• 5 things to know about religious equality activist Trupti Desai

    Activist Trupti Desai is known India-wide as a woman who breaks religious ‘traditions’ that prevent women from worshipping at the sanctum sanctorum of certain temples and almost all mosques and dargahs.

    Thanks to her activism, the Bombay High Court has ruled that constitutional right of equality applies also to religion, and that the state must ensure that women are permitted to worship freely at all temples, including Ahmednagar’s Shani Shingnapur temple, where Desai and her organisation, Bhumata Brigade, first found the spotlight in 2015.

    Last week, the Bombay High Court also ruled that women could enter the inner areas of Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah, partly because of Desai’s activism.

    Also read: Blame the clerics says advocate Farha Faiz on why women were banned in inner sanctums

    Though Desai is now associated with ensuring equality for women in religion, she does much more than that.

    Here are 5 things to know about Trupti Desai.

    1. Desai has been an activist since she was forced to leave college in Pune due to family problems. Working as the president of the Krantiveer Jhopdi Vikas Sangh in 2003, she helped slum-dwellers deal with unemployment, legal problems and bureaucracy, according to ‘The News Minute’.
    2. In 2009, according to Scroll.in, Desai won an agitation against Ajit Cooperative Bank’s chairman Ajit Pawar, then a minister in the Maharashtra  government. The bank had defrauded its 35,000 customers and Desai ensured that most of them got their money back.
    3. In 2010, she launched the Bhumata Brigade. Membership is open to all, but the women’s section, the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, leads the movement for religious equality.

    Also read: Eight Temples in India that bar entry of women

    1. At 31, Desai is married, has a six-year-old son, and says she is supported by her family.
    2. According to ‘Mint’, Desai is also working with the widows of farmers in Maharashtra’s Vidharbha region, where persistent drought, crop failure and high debt led many farmers to commit suicide.

    Feature image credit: dnaindia.com

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