Walls for Women

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To treat women as pariahs, or to isolate them during the periods, is a discriminatory practice.


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Walls for Women


The issue of menstrual cycle remains a taboo for Indian women in large number of families even today. In restrictive homes, women are not allowed to touch anything at all except their bed sheets. They are practically pariahs in this period, and no one dare question the practice at all. In the most urban of Indian cities, this happens. While from a medical perspective, due to weakness and pain and other reasons, it can be understood that women are allowed special care and protection, but it has since turned into a full-fledged practice of secluding them. And worst part is – the young girl cannot even question anything. Culturally, a common thread across all strata of society in India is – the whole menstrual cycle is very powerful. That power is not explained, it is neither positive nor negative, but its result is clear – women are forced into isolation without even questioning them. The most embarrassing incidents are the most simple, innocent but visible ones – coming to the dinner table but being given a separate chair to sit on. It can be tremendously embarrassing as everyone (including men) find out that the female’s periods are on.

Most people following this practice consider it so natural, they don’t even question it. What should be the ideal choice? It is the woman who should be given full freedom to decide how she wants to be, during those periods each month. Choice is critical. By denying that choice in such a fundamental natural phenomenon, society ties down the women permanently, and considers it the right thing to do. Gender identity needs to develop through choice. The right to ask questions about it cannot be taken away. What are the solutions to this deep-rooted problem? (a) Formal education (but that may not change attitudes of society), (b) Art and expression (example of Romanian artist Timi Pall), (c) An attitude of freedom and questioning.

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महिलाओं की बंदिशें


आज भी बड़ी संख्या में भारतीय परिवारों में मासिक धर्म के चक्र का मुद्दा भारतीय महिलाओं के लिए निषिद्ध बना हुआ है। प्रतिबंधक घरों में महिलाओं को उनकी स्वयं की चादरों को छोड़कर किसी भी अन्य वस्तु को स्पर्श करने की अनुमति नहीं है। वे इस अवधि के दौरान लगभग समाज से बाहर (समाज से बहिष्कृत) रहती हैं, और किसी में भी इस प्रथा पर प्रश्न उठाने का साहस नहीं है। भारत के शहरों में भी अधिकांश शहरी समझे जाने वाले परिवारों में यही होता है। स्वास्थ्य की दृष्टि से, कमजोरी और शारीरिक कष्ट और अन्य कारणों से यह समझा जा सकता है कि महिलाओं को विशेष देखभाल और संरक्षण की आवश्यकता होती है, परंतु यह उन्हें समाज से पूरी तरह से बहिष्कृत करने की प्रथा के रूप में विकसित हुआ है। और इसमें भी सबसे खराब बात यह है कि - नौजवान युवती कोई प्रश्न भी नहीं पूछ सकती। सांस्कृतिक दृष्टि से भारतीय समाज के सभी स्तरों पर एक समान विश्वास यह है कि संपूर्ण मासिक धर्म चक्र अत्यंत शक्तिशाली है। यह शक्ति स्पष्ट नहीं की गई है, यह न तो सकारात्मक है और न ही नकारात्मक, परंतु इसका परिणाम स्पष्ट है - महिलाऐं समाज से पृथक होने को मजबूर हैं और इसपर वे कोई प्रश्न भी नहीं उठा पाती हैं। सर्वाधिक लज्जाजनक पल सबसे सरल, मासूम परंतु दृश्य होते हैं - खाने की मेज पर आना, परंतु वहां उन्हें एक अलग कुर्सी पर बैठना पड़ता है। यह अत्यंत अपमानजनक हो सकता है क्योंकि सभी को (पुरुषों सहित) पता चल जाता है कि महिला का मासिक धर्म चक्र चल रहा है। 

इस प्रथा का पालन करने वाले अधिकांश लोग इसे इतना सामान्य और प्राकृतिक मानते हैं कि वे इसके बारे में कोई प्रश्न भी नहीं पूछते हैं। आदर्श विकल्प क्या होना चाहिए? प्रत्येक महीने की उस अवधि के दौरान उस महिला को इस बात की पूर्ण स्वतंत्रता होनी चाहिए कि वह किस प्रकार रहना चाहती है। विकल्प महत्वपूर्ण है। यदि इस प्रकार की प्राकृतिक घटना के विषय में उसकी पसंदगी को नकार कर समाज महिला को स्थाई रूप से बाँध देता है, और यह मानता है कि यही उचित है। लैंगिक पहचान पसंदगी से विकसित होनी चाहिए। इसके बारे में प्रश्न पूछने के अधिकार को छीना नहीं जा सकता। इस गहरी जड़ें जमाई हुई समस्या के समाधान क्या हैं? (ए) औपचारिक शिक्षा (परंतु यह संभवतः समाज के दृष्टिकोण में परिवर्तन नहीं कर पाएगी), (बी) कला और अभिव्यक्ति (रोमानियाई कलाकार टिमी पल्ल का उदाहरण), (सी) स्वरंत्रता और प्रश्न पूछने की प्रवृत्ति या दृष्टिकोण।

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Bodhi Saar: Walls for Women
Walls for Women
To treat women as pariahs, or to isolate them during the periods, is a discriminatory practice.
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