Every time a girl has to undergo her menses, she has to face a lot of trouble. Apart from the physical pain and crankiness, we are made to face the society. Coming from a Muslim family, I know how hard it is to “hide” the fact in Ramzan that I cannot fast because I am on my periods from the male members of the family. ” They”, I was told, ” shouldn’t know that you are so dirty that you cannot fast”. Also, every time I “miss” my compulsory prayers, I am supposed to hide it from the male members. Not only this a few ladies in my family prefer to twitch their eyes and give all sorts of weird expressions and smile when they come to know about “it”. So, talking about “periods” in my family IS a big issue.
One of my maids in my big ancestral house was caught giggling to another maid on how her little girl had grown up and that they were planning to marry her now to some eligible bachelor. I happened to overhear it and couldn’t help myself giving her advice on educating her daughter before sending her off, which obviously fell on deaf ears. Then, she asked me the question. She asked if I had some old clothes with me of soft material. When I said that the rags of the kitchen had been replaced day before and it would be some time when they should be replaced, the lady smiled and said: “Ye safayi ke liye nahi chahiye, main apni beti ko doongi wo lagaegi.” I was shocked. I told her that this was unhygienic and the girl might get rashes. She should buy proper sanitary napkins and use them. The lady dropped her face and said, “Beta, agar har mahine hum 100 rupay aise hi kharab kar denge to khaenge kya?” The lady has a husband who doesn’t care about the family and three daughters. The eldest one is being talked about here and we pay her 1000 per month.
How may more girls belong to the same criteria? They can’t afford to bleed respectfully. For something they have no choice over, they have to pay. To control the population, condoms are distributed for free but what about women’s basic needs? You talk to how STDs are spread, what about the sanitation of women?
You make a girl feel guilty about something she has no choice over. Because trust me, if given a choice, none of us would choose the turmoil of every month.
Our country is talking about “cleanliness” and “girl education”. And then there are skyrocketing prices for buying a packet of sanitary napkins. Sex education is important, but so is period education.
I staunchly demand proper provision of sanitary napkins for every girl in the country.