Ignorance behind Menstruation Creates Chaos

Ignorance behind Menstruation Creates Chaos

by Radha Paudel
Radha Paudel[1]
The below question is the most common one while I was speaking no matter whether I am in village or capital or Nepalese community in aboard.
Q:        Do you enter in to temple during menstruation?
A:        Is this question to me? I have done 13 days mourning during death of my mother in 2009 along with my sisters and brother. Shocked, bite their tongue, shake their body, give big smile etc. are there responses I noticed. Few are furious and charged me as anti-Hindu and many stuffs. To me, this is all ignorance and hegemonic perception around menstruation.

Not only me, my sister, nieces, sister-in law, brother, father and myself, do put on Tika during Dashain, Tihar, do sarade (annual death ritual), enter in to Pashupati (Kathmandu), Mankamana (Gorkha), Tripurasundari (Baitadi), Ugratara(Dadeldhura) and so on along with pad in between vagina and panty. We belong with Hindu religion and enjoying celebrations in our own way as always that we do not have any barriers due to menstrual blood.

My father 80 years old, never ever school going man though he never insisted us to do Rishipanchami, cleansing ritual since I taught my parents about physiology of menstruation since 1992 when I was in Nursing college. Before that my late mother, sisters and myself followed the restrictions. Means my sisters went to cowshed for 7-21 days without seeing father, brother, sun etc. I never do this ritual in my life. I am still alive with many achievements. It’s just incompatibility in understanding between nature and science.

My response to all audiences of my talk program, any temple has have statute of goddess, it never put the notice due to impurity or dirty blood. Likewise, the priest in Muktinath, a popular Hindu temple, is women and they never stop the worships. We never can see any notice or interruptions in restaurants, hotels, offices, buses etc. where menstruate girls and women are working or travelling but nothing happen.

The menstrual blood is perfectly pure blood, shedding from the inner liner of the uterus which is prepare for receiving a baby for 40 weeks. Can we imagine the baby from the impure or dirty blood. Often educated people asked me it is dirty blood that is why we need to segregate. Indeed, menstrual blood is not collecting blood at all. It just tears and start bleed when the circumstances not allowing to have baby.

I know, this is somehow guided from religion. We can’t change the position of nose in our face, men never can change their sex, we never can stop earthquake because of nature. The rest of things such as restrictions during menstruation, religious practices etc. all are constructed by human that can change by ourselves. Here, I urged to choose whether you treat yourself as human being or animal. If you are human being let’s accept science and enjoy the nature, let’s do dialogue on menstruation at family, community and everywhere for peace and prosperity.

[1] Activist for Menstrual Rights and Rural Transformation, Author of Madan Purskar winning book Khalangama Hamala, Awardee of many national and international awards for her tireless work on peace, human right, empowerment. This article is prepared for club as asked by Sharmila Shrestha, PhD.

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