India has an intense nationalism, is a greatest country on earth! India is multi cultural, pluralistic Nation. She has to arrive in economic, agriculture, social, educational, health and hygiene next to China. But, in reality corruption, religious chauvinism, pseudo politics, ignored minorities, industries employing not even one percent of the population is disturbing. Amity India strives to expose India’s anti secularist force , being detrimental to India’s progress and to the social justice.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Why is it the ‘dirty’ word?
The Hindu,Metro Plus (Chennai) Friday, February 8, 2013
BUSTING MYTHS: Destigmatising a biological process.
‘Madhavidai’ thoughtfully essays the uneasy attitudes toward menstruation
that are still prevalent in our culture.
A woman bleeds every month, it’s her own blood. Let us understand
a woman’s body. Let us understand the uterus -- the organ which nurtures lives,
creates a child from a single cell. How can it be defilement? “Celebrate menses
like mother’s milk,” declares Geeta Ilangovan, the director of a 40-minute,
self-explanatory documentary titled Madhavidai, or Menses. The
message is simple and so is the story line. But filming it was a challenge.
The all-woman crew shared their own experiences with young girls
and new mothers, working women and physically challenged women in order to
convince them how important it was to collectively educate both men and women
about what is largely perceived as a “ladies’ matter”.
The interviewees shed their inhibitions to talk on camera about
the fundamental and biological experience that occurred in their lives and
occurs in every woman’s life. Some of them told their stories with candour and
humour that has been poignantly captured – from the emotions of a 14-year-old
student to the feelings of a 50-year-old lady about womanhood, the family
dynamics and society’s complicated attitude toward menstruation.
Young school girls point out neither their mothers nor their
teachers ever told them anything about puberty or what they were supposed to
do. “We are only restricted from applying kumkum, offering puja, entering the
kitchen,” says Banupriya. “We are not allowed during festivals and don’t read
the namaz,” says Anees Fatima. None of them looks at it as a happy experience.
“There is always some uneasiness, irritation…some kind of guilt,” says another
student of Chennai Corporation School.
“The guilt arises due to the misconception about genitals,” says
Dr. Shantha Margaret from Dindigul. Laws don’t keep women from worshipping or
attending social and religious gatherings, she points out. It is the people who
perpetuate such beliefs.
Geeta wonders why a packet of sanitary napkins is first wrapped
in a newspaper and then handed over the counter in a black plastic cover. Such
meaningless acts keep alive the myths about “the curse”.
For the physically challenged, the hazards arise from
inaccessible and unclean toilets. For a travelling woman or a professional
visiting a public institution, water shortage and inadequate disposal facility
are major setbacks. Doctors have frequently warned that poor hygiene can lead
to pelvic and urinary tract infections.
Ritamma David, who runs a centre for autistic girls, takes the
debate to another level. “Periods is a hard experience for intellectually
challenged children,” she says. If the mother or any other person taking care
of special individuals do not themselves understand the natural process their
own bodies undergo, how will they help others? As a result, she says, many such
women have their uterus removed.
The well-edited film shows the pain young girls experience trying
to negotiate their bodies and their culture. Since the subject is not broached
in homes, they learn to hide themselves during those days and remove the
evidence. Interspersed are educational clippings about the female reproductive
Says Geeta , “Women watching this film will discover their
connectedness to others. Mothers are provided with a choice they may not have
realized they had about how to aid their daughters in this important and often
neglected life transition.” By shying away from explaining a natural body
process and refusing to shift from taboo to acceptance, they only continue to
embarrass the females and confuse the males.
Menses is a film by women for men that tries to dispel the
myths and misconceptions, superstitions and stigma attached to menstruation.
The crew travelled through villages across the State to film the various
practices that women follow during their periods. With gut-wrenching shots of
unbelievably dirty toilets and uncleared piles of used sanitary napkins, the
documentary urges the need to spread awareness regarding issues connected with
menses. It calls for drastic change in policies on women’s health and for male
decision makers to play a significant role in providing necessary
Though the film was researched over two years, it was shot in ten
days last April. Many of the shots happened spontaneously. When Geeta was
travelling with her crew to a village called Koovalapuram near T.Kallupatti,
they saw four young girls sitting by the roadside. “We chatted them up and they
told us about a “muttuveedu”, the hut where a woman is kept during those five
days of the month. The state of the muttuveedu was appalling, with no light,
water or toilet,” says Geeta. Segregation of women has different patterns and
Muttuveedu is continuation of one such misconception.
There is a need to ignite a debate on this subject. Women do not
purposefully pollute the environment. They need to lead a healthy life and
their basic needs have to be understood and taken care of. The film succeeds.
The people should succeed?