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Nepal passes law to end practice of ‘Chhaupadi’ or exiling menstruating women to menstrual huts.
As women, we battle with new issues every now and then. But there continue to be certain matters that have horrified and humiliated us for ages now. These questions range from the way we should dress to way we should behave or for that matter what we should do to lead an ideal life!! Unfortunately, it just doesn’t end there and we are even harassed and tested for our natural ability to reproduce. Yes, you just caught my point…I’m speaking about Menstruation and taboos related to it.
I happened to come across this judicial judgment passed in Nepal that criminalizes any act of forbidding any female from being in her own home during menstruation.
While reading this notification, my heart wrenched with grief and helplessness. Why are we made to suffer for something that’s beyond our control? Why are we held guilty of “impurity” where it is this fertility that has kept the world evolving since its inception?? And that too as if the woman is not undergoing enough physical pain that these traditional societal norms torment them emotionally!!
Nepal followed this practice of ‘Chhaupadi’ wherein girls and women are turned out of their houses into secluded ‘menstruation huts or sheds’ for those 4 days of the month. These temporary establishments are not only poorly ventilated and gloomy, but also unsafe. Women or for that matter even young adolescent girls are exposed to snakes, rats and other animals while living here. They are neither given proper food nor allowed to enter their houses. They are forced to make ends meet with bare food and facilities.
It was in 2005 that the Supreme Court of Nepal realized how outrageous this practice was and banned the same. But as they say, you can monitor peoples’ activities but can’t control their thoughts and beliefs. The dreadful custom still prevails, taking lives of several young girls and women…and nothing short of drastic measures could work.
This new ruling has criminalised the practice of Chhaupadi, and “Those forcing woman to take refuge in shed during the period would now be punished with three month’s jail term and fine.”
Menstruating ladies have been ill treated and discriminated against not just in Nepal or any one community. This is a lacuna in our society, our mind frames that stretches across countries and continents in some or the other form. They are deprived of nutritious food, milk, warm clothing, comfortable bedding and many such other facilities. Their lives are made miserable simply owing to some regressive, illogical and superstitious beliefs, which is just unacceptable.
It’s high time we learn and respect a woman’s body. It’s not out of their will that they menstruate. And essentially, it is because of this menstruation that society regards ‘unholy’, that society is flourishing and evolving.