One of my friends was made to wash all the curtains of her living room by her dear mother in law when she accidentally brushed against the selvage of curtain of living room during her ‘special days’. Her affable (Warning! never judge by the facade) mother in law was averse to even the idea of a menstruating woman stepping near the jar of fresh homemade pickles. Her theory said that menstruating women can rotten the pickles by stepping near its jar. I have never heard anything more frivolous than this and I am amused to say that this theory has no scientific evidence.
India is a country of contradictions, its dichotomous character is reflected in our everyday life also. We worship female idols like Durga and Kali and there is a nine day celebration known as Navratra attributed to the female goddess. Yet women are treated as untouchables during the five days of their menstrual cycle and are forbidden entry into the temples or perform a religious ceremony. As the saying goes if a woman performs any religious ceremony or enters a place of worship during these marked days of the month then she has to face the wrath of gods. I am rattled by this mystification. How can a simple natural process, which unifies women around the world, separate women from God. God is infinite divine light and nothing worldly can separate us from him. Connection with god has to be through thoughts and not through physical dimension.
In some historic cultures, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful, with increased psychic abilities, and strong enough to heal the sick. According to the Cherokee, menstrual blood was a source of feminine strength and had the power to destroy enemies. Hindus in India tend to view menstruation, especially first menstruation or menarche, as a positive aspect of a girl’s life. In South India, girls who experience their menstrual period for the first time are given presents and celebrations to mark this special occasion. Guru Nānak, the founder of Sikhism, condemned the practice of treating women as impure while menstruating.In Sikhism, the menstrual cycle is not considered a pollutant. Certainly, it can have a physical and physiological effect on the woman. Nonetheless, this is not considered a hindrance to her wanting to pray or accomplish her religious duties fully. (source- Wikipedia)
As the word suggests, Inclusion simply means including someone or something. Economists and analysts often use the term inclusive growth to show that growth rates are not just about rich but should include poor and downtrodden as well. Similarly Inclusive education means that every child, irrespective of class, gender, caste and medical issues, has the Right to Education. So inclusion is a widely used word across various sections of our society. I wish women could be included in everyday family life and all religious rituals on all days of the month. Earlier people had logical reasoning behind every custom but with changing times the practices got distorted and lost their essence. Women were not made to do any household chores during menstrual cycle so that their body got ample rest, it was actually a time for self love and rejuvenation. There was no recourse except for using a cloth, so hygiene was a concern for many. All these were reasons enough to exclude women from others. But these days with so many options at hand it should be a choice made by a woman rather than a dictum by others.
Proud to be a woman on each day and every moment of my life.
Cheers to Womanhood!