An Open Letter to Smriti Irani

By Antara Banerjee in Editor's Pick 24/10/2018

Dear Honorable Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani,


My letter to you is with reference to your talk on Sabarimala Verdict that has gone viral.


Celibacy and piety are completely different things. I always thought that they are more about self-control rather than a feeling of dread and fear of getting swayed away by temptations. I also feel that restricting others is not an option in a democracy. Your vow of celibacy is yours to safeguard, and must not give you the right to restrict others.


I am surprised at you taking hyperbole and exaggeration to ridiculous heights by equating a situation of carrying a soiled sanitary pad to a friend’s place to ‘women of menstruating age, entering the Sabarimala temple’. May I ask why, Madam Minister? Even if you speak by your personal opinions, you still are a minister.


Also, by that logic, all other temples are already desecrated and threatened by women,  allegedly, stalking celibate Gods with soiled sanitary pads.




And mind you, not all women of menstruating age are bleeding all the time. According to the detractors, even the presence of women of menstruating age in the temple may corrupt and/or distract the devotees and the God, himself! How libidinous could they be?!


Is it a pious act to be blaming menstruation for arousing of men?


If they are so easy to corrupt, they might as well step down as God and pious men. They are not worthy of any good if they have to deny others and restrict others rather than themselves, to control their carnal desires.  If they are so shaken by the mere presence of temptations, as they believe fertile women to be, then they are an imbecile and pervert which is deplorable, condemnable and unacceptable!


However, Honorable Minister, who has prevented you from questioning the restriction to the Fire Temple?


Antara Banerjee

Author of ‘The Goddess in Flesh’ and ‘To be a Woman’, Antara Banerjee is an ardent commentator on social issues. Masters from the prestigious Goldsmiths College of London and graduated from Presidency College, Kolkata, she is now the Creative Head at Fourth Dimension, Mumbai. She is also the Head, Women Empowerment Committee, Rakshak Foundation, Kolkata and the recipient of Udaan, Empowering Women Awards, 2016 for her outstanding contribution in women centric literature.


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