interview to ANI was beamed across the nation, showing him upholding the tradition in Sabarimala over gender equality, two women were able to put the controversy to rest. Aged 42, these two women, clad in black clothes, entered the Sannidhanam of the temple not at the stroke of midnight but three hours later on Jan 1, 2019. To be precise, at 3:45 am, January 2, 2019.
"It is the responsibility of police to give protection to those who come and we did it. Verifying the age and other details is not our responsibility," said Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera, while the State Chief Minister confirmed the women's entry.
When the news hit the media next morning, few could grasp the impact. Upset BJP protestors hit the streets of Kerala as the only agenda for them to entrench themselves in the southernmost state was lost forever. The question before them is whether the momentum holds on now or not. The second challenge is whether to continue stopping women from entering the temple or not. Only time will tell how well it holds up.
From Babri Masjid to Sabarimala, the lesson is there on the wall: Using religion for political gains never lasts longer. Let politics be decided by ideology and performance. There's no short cut.