Disclaimer 1 – I have decided to take on this super controversial and yet important issue on my blog ONLY because its high time that we teach our young girls that they aren’t Impure. And young boys that Periods (Menstruation) is normal
Disclaimer 2 – Indian Woman this side and a practicing Hindu.
Notation 1 – I would like to encourage “Talk around Menstruation/Periods with young girls – as something NORMAL”
The CRUX lies in some “age – old customs” – and to destroy these myths, we need to actually understand those very customs.
I shall give a birds eye view of life in older ages where a woman was “asked to take rest” for 3 to 5 days a month to give context:
- You didn’t have sanitary pads or tampons so cleanliness was a painful process. So it was easier to be in “one place” and not move around. So the logic here – “Let her not add more cleaning work to her already heavy workload”
- Added to the fact that women slaved it out for the whole month… and during their periods they actually got rest. It’s also pertinent to note that families where the temple was in the middle of the house or nearby the new DIL was expected to physically wash the whole temple after bathing, pray and only then consume food. During periods this would have resulted in weakness. So the logic here – is a simple – “Let her rest when she is losing blood”
- When families lived near jungles and there were no bathrooms and temple areas lay in the forest the fear of having women attacked by leopards etc – it was widely believed that attacking animals could smell blood. So the logic here – “Let her be safe”
- Many Temples were built on hills and mountains and devotees climbing high mountain to reach the deity was also seen as a part of the worship. During periods – some women do feel a little weak (not all women). So the idea propagated was that the woman should not climb a mountain. In fact doctors of today also suggest that women who feel weak during their periods should do “medium to light” exercising – and climbing a mountain is strenuous. So the logic here is – “Let her not over exert herself and fall ill”
Now – none of these logics remotely point to the “impurity of women” during their periods!
Now given these logics – let’s cut into today.
None of the above them exist as major issues!
Also to give some perspective Hinduism as followed by the Vedas – do not put women down as “impure”.
To highlight something very pertinent, raised by Acharya MR Rajesh during the Sabrimala Temple debate – Vedas never portrayed a Menstruating woman as impure. (Kashyapa Veda Rersearch Foundation – Kerela)
Now lets jump onto the basics Science of it:
- Menstrual blood is emitted from the female body “naturally”. And a woman in no way can control it. Thus establishing the “natural body function argument.
- During the “non-period time” – the female body carries her uterus intact and what is referred to the ovulation period and uterine lining being formed. When there is no pregnancy – this very wall breaks out and comes out at Monthly intervals. So technically the woman carries the fluids et all always. There is not “cycle” its more of a continuous process. She cannot stop it!
I am having a “whew” moment of trying to simplify some age old traditions and challenge some base concepts.
Have also tried to give “words” to the science of it… (simplified it. So the pure science types please ignore and allow for non-science people to absorb the “normalcy bit”)
28th May – 2019 we as a World shall Celebrate “World Menstrual Hygiene Day” – and I hope this piece helps you in challenging some “age old taboos” which have taken the form of “religious taboos”.
In case you want to ping me and discuss – I can be reached out on FB and Twitter and Instagram 🙂