Reported by Ankita Mukherjee
The Lambanis of Sandur taluk celebrates Sevalal Jayanthi in the mid-week of February. But women of menstruating age are not allowed to step into the temple of Sevalal situated in Susheelnagar village as they believe he was a bal brahmachari (celibate).
Sant Sevalal was a religious reformer who fought for the rights of the Banjara/Lambani community and the Lambnai people look up to him as a God. Says Santhi Bai, who works in the Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra, “On the day, we clean our house, clean ourselves, make sweets and offer it to Sevalal. We cannot cross the boundary but it doesn’t bother us as we can worship him in our home.”
“Sevalal was asked to marry Mariamma or Kali, but he turned her down and became a brahmachari. From then on, no married women is allowed in his territory and only the men take care of the puja. This same thing happens in Kumaraswamy temple, 15 kms far from Sandur.” After a pause, she asks, “Did you hear about the Sabarimala case? It’s the same here but just nobody knows about it.”
The irony is that it’s the priest’s wife who cleans the temple. “I get the permission to enter this place only before his birthday to clean every nook and corner of it,” she explains.