A new movement for women rights is being developed in India on the occasion of Kumbhamela in Nashik. One sadhwi has demanded a separate position for women ascetics called sadhwi. Her demand is not very big however, concerned authorities have refused her any co-operation in that demand.
She has said that certain needs of these women sadhwis are much different from those of male sadhus. She wanted separate places for them so that they can manage their needs without inconvenience. Today they are not having that separate facility to respect women's privacy, and so it creates much inconvenience to these women. To achieve that she demands that these women sadhwis will have a separate camp called Akhada. Men have all the Akhadas of their types and women are forced to be included in one of them.
Now this sadhwi says she wants to create her own separate Akhada to accommodate these inconvenienced women sadhwis. Existing authorities in this matter who are primarily connected with sankaracharya institute refuse to recognize her demand even though her demands are natural and very much essential as women are different from men in many ways. They have monthly period of which men know nothing. These and other requirements of women must be understood but we see that present authority is oblivious of that need. As we know this is a man's world sankaracharya institute is no exception to this rule.
To add to that our media is also controlled by men and women are only subordinate to them. As a result I observe that this sadhwi is being misinterpreted by all the concerned man's institutes. Here I want to take a separate stand in this regard even though I am also a man. It is not necessary that all men must be unjust to the demands of women. Many media people try to show her past but the way they show is not acceptable to me. They depict, this woman was a married wife of somebody and on realizing that she should separate from him she separated and began her ascetic life. What is wrong in that? Almost all ascetic begin their career as sadhus only after having lived a life of married men; then what is wrong if a woman does that? The type of criticism thrown on her shows mean mindedness of this media people.
The point of issue is whether her demands are genuine or not. If they are genuine we should support it. However, as she realized that her demands are not being heard she wanted to declare a separate sankarachary seat of her own to get what she wanted to achieve for the benefit of her fellow women sadhwis. I appreciate her stand. It is no doubt a very bold move to declare her own seat of sankarachara to get her demands accepted. We believe that present Akhada tradition began at the instance of adi sankar in nineteenth century and it is continuing till present time. These Akhada accommodate certain types of sadhus who accept and follow the traditions of those Akhadas. Generally women sadhus, sadhwis, are not welcome in these manly institutes. However, there are many women sadhwis of merits and they need be accommodated with necessary changes or present sankaracharya should allow her what she wants and co-operate with her by allowing a new women's Akdada; so that women sadhwis are properly placed in the order of sadhus. By not co-operating with her, present sankaracharya has shown to be not fit to be a sankaracharya.
Unfortunately other women sadhwis are not understanding the importance of her demand, but that is not new; we often see women trying to shy away from any bold move by other bold women and continue to tow lines of men to keep away from affront from men.
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