It’s 3 AM in the morning. The dogs in our locality have suddenly staged a mesmerising Sydney opera. My limbo is beautifully shattered – and I am haunted by intriguing clouds of thoughts.
I wonder about the things people talk about and hold debates on – changing the world, demolition of regimes, abolition of some specific ideologies, etc. But, not many of them speak about doing away with the taboos surrounding menstruating women.
No one seems to be uncomfortable with the fact that in the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, women between 10 and 50 years of age are banned from entering and worshipping. Reportedly, a priest had to perform a ‘purification ritual’ after a 35-year-old woman had set foot inside the complex once.
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple (also in Kerala) once had a curious rule about prohibiting women from entering the inner sanctum of the temple, while also allowing them to worship the deity. Even more curious is the decree imposed by the authorities of Lord Kartikeya temple at Pushkar in Rajasthan, which prohibits women from entering the temple premises. Apparently, there is a myth that Lord Kartikeya curses women who enter the temple instead of blessing them!
I wonder how many people know about the Haji Ali Dargah case. According to the PIL filed by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, entry to the inner sanctorum of the dargah was restricted from June 2012. It intrigues me when I hear about women not being allowed to enter mosques during their periods, and not being able to fast during Ramadan either.The latter ‘rule’ might be backed by concerns about women’s health, but the irony is that a significant number of women do fast during their periods, and eat food in toilets or in some secret place – for they feel embarrassed to let men know that they are ‘impure’. According to a number of people, the Quran says that it is haraam for a menstruating woman to pay both obligatory and naafil prayers, and they are not valid if she does them.
I wonder why people are comfortable with the fact that in Leviticus 15: 19-30 it is stated that a woman in her ‘discharge’ is unclean – and that whoever touches her or her belongings during that time will be unclean until the evening. Leviticus 20:18 says that “If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people.”
No one seems to be desperate enough to change these rules – and yet, every one speaks about changing the world and achieving equality.
I know that my article may well be deemed as utterly worthless. In fact, it will be – for in my experience, posts on social platforms rarely create a stir. People appreciate,admire, criticise, curse, loathe and forget. The bubble in the placid ocean breaks. No more bubbles break to the surface.The ocean remains just as calm as it was before.
Still, I felt like sharing my thoughts. I would love to see people sharing theirs.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.