Unfortunately, India is rich in its superstitious believes too. In addition, one of the rampant taboos is that of the menstruation and impurity attached to the female body. Despite being educated enough and emerging as a global power, we still continue with the habit of getting the sanitary pads from the shops wrapped in newspaper or black polythene. I ask why? Isn’t it something ordinary… normal!?
Many of the educated communities even, follow the illogical taboos. During periods, a woman is kept away from everything. She is not allowed to enter the kitchen as she becomes unclean, dirty. Many believe that a bleeding woman, if touches the pickle or the veggies, it will rot. I ask, seriously. Another nonsensical rule find its way, is that the menstruating woman should not water the plants! (I wonder, would plants also start menstruating?!) Moreover, the common believe is that a bleeding girl should not enter the temple, seems like our Gods have specifications too!
88 percent of our 355 million menstruating woman have no access to proper sanitary pads. Lack of knowledge and affordability brings more problems. Most of the rural women, even today use sand, straw, and ashes instead of sanitary pads. Those who use clothes, dry it up in some dingy corners away from everyone’s eyes, just to bring in more unhygienic conditions. This makes these women more prone to reproductive tract infections and other worse consequences! Not just health, bleeding in India takes toll on education even. 23 percent of girls drop outs from school when they start menstruating. A single patch of red mark on her bottom wear is going to bring more shame and disgrace to her!
Strangely, some communities celebrate the commencement of periods and look down upon at the already menstruating women as filthy and impure. One of the most celebrated festival of ours is Navratri. ‘ Kanya Puja’ celebrated during this festival is another important Hindu holy day. Young girls are worshiped as the form of Goddess Durga. Their feet are washed as mark of respect and they are showered with gifts by the devotees so as to recognize the feminine power. And the already menstruating women are left apart from being included in this ritual! I ask, Isn’t she the same power responsible for the creation of mankind? Why is she treated impure then?
Giggling of boys during the biology class, when the topic is about menstruation is not an uncommon sight here. A girl confidently talking about sex and periods is called a slut! I wonder, what the logic behind this remains!
What made me write about this today is the name Arunachalam Muruganantham (referred to as menstrual man). His research came up with easily available sanitary pads and machines for the rural women at a cheaper price. Instead, of being celebrated he was disowned by his own wife for 5 years! His neighbors called him a pervert! India sincerely needs good piece of mind to deal with these issues!
With time, the hope continues that the Indian society will soon eradicate this taboo from its glorious culture! Every girl will have access to hygienic menstruation conditions and will ask for the sanitary napkins, with their head held high! Asking it, Isn’t a sin! It doesn’t bring disgrace to her!
I bleed, and I am perfectly cool about it!