Many Ayyappa devotees will not be amused by the vow taken by Reshma Nishanth, 32, of Irinavu here to pray to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala this time. If lakhs of women devotees visit Sabarimala, as Reshma hopes, only the Lord will know the outcome.
Reshma, a teacher in an unaided college here, has long cherished the desire to worship Lord Ayyappa and has been taking ‘vruta’ since 2006 though she knew that the shrine was out of bounds for females in the 10-50 age group. But after the Supreme Court’sverdict, she wore black dress and a garland of Tulsi and Rudraksha for the first time, ready to enter the temple.
“I am determined to go to Sabarimala as the apex court has permitted it. I have taken vruta abiding by all its principles and values. The 41-day vruta will be completed by the beginning of the Malayalam month of Vrishika and I will go to Sabarimala after that,” she told DC. She has the full support of her family.
Reshma herself had revealed this through her Facebook page and it had become viral drawing bouquets and brickbats. A group of people claiming to be Ayyappa devotees led a torch-light protestmarch to her house on Sunday night. She has also been showered with abuses on the social media.
But Reshma is unfazed and said, “I don’t view it as a revolution.My small step will encourage lakhs of women devotees in future. There is no gender divide in beliefs. I seek the support of the public in my journey for gender equality,” she said.
Reshma takes menstruation as a normal body function like any other. Reacting to her links with the CPM, she admits that she lives in a party-village and that her in-laws have party connections. “My belief has nothing to do with the party,” she says.