Even now, in most parts of the country, menstruating women are not allowed to enter the kitchen or even touch utensils, let alone cook a meal! They are baned from temples, from touching certain products or even being present in the same room as others. Yes, this is the alarming reality of 2020.
There are numerous taboos in India around women on their period. A 2014 report by the NGO Dasra suggested that almost 23 million girls drop out of school annually when they start menstruating. This is mainly due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene. Not just this, a few weeks ago, girls studying in a Gujarat college were forced to remove their undergarments for the authorities to check whether or not they were menstruating. According to media reports, these women "violated" norms banning menstruating women from touching other people and entering religious places. Later, during a lecture on family management, Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji of the Swaminarayan Bhuj Mandir said that if a woman cooks food for her husband while she is on her period, she will be reborn as a 'kutri' (bitch). Yes, this actually happened!
Following the outrage over incidents like these, an NGO called 'Sachhi Saheli' in Delhi organised a 'Period Feast' and served food to over 300 attendees.
People who attended the 'Period Feast', organised in Delhi's Mayur Vihar, also signed a pledge to stand in solidarity and reject the myth that women are impure and impious during menstruation. The 28 women who cooked also wore aprons with quotes 'I am a proud menstruating woman'.
Dr Surbhi Singh, the founder of Sachhi Saheli rose a strong voice against all the misconceptions and taboos related to menstruation. "We will continue to break the silence on menstruation because no one has the right to take away the pride of any woman just because she is getting periods."
The event was also attended by the Deputy CM of Delhi, Mr Manish Sisodia who was quoted saying, "In today's scientific day and age, there is nothing pure or impure about menstruation, it is a natural biological process that should be taken as it is." We need more people like you, sir!
I never thought that a biological phenomenon will have to be justified and advocated for. We need more such campaigns to normalise the idea of menstruation. PERIOD.
Featured Image: Twitter