The paint smells fresh and the walls have no remnants of the discriminatory sign, “Women Not Allowed Inside”, which had existed ever since the villagers could remember. Whereas women in the rest of the country are battling in earnest to gain entry into the holiest of holies, a temple’s sanctum sanctorum, in the small village of Hingewathar it is now lived a reality.
Last month, a special Mahila Gram Sabha was held in the anteroom of the local temple, which, incidentally, functions as a meeting place for the residents, where everyone unanimously resolved to remove the sign that denied entry to women. This bold, pioneering move in a small, otherwise sleepy hamlet in Pune district of Maharashtra is the upshot of a unique intervention that had been underway in the region through which the men have been encouraged to shed their patriarchal mindsets and root out inequality.
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