Nashik, Apr 22 (PTI) Gender rights activist Trupti Desai today visited the Trimbakeshwar temple and offered prayers inside the sanctum sanctorum of the popular Lord Shiva shrine here which houses one of the 12 jyotirlingas.Desai, along with three of her colleagues took darshan of the shivlinga in the garbha gruha around 6 AM and left after nearly 15 minutes, said H P Kolhe, in charge of Trimbakeshwar police station.The Bhumata Ranragini Brigade chief along with her aides followed the dress code, wet cotton or silk sarees, as decided by Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust and stood in the queue with other devotees before entering the core worship area, he said.Later, they left the temple town in a vehicle.Interacting with newspersons outside the temple after the darshan, Desai said their struggle for gaining entry into Shani Shingnapur in Ahmednagar and now at Trimbakeshwar temple has succeeded.Desai vowed to take forward the struggle for entry of women into worship places across the country.Yesterday, four activists, led by Vanita Gutte of Pune-based Swarajya Mahila Sanghatana, offered prayers inside the sacred sanctum amid police protection.Recently, the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust decided to allow women into the temples garbha griha for an hour everyday with a rider that they must wear wet cotton or silk clothes while offering prayers in the core area.The development is significant as it came days after women were permitted entry to the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.The issue of gender bias hogged national limelight in January when hundreds of women activists attempted to storm into the Shani Shingnapur temple. After months of protests, and the Bombay High Court observing that entering a temple was a fundamental right of every person, the Shingnapur temple trust finally decided to allow womens entry on to the sacred platform (chauthara)–on which rock idol of Lord Shani is placed– on April 8.advertisementThe decision opened doors for women to contest similar bans at other temples. PTI HVJ DK KIS SRE
A 2005 advertisement for Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska (Courtesy of ulalume)Earlier month, Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiaġvik — the only federally recognized tribal college in Alaska — announced that it will waive tuition for all Alaska Native students, starting next semester. The college offers associate degrees, vocational certificates, and short-term workforce development courses, plus a bachelor’s degree in business administration that just launched this fall.Listen nowOf the 700 or so students enrolled in the college each semester, a large proportion are non-native. In fact, among tribal colleges and universities, Iḷisaġvik has one of the highest non-native enrollments.“We hover between about 55-60% Alaska Native students currently,” Pearl Brower, President of Iḷisaġvik College, said. “And we certainly hope that those numbers are going to grow with this waiver of tuition.”Brower said that students have expressed concern with the price of tuition, which for a full course load runs over $3,000. This is especially hard for distance-education students who take classes online from rural areas where there aren’t a lot of high paying jobs.“More and more we were hearing that funding was a barrier. They were trying to figure out how to go to college when this looming monetary amount was in front of them,” Brower said.The school is planning to cover the cost of the waiver internally, although the price will be defrayed by the Bureau of Indian Education, which gives Iḷisaġvik money for each full course load being taken by Alaska Native or American Indian students.Brower said that the ultimate goal of the waiver program is to encourage more Alaska Native students to finish their associate degrees and go on to get their bachelor’s. She hopes that will translate to more hiring of Alaska Natives in positions that require those degrees, especially in rural schools and businesses across the state.