2019 might just be the year that is going to shake up the Indian patriarchal structures. The women in Kerala are certainly on the path to kick off this change.
In a span of 24 hours, 5 million women lined up on the streets of Kerala to uphold gender equality. Meanwhile, two female devotees entered the Lord Ayyappa shrine for the first time after the Supreme Court verdict.
While the two women entering and praying at the shrine may be a historic first, the Women's Wall which was formed yesterday and pledged for 'gender equality' is also an amazing feat - it is the fourth largest human chain formed in the world.
So what exactly was the Kerala Women's Wall?
An estimated 50 lakh (5 million) women in Kerala came out in a show of collective effort to push for gender justice. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan calling it a collective voice of dissent against those opposing the Sabarimala verdict.
Why a human chain?
A human chain is one of the oldest, yet peaceful forms of protest, which has historically led to changes after the demonstration. It involves a collective coming together of people in which people link their arms as a show of political solidarity.
Historically, the largest human chain was a 2017 protest in Bihar, India, which was estimated to include 20 million people, in which the participants expressed support to implement and promote complete Prohibition of liquor and intoxicants in the territory of the State of Bihar and in favour of the law to be passed by Nitish Kumar Government by forming human chain of around 12,760 km across the state of Bihar.
The second largest is 'No Confidence' campaign to the BNP-led alliance government in Bangladesh, where over 5 million people joined hands to form a human chain. The partipants were supporters of 14 opposition parties led by the Bangladesh Awami League to express their 'No Confidence' campaign to the BNP-led alliance government and to demand fresh polls.
The (estimated) third largest is Hands Across America in 1986, where approximately 6.5 million people held hands in a charitable event to raise money to fight hunger in the United States.
And the fourth largest in the world, in all of history, was yesterday's Women's Wall. Doesn't sound like a minor feat anymore? Here's what it looks like visually next to some of the most notable human chains in the world.
The international jury of the Guinness Book, Guinness Sunil Joseph, told reporters the wall in all likelihood will find a place in the book for the lengthiest chain of women.
This was the fourth largest human chain in all of history - yet it went under-reported. The Kerala Women's Wall had 5 million women participating in it - but the question is-- how many women will it take for change to actually come about?