In Field Notes on 5 April 2017 at 10:41 am
One form of untouchability that we must work to eradicate is menstrual untouchability. Unique to women, this oppression is based on the idea that a woman’s body is defective and dirty, and can pollute people and spaces if not kept in check. A recent incident in a school in Uttar Pradesh highlights the need to fight the notion that menstruation is a cause for shame or punishment. The principal of Kasturba Gandhi Residential School in Digri village made 70 girls strip and be searched for menstrual blood. Following complaints by students and parents, the principal was fired. Parents and teachers of girls should help them to manage periods comfortably and to value the vitality in their bodies, including their menstrual blood, which makes it possible for a woman to nourish new life.
It is good that the community in Muzzafarnagar took decisive action against this outrage; yet menstrual untouchability persists in stark and subtle ways, not only in far flung villages but also among the urban educated. In the march to consign menstrual taboo to the dustbin of history, one important step is to make periods more comfortable.
In What on 22 March 2017 at 8:00 pm
A couple of years ago, my friend Nirmala, who lives in a village in Srikakulam district decided to try the menstrual cup. Recently I got a chance to chat with her about it. She was quite happy with it – one of her first comments was that it really saved water. They get their water from a pump – fortunately the pump is in their own front yard, but still, every bucket saved helps. All the more so for women who collect water from a distance, especially in times of drought.
Today being World Water Day, here is a short excerpt from our conversation about the menstrual cup. Stay tuned for the longer clip.
In Recipes on 3 February 2017 at 8:00 pm
In between sessions at the Human Rights in Childbirth conference a young woman approached me and said, “Are you Amma?” Not quite believing my ears I looked startled. “From Ask Amma?” she continued. Turns out, she learned to make ragi porridge right here on Ask Amma and her daughter enjoys it to this day. What music to my heart!
When it comes to ragi, our enthusiasm knows no bounds!