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Men, especially Godmen, who have nothing to do with women’s lives and bodily functions have dictated rules for the same. Will religion ever get out of women’s pants?
It is not new for men to try and dictate rules for women on issues surrounding menstruation. Men and their influence on periods is so obvious, that we rarely ever talk about periods in front of men.
In a recent episode of this domination where men make the rules about periods and make it a taboo, a video of a Swami is going viral. Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji is seen making appalling comments in the video. (The video was compiled by the Ahmedabad Mirror)
The very wise Swami says, “A woman who prepares food during the menstruation period will be reborn as a kutri (bitch)”
While the statements were made a year or so ago, it has re-emerged since he belongs to sect that owns the SSGI college. For the ones who don’t know, this is the same college that forced around 60 female students to remove their panties to check if they were menstruating! The women were forced to do so by the college authorities because they believed menstruating women entering the kitchens will ‘pollute’ the food.
Krushnaswarup didn’t just shower his knowledge about women but also spoke about men. He claimed that men should learn to cook so they can avoid eating food made by menstruating women.
“You eat the rotis even if they are made by a menstruating woman. She doesn’t have the sense that she should spend those three days ascetically. Each of these are defined in the shashtras. So, be warned. Before you get married, learn how to cook,” he said.
Now, as much as I agree that men should also learn how to cook, the point is that, women and men should be able to cook whenever they want! Everyone needs to know how to cook, irrespective of their gender.
Well, this wasn’t all the gems that the Swami spouted. He also said, “If a man eats food prepared by a woman on her period, even once, he will be reborn an ox.”
Yeah, because men are the victims who have to bear the consequences of a sin committed by the menstruating women. Also, even though they have a ‘part in the sin,’ according to the Swami, men will still be an ox- an animal that is holy and worshipped. And women will be dogs who are considered bad and impure, despite their fierce loyalty.
It isn’t the first time a man has blamed menstruating women for utter rubbish and called them impure. During the Sabarimala verdict, the Hindu Makkal Katchi was busy criticising the entry of women in the temple. They cited that as the reason for the natural calamity. The party’s district president Prabhakaran claimed that after the political leaders and the court allowed women to enter the temple, it led to the flood.
What fascinates me the most is that every time women question the taboos surrounding menstruation, they are silenced with reasons like the ‘shastras.’ I am, in no way, questioning whether or not these things are written in the shashtras because I haven’t read them. But what I do is that, the shashtras were written in a time when not too many people were aware of the functioning of the human body.
They were written in an era of discrimination, patriarchy and misogyny. A lot of scholars also believe that these shashtras are the reason for practices like the caste system, sati and enforced widowhood. So, clearly, claiming that shashtras are a guide on how humans should behave is not right.
It’s high time these things change now! Human nature changes with time, so shouldn’t religious norms change too? Calling the misogyny surrounding periods that suppresses women right simply since it’s written in the shashtras is just not right!
Placing restrictions and taboos on menstruating women only oppresses them further. India’s women deserve to be treated with respect. And the first step towards this will be to not follow such misogynistic leaders. Period!
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