ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Social Change sans Dialogue

Case of Shani Shingnapur

The lack of dialogue between temple trustees, villagers, activists and other stakeholders over protests around the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the Shani temple in Shingnapur, Maharashtra has prevented any meaningful engagement with the myths, beliefs, and notions of purity. For progressive social change, dialogue, which was missing in this case, is the only way forward.

Shani Shingnapur, a small village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, was the epicentre of a heated protest that lasted for five months from December 2015 to April 2016. Women’s organisations headquartered in Pune demanded entry into the inner sanctum of the Shani shrine, while local villagers strongly opposed this demand. Based on my fieldwork and interviews with various stakeholders, including the trustees of the temple, villagers, protesting activists, local politicians, advocates and writers, I realised the gaping lack of dialogue between them. Opinions on the matter seem to be formed largely by interests other than those being stated.

Politics of Worship

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