As a Hindu, I urge protesters in Jerusalem to let Jewish women pray freely at the venerated Western Wall using religious rituals like men. Women deserve equal and full participation and access in religions.
As Hindus, we understand the age-old traditions very well as we are the oldest existing religion, but “men only” practices and customs need to go. Women are not aliens—they are our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, etc.
I urge the protesters to reconsider and re-evaluate their stand and give praying women a chance by allowing them to wear the traditional religious gear and pray aloud from scrolls. As women are equal partners in society, so they should be equal partners in religions also.
We, men, should show more maturity, and should not attempt to keep women far away from the public sphere under the excuse of tradition. Strictures should not be imposed on prayers. Exclusion of women from religious services, just because they are female, is very unfair and ungodly.
In Hindu scriptures when women are honored, the gods are pleased. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God and religions should respect that, treating women as not equal to men is clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality.
May 12, 2013