Knowledge & Infos
Sabarimala Issue : Gender Discrimination vs Religious Sentiments
Sabarimala Temple is located in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, India. It is an ancient temple of god Ayyappan. Ayyappan is an eternal celibate (Bhramachari) Hindu god. In 12th century, Manikandan prince of Pandalam Dynasty meditated at Shabarimala Temple. It is believed that, Ayyappan visited him and he became an “Avatar” of God Ayyappan.
The Travancore Derasworm Board (TDB) manages the Temple. It is also considered as the Second Largest Annual Pilgrimage after Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Sabarimala Temple which only opens seasonally is in middle of at Pariyer Tiger Reserve on top of the hill. One has to pass through Tiger forest and a traverse a difficult path to reach Sabarimala temple.
There are special rules for pilgrims to visit the Ayyappan temple. Devotees have to follow 41 days Austerity Period (Vritham). In those 41 days, Pilgrims have to bathe twice a day with cold water, should use special clothes, wear special Mala of Rudrakshya and Tulsi, have special vegetarian diet, should be barefoot, be celibate, control the anger, fully devote themselves to God and cannot cut their nails and hair, among others.
Women aged between 10 to 50 are not allowed to enter Sabarimala Temple. So this temple was in highlight since last few decades.
Issue in Court
In September of 2018, the issue of disallowing the women of age group 10-50 inside temple went to the court in the name of discrimination against women. The Temple’s management told Supreme Court that women of menstruating age can’t be allowed on account of ” Purity .” The Supreme Court reached the verdict allowing women of all ages in the Ayyappan Temple, Kerala.
The Five Judge Constitution Bench verdict came 4:1 in favor of lifting the ban saying that banning the entry of women in Sabarimala Temple is an act of gender discrimination and the practice violates the rights of Hindu women. Interestingly, the only woman judge on the panel opposed this by saying, “the issues of deep Religious sentiments should not be ordinarily interfered by the court.”
Case in Context
Although Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, temple board and locals didn’t allow women to enter the temple. Many women attempted to enter but they were stopped. Some women had attempted to enter the temple on December 24 amidst mass protests, accompanied by a 50-member police battalion. While less than a kilometer away from the hilltop, the women were forced to climb down to the base camp at Pamba. Millions of Women formed “Human Chain” or “Women’s Wall” of 620 km in Kerala in protest. The “Women’s Wall” was organised by the state’s left-wing coalition government.
On January 2, 2019, two Kerala women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, made history by setting foot in the Sabarimala temple. As soon as Temple Management knew that women under 50 were there, Temple was closed and the “purification” process inside the temple started. On the very next day, a Sri Lankan woman also tried to enter but she was obstructed in the stairs.
Kerala meanwhile continues to be on the boil as local groups went out on streets to protest the entry of women at Sabarimala. They are supported by BJP and RSS. Also they are blaming the Communist Chief minister for breaking of old tradition of Temple. Businesses and transport services have been hit the worst in Kerala. Meanwhile, Supreme Court has agreed to hear in open court review petitions in Jan 22, challenging its verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple.
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday (Jan 8) observed that Sabarimala is meant for devotees and stated that the state government should be able to identify those with a ‘hidden agenda’ who intend to ruin the peace at the shrine.
Now, final decision will be given by Supreme Court, whether it will restore the Ban on Women of age 10 to 50 or stands on its previous decision to lift the ban inside Sabarimala Temple.
What do you think about this Issue? Is it Gender Discrimination or not? Should the ban on women of age group 10-50 should be restored?? Should court interfere on religious beliefs or not? Your thoughts and views regarding this issue are welcome in the comments section.
Knowledge & Infos
What’s Special Today: November 10
Historically native to the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the southern part of Nepal, Chhath is one of those festivals that transcends the caste system that exists in the society. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartik. The Chhath Puja is a 4-day long ritual specially offered to the solar deity, Surya, to show thankfulness for good health, good life and to request the granting of some certain wishes.
Day 1: On the first day, the devotees after bathing clean their house and eat the food that is offered to the god to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency.
Day 2: On the second day, the devotees are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water but, in the evening, they eat kheer made up of jaggery, fruits.
Day 3: The evening of the third day which is also known as sandhya ‘arghya’ day where a bamboo basket is decorated with various puja materials, fruits, thekuwa, and laddus which are offered as an ‘argya’ to the Sun. Also, the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped.
Day 4: On the last day of Chhath puja again an arghya is offered to the Sun God but this time in the morning. The devotees go to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun and break their fast and conclude their four-day long worship.
Happy Chhath to everyone! Don’t forget to enjoy some thekuwas!!
World Keratoconus Day:
Every year on November 10, World Keratoconus Day is celebrated to focus global attention on keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders. The day was first celebrated by National Keratoconus Foundation.
Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become weak, leading to the thinning and stretching of the cornea, which may result in the loss of vision. Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape which affects the vision. The keratoconus mainly develops in teenagers and young adults and the disease keeps on growing, if not diagnosed in time.
The disease has no prevention and no treatment. With early diagnosis, the disease can be managed and further damage can be protected. In Nepal, the prevalence of Keratoconus is 1 in 2000 according to the recent journal. So, this world keratoconus day, make a commitment to visit an eye doctor once a year for the early diagnosis of keratoconus as well as other eye diseases.
Knowledge & Infos
Best and Worst Bank in Nepal as per our survey
We had conducted an online survey to find out how banking services in Nepal are being used and perceived by their users. This article is entirely based on those responses. Thank you Muktinath Bikash Bank for supporting us in conducting this survey.
Over the years, Banks have become an integral part of our daily life and economy. With the shift to digitalization and modernization of the economy, banks have definitely made life easier for people to manage their cash and transactions. With these shifts and increasing dependency on banks more than ever, the use of banking services and users’ banking experience is one of the topics with the minimal amount of research done. Out of curiosity, we conducted an online survey to find out how people have been feeling about the banking services provided by the respective banks.
Respondents were mostly urban educated youth with access to the internet, in the age bracket of 18-40, mostly being from 22-26 age group. The data was collected through social media users, primarily from page followers of KMAG. In total, we got 219 responses out of which 160 were males and 59 were females.
In the list of questionnaires, one of the questions was “which is your favorite bank from Nepal as per your own experience,” and another being “which bank do you think is the worst.” Among 219, 27 respondents were undecided and 192 casted their votes for “best” and the “worst.” To build the conclusion on more strong foundation, we wanted to make sure respondents voice their opinion per their experience for which we had also asked them to reveal their primary bank.
Out of the total participants, a majority of 89.6% have multiple bank accounts though 19.5% of them just use one of those accounts. The remaining 10.4% claimed to have an only bank account. Out of all those banks, Nabil Bank is the primary bank for 36 participants (which was the highest no. of primary account holders in a particular bank). After Nabil, most of them were primary users of NIC Asia, Global IME, and Siddhartha Bank.
Nabil is voted as “Favorite Bank”
Nabil Bank seems to be the most favorite and popular among the respondents. With a total of 45 votes, it was voted the “most liked” bank. Among them, 29 were the primary account holders of the bank. Under “least liked,” it only got 4 votes.
To briefly talk about Nabil Bank, Nabil Bank is an ‘A’ class commercial bank which was founded in 1984 A.D. (2041 B.S.). It was established as Nepal’s first private sector bank incepted by multinational investors with the objective of providing modern, international-standard financial services. It was first established as Nepal Arab Bank Limited. In 1995, Dubai-government owned the majority of shares was bought by Binod Chaudhary.
NIC Asia is “least favourite”
With 76 votes for “worst bank,” NIC Asia seems like the “least liked” bank from Nepal as per the responses. Interestingly though, it has also been voted as “favorite bank” by 17 respondents.
After NIC Asia, Nepal Investment Bank seems like the second “least favorite” bank from Nepal with 23 votes against the bank.
On being asked the reason for disliking the bank, most of the participants seem to agree on the same point and that is “terrible” customer service of the bank. Similarly, other reasons were bad internet/mobile banking facilities, fraud-like business practices, and lack of important banking services/products being provided by the. Not to forget few were unhappy about the lack of branch/ATM services.
The detailed data are presented in the table below:
|Global IME Bank||25||17||10|
|NIC Asia Bank||29||17||76|
|Standard Chartered Bank||9||8||2|
|Bank of Kathmandu||5||6||1|
|Muktinath Bikash Bank||4||4||2|
|Century Commercial Bank||3||3||0|
|Kamana Sewa Bikas Bank||1||3||1|
|Prabhu Bank Limited||8||3||8|
|Rastriya Banijya Bank||3||3||9|
|Agriculture Development Bank||2||2||2|
|Nepal Bangladesh Bank||2||2||2|
|Nepal Investment Bank||15||2||23|
|Garima Bikash Bank||2||1||0|
|Nepal SBI Bank||2||1||11|
|Prime Commercial Bank||7||1||2|
|Manakamana Development Bank||0||0||1|
|Shangri-la Development Bank||1||0||0|
Knowledge & Infos
How to design a survey questionnaire
This article was originally designed for KMAG Online Writing Workshop and made available to public for knowledge-sharing purpose.
A survey is a list of questions aimed at extracting specific data from a particular group of people so that the surveyor can gain knowledge and insights into various topics of interest and then mostly generalize the result. How to design a survey questionnaire completely depends upon the purpose behind the survey. Depending on the purpose, questions are framed.
Let’s understand this way, surveyor seeks to know anything based on either of the following grounds:
- They don’t know anything, they are curious to find out, and they seek for answers. Example: I don’t know many people smoke and I want to find out by asking everyone out there.
- They think they know but they are not sure and they want to find out if what they think they know is actually true or false. Example: I think 50% of Nepalese do smoke but I am not sure yet and I want to validate my assumption by surveying.
- They strongly believe that what they know is the facts and now they want to interpret the world based on the “facts” they live by. Example: I strongly believe that smoking is bad and raising tax and making it expensive is the way to discourage people to smoke. I want to survey to find out how many Nepalese believe the same and agree with raising taxes and making it expensive would discouarge people to smoke.
Whatever grounds you are holding, you must frame your questionnaire according to that. So before working on the questionnaire ask yourself if you are trying to know the unknown or are you trying to validate or crosscheck what you think you know or you are trying to pass judgment or views based on your preset theory/hypothesis that your understanding is based upon.
This is how it goes:
You already have a theory and you want to analyze people based on the theory.
Let’s take for example “Job satisfaction Survey.” In this case, as per your theory/hypothesis, to be called “satisfied” one must be displaying so and so traits and views; if not, the person is not satisfied in his/her job. Based on that, you will be designing a questionnaire and see how many people meet the criteria to pass your judgment. If your theory says, highly satisfied people have flexible working hours, one of your questions will be something like “Can you come to your office at whatever time you want and can leave per your own wish as long as you are doing what you are paid for? Yes/No/Depends.” Likewise, there will be other questions set in a fashion to funnel your judgment regarding what percentage of people are satisfied with their job and work.
You have a theory or hypothesis that you want to validate or crosscheck
In this case, you have an assumption but you are not sure of and you want to crosscheck or validate by testing it on people. For example let’s say you think “Most arranged marriage people are unhappy,” and you want to validate your claim or crosscheck the truth in it by surveying among arranged marriage couples. Your questions will be something like “If you have to rate your marriage in terms of joy and happiness in it, how much will you rate on a 1 to 10 scale?” followed by questions like “if you have a time machine, would you go back right before the marriage and take your time to find out someone to have a love marriage? Yes/No/Maybe”
You don’t have any theory or hypothesis and you are only to find out unseen/unknown reality
In this case, you don’t have any preconceived thoughts or assumptions and you are plainly trying to learn or find out in an open-minded fashion. Like for example, You don’t know how many educated youth from Nepal actually do smoke, nor you know why they smoke despite its negative effect and you are set out to find out the answer by surveying. In such surveys, your questions will be like “do you smoke? Yes/No. “If you smoke, how many cigarettes do you smoke per day?” “despite its negative effect, why do you still smoke?”etc.
Sometimes, you can have a mixed approach, wherein the topic of your interest that you are surveying on, part of it is something you strongly believe being fact, part of it is something you are unsure about, and part of it is something you don’t know a thing about and you are willing to learn. Like for example, you strongly believe happy couples display so and so traits, and you think couples from love marriages are happier but you are not sure of, and you don’t know at all if personal happiness is valued more in marriage or responsibilities and social factors in the context of Nepal. So part of your questionnaires will be driven by your theory that you consider as being fact, part of it will be intended to cross-verify your assumption, and part of it will be purely seeking truth as it is without any deliberate attempt to frame your assumption.
Bottom line, you should know your ground, the purpose of surveying, what you intend to do afterward, based on which you should be working on your questionnaires. Your questionnaires will be designed according to your intention, so there is no hard and fast rule but make sure, in the end, you gather all the relevant information so put together to build a conclusion and for that, you need to think about what all needs to be asked to fill up the blocks and connect the dots.
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