Menstruation is the natural part of the reproductive cycle in which blood from
the uterus exits through the vagina. It is a natural process that first occurs
in girls usually between the age of 11 and 14 years and is one of the indicators
of the onset of puberty among them. Despite being a phenomenon unique to girls,
this has always been surrounded by secrecy and myths in many societies. Taboos
surrounding menstruation exclude women and girls from many aspects of social and
Some of these are helpful, but others have potentially harmful
implications. India is a type of country where the literacy rate is very low as
compared to other countries. According to the census of 2001, the overall
literacy rate works out to be 64.8 %, the male literacy rate is 75.3% and that
for females is 53.7%i and the condition is even more drastic in rural areas.
Various unknown practices are happening throughout India primarily in rural
India and to talk or even discuss menstruation is considered a sin and on the
other hand, we don’t feel ashamed of discussing porn, masturbation, and other
things freely this shows the mentality of the people and not must focus towards
education related to menstruation.
In this article, we will primarily discuss
the Sabarimala temple issue which is practiced for a long time, and women were
deprived of their rights we will discuss it and also look at such type of issues
in other issues.is it the problem of the Sabarimala temple or it is a practice
that has a broader reach?
The Sabarimala Temple Case
Sabarimala sriayappa temple is dedicated to Lord ayyappa is the most famous
temple located in Kerala. there was a belief in which the Sabarimala temple
restricts menstruating women (between the age of 10 and 50 years) from taking
the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. The restrictions find their source in the legend
that the temple deity, Swami Ayyappa, is a ‘NaishtikaBrahmachari’ (celibate) ii. kerala
high court in 1991ordered in favor of the restriction by mentioning that the
restriction was in place throughout history and not discriminatory to the
constitution. In 2006, the Indian Young Lawyers Association challenged the ban
in Supreme Court.
However, the Kerala government appealed to the Supreme Court
that the beliefs and customs of devotees cannot be altered employing a judicial
process and the priests’ opinion is final. after that, the supreme court
referred this matter to a larger bench. various arguments were there in favor of
women to enter the temple. the argument that menstruation would pollute the
temple premises is unacceptable since there is nothing “unclean” or “impure”
about a menstruating woman.
Discriminating based on the biological factor
exclusive to the female gender is unconstitutional as it violates fundamental
rights under Article 14 (equality), Article 15 (discrimination abolition), and
Article 17 (Untouchability abolition). By analyzing all the parties the supreme
court In a 4-1 majority, the Supreme Court struck down provisions of the Kerala
Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 and allowed
women, irrespective of their age, to enter Sabarimala temple and worship the
deity. So with that case, we conclude that how women suffer during their
menstrual period what type of trauma they have to go through they cant worship
the temple and the religion they want it is unconstitutional and also not favors
morality and equality.
We have to understand that it is not the case of one particular temple,
religion, or state it is widely practiced throughout the nation. As a girl,
Noorjehan Niaz remembers visiting the famous Muslim shrine of Haji Ali and
walking down the long causeway off the coastline in south Mumbai, pushing
through the throng to the inner chamber of the mosque where the grave of the
15th-century saint lies.
Here, her parents taught her to press her head against
the grave and shower rose petals on to the green silk draping it. In 2011, as an
adult, she was shocked to find the entrance shut. She was allowed into the
mosque’s other areas to pray but the shrine’s trustees had decided that only men
were allowed inside.
The trustees said the ban was aimed at ‘protecting’ female
worshippers from sexual attention because, when they bowed, the pallu [loose
end] of their saris fell, exposing their chest area which aroused the men who
might be looking at them, says Niaz.
As co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim
Mahila Andolan (Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, BMMA), Niaz refused to accept
the ban. The BMMA filed a petition in the courts demanding the ban be lifted and
pointing out that even saints were born from wombs. Three years later, this
bitter legal battle is reaching an end, with the Mumbai high court expected to
announce a verdict on 18 January. If the judges rule that the ban must be
lifted, it will set a precedent for others fighting discrimination against women
in places of worship. In India, it is only in churches where men and women enjoy
equal rights of worship.
Temples and mosques practice discrimination routinely.
In November, a Hindu temple in Maharashtra suspended seven security guards after
a female devotee stepped on a platform to worship an idol. Women are barred from
the platform and temple priests performed a “purification” ceremony to rid it of
” the woman had caused.
Young women across India launched a Happy
To Bleed campaign on Facebook to protest against the sexism of the temple
authorities. The campaign urged women to hold placards saying “Happy to Bleed
take a picture of themselves, and upload it to their Facebook profile.
Gupta, who created a comic book and website called “Menstrupedia” to educate
young women and portray menstruation positively, posted: “Mr. Prayar
Gopalakrishnan and everyone who thinks women are impure during their periods,
don’t forget it’s the same ‘impurity’ you survived on for nine months inside
your mother’s womb”.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has introduced a scheme for the
promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19
years in rural areas. The scheme was initially implemented in 2011 in 107
selected districts in 17 States wherein a pack of six sanitary napkins called
” was provided to rural adolescent girls for Rs.6. From 2014 onwards,
funds are now being provided to States/UTs under the National Health Mission for
decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision to rural
adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs 6 for a pack of 6 napkins. The ASHA
will continue to be responsible for the distribution, receiving an incentive of
Rs 1 per pack sold and a free pack of napkins every month for her personal use.
She will convene monthly meetings at the Aanganwadi Centres or other such
platforms for adolescent girls to focus on the issue of menstrual hygiene and
also serve as a platform to discuss other relevant SRH issues. A range of IEC
material has been developed around MHS, using a 360-degree approach to create
awareness among adolescent girls about safe & hygienic menstrual health
practices which includes audio, video, and reading materials for adolescent
girls and job-aids for ASHAs and other field level functionaries for
communicating with adolescent girlsiv .
There is a need for more substantive laws that will highlight such taboos and
need for more campaigns that help school girls and also they know their rights
and actual truth regardless of religion and culture which is redundant which
constitution itself not guarantee. according to me such conservative thinking of
following such taboos is only because of not providing proper education which
not only affects themselves but also transfers this to the younger generation.
restricting women to enter a religious place also harness individual's rights to
live their life with dignity. A woman menstruates for about 7 years in their
whole life and to deny them the right to personal hygiene seems like a crime
that goes unpunished on a daily.
- Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, 2001
- kumar, Sabarimala Temple Issue – Customs Vs Constitution21, 2019
- Dhillon, Will India open its temples and mosques to menstruating women?,
- National Health Mission, 2020