Woman seer gives up plan to embrace death over Shahi Snan

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Ujjain, April 27 (IANS) A woman seer who entered a ditch to take Samadhi (embracing death) in Ujjain, demanding the women should also have the right to take the Shahi Snan, on Wednesday agreed to give up her plan to take the extreme step after authorities’ persuasion.

She had on Tuesday threatened to die through the seers’ traditional method of taking Samadhi.

Trikal Bhavanta, the woman head of the Pari Akhara, has raised her demand weeks after women were granted permission to enter Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur temple by a court despite a centuries old ban.

Participating in the ongoing Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, Bhavanta is observing a fast to question the authority of male Akhara chiefs.

Bhavanta, who claims to have been inspired by Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade who led the agitation for the entry of women into temple sanctum sanctorums, wants women to be granted permission to take the royal bath like members of the all-male Akharas.

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“Women have been worshipped as Goddesses since time immemorial but some people have established rules as per their convenience to ensure their dominance. In the same spirit, 13 Akharas have been set up for which even the government arranges all facilities for the Shahi Snan during Kumbh,” she said.

She said she also has plans to felicitate Trupti Desai for her fight as she has impressed her a lot.

Calling the people linked to Akharas as orthodox and alleging they were keeping women away from the Shahi Snan, Bhavanta said she would continue to fight for women’s rights. “Ujjain has been ensuring changes in the past. This time also the change will happen from here only.”

“Men are the only proprietors of protecting Dharma. Their ashrams have become centres of enjoyment. The government is paying them crores of rupees. The Akharas are having five-star facilities,” Bhavanta alleged.

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Responding to Bhavanta’s demand to be allowed the right to take the Shahi Snan, Narendra Giri Maharaj, chief of Akhara Parishad, said: “Arrangements for taking the Shahi Snan is for 13 Akharas only. No other Akhara can be linked to it. The system was established by Shankaracharya in ancient times. As far as taking the Shahi Snan is concerned, this is useless wailing. The government or administration allotted land to this (Pari) Akhara on their own. Hence, as whoever has sown so shall he reap.”

Bhavanta is insisting on meeting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as she says he talks of women empowerment but not about giving rights to them. “If he cannot ensure women their due rights, the chief minister should admit it.”

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