Okay, I promise this will be my last holier-than-thou, let's-talk-about-feminism-and-patriarchy post for a while. But I can't resist the temptation to comment on this whole Sabarimala thing which has been doing the rounds of the blogosphere (posts on it here, here and here, and the DP link to the first two here).
The Sabarimala temple does not allow women between the ages 10 and 50 to enter. Supposedly, this has to do with the fact that this is the age when women are menstruating and may therefore make the temple unclean. Ya, right.
A number of people have written posts on the issue, expressing indignation at such blatant discrimination and demanding that women be let in.
Let me start by going over the points that have been made already that I agree with:
a) The practise is discriminatory
b) There is no case for providing support from government funds to such an institution. The government should not support such discriminatory practices.
c) To the extent that the temple is a private body, however, it should have the right to admit whomsoever it pleases. Government regulation to force a private institution to admit people it doesn't want is unwarranted. That's how you end up with a police state
d) That said, people obviously retain the right to boycott the temple, and to encourage others to boycott it as well
So far, so good. The bit I have trouble with is the contention that we should be working towards helping women gain access to the temple. I see this as somewhat wrong-headed. I think the trouble is that most people are assuming that entry to the temple is a privilege in itself, and should therefore be made available to all, irrespective of gender. Implicit in that is the assumption that there is a 'heritage of the temple' and there is 'patriarchal discrimination' and the two are distinct entities and that we should work towards getting the former without the latter.
Personally, I see no reason to assume that patriarchy is seperable from organised religion. Established institutions are inherently embedded in existing power structures, and tend to perpetuate them. Differences in status and consequent exclusion is what these institutions exist on and for. It would be convenient, of course, if we could pick those parts of our heritage that we happen to like, and leave out those parts that we don't - but given the interdependencies between them it's not clear that that is feasible. Also, taking that approach begs the question - what parts of the heritage are 'desirable' and what parts are not and who's to decide which ones we retain and discard. The trouble with accepting that 'heritage' is valuable in itself, is that it leaves the door open for people to argue that all sorts of discriminatory practices are part of their 'heritage'. 
A number of people have compared the Sabarimala temple to an elite club. I think that's accurate. Let's ask ourselves why elite clubs are valued. They are valued because not everyone can get into them, so that being a member of one makes you feel special. They are a privilege precisely because they keep some people out. How much of Sabarimala temple's importance, its holiness, comes from the fact that it keeps women out? Why is it a 'privilege' to be able to pray to your chosen diety in Sabarimala rather than anywhere else? Precisely because not everyone can. Exclusion is fundamental to the purpose of Sabarimala - which is why no right-thinking man or woman, no human being who believes in equality and dignity for all, should want to go there.
Let's not fall into the trap of believing in some golden heritage that we are only now being deprived of - feudal social institutions were always about discrimination and inequality. Let's not blindly assume that the only way to build a new social order is to force the old institutions to adapt - the creation of new institutions is both possible and desirable. Let's not fall prey to the slave mentality of craving acceptance from those who despise us and would like to see us humbled. Much has been said about the 'logic' of why women between 10 and 50 are not allowed in. Are we really naive enough to believe that this is about menstruation, and not about power? What do you want to bet that every time a woman demands to get in and is turned away the priests at the temple exult in their own self-importance? And why would you want to be part of a congregation and a social system that was so demeaning to women?
As long as we continue to ratify traditional inequalities by paying lip-service to the institutions that are an inherent part of them, our ability to wage a war against discrimination is severely compromised. The way to destroy an elitist institution is to create an alternative egalitarian institution and encourage people to shun the old one. The way to defeat discrimination at Sabrimala is not to insist that women be let in on sufferance, it is to reject outright the importance of Sabrimala as a temple, and to actively encourage both women and men to pray elsewhere. Only when praying at a temple as discriminatory as Sabrimala becomes not a privilege but a matter of shame, will we truly have won the battle against discrimination.
 The point is more general, of course. It's ridiculous how much discrimination continues to be justified in the name of tradition. The amazing thing about this is that people arguing against the discrimination are actually willing to engage in the debate on what is or is not traditional or part of our culture, without asking the more basic question - how is the fact that it's traditional any justification for its continuation in the future?