The disgraceful incident where 68 students of Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute (SSGI) in Bhuj were asked to prove that they weren't menstruating by stripping made headlines everywhere. The students were mortified because the warden believed that the menstruating students had entered the kitchen, which is not permitted.
In response to this, Sachhi Saheli, an NGO organised a 'Period Feast' where by 28 menstruating women prepared and served food for over 300 people in New Delhi. This was done to fight the stigma that surrounds menstruation in India which is why Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also attended the gathering.
Delhi: Sachhi Saheli, an NGO organised a 'Period Feast' yesterday in Mayur Vihar area. The food was prepared & served during the feast by 28 menstruating women. More than 300 people from all walks of life, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, participated in the feast. pic.twitter.com/Naek3wpQxI— ANI (@ANI) February 24, 2020
In today’s scientific day and age, there is nothing pure or impure about menstruation, it is a natural biological process that should be taken as it is.
- Deputy CM Manish Sisodia
The women were seen wearing aprons that read, "I am a proud menstruating woman."
These women are true inspirations for the society. They set an example and let the world know that no one can question their dignity in the name of religion. Let's put united front and claim our azadi from the misogyny. @SachhiSaheli salutes to them. #periodfeast #महावरी_भोज pic.twitter.com/KvvjE5BCih— SACHHI SAHELI (@SachhiSaheli) February 24, 2020
To add to the taboo surrounding menstruating women, in the past, religious leader Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji associated with Swaminarayan Temple spoke about menstruating women being impure. He made claims that spiritual texts have outlined women who cook while menstruating will be punished.
A menstruating woman who cooks food for her husband will certainly be reborn as a ‘kutri’ (bitch).
- Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji
This lead to an outcry on the internet, where people began taking pictures of their dogs and sarcastically sharing hashtags like 'fallen women.'
Here is a picture of two fallen women who became she-dogs because they cooked for their husbands while on their period in their last life. You can tell they're sorry from their body language. pic.twitter.com/cRK9dccTPd— shunali khullar shroff (@shunalishroff) February 18, 2020
These two incidents have given us a look into how these taboos and myths have still found a place in our society. Menstruation is a natural phenomenon that a woman's body goes through, and this NGO proved that women in India will not take these degrading comments sitting back.