Pithauragarh, Uttar Pradesh: In this period of 21st century, where human civilization has put it's flag in the moon and mars. At the same time there are society is still in the medieval mindset in India. Whether it is highly literate state of the country Kerla or hilly state of Uttarakhand. In spite of Supreem Court's order, female are not allowed in Sabrimala Temple, in the light of menstruation, in Kerala. In the same way, adjacent to the international Nepal boarder of Pithauragarh, people are clinging to superstition so that girls are not allowed to go to school during periods. As a result, education of girls students is being badly affected. Although the district administration is ruling out such kind of things and claiming of advance them by awareness.
We are talking about the Sel village of district Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, where girls are forced to leave school, when they are in menstruation. In fact, for five to seven days every month girls were stop from going to school in villages, because there is a temple on the way to school. It is believed that in the menstruation, if the girls pass through it then the temple will be polluted. In such a situation, girls in the area facing undue loss of study, due to people's orthodox thinking.
This issue came into the discussion when a social organisation named "Uttarakhand Mahila Manch" (UMM) took stock of the area, during their "Jouljibi to Pancheshwar Padyatra" in the month of previous October. Mrs Uma Bhatt, an activist and member of UMM, disclosed the matter, that the girls studying in the Sel Government Inter college of the area were forced to leave school for 5 days every month because they were in menstruation. Because there was a temple of Chamu Deity in the way of the collage.
Uma Bhatt, a retired professor of the University of Kumoun too, says it had come out in discussion with the girls in some villages , during their "Padyatra" that they don't go to the school when they are menstruating, as a temple is located there, in the way to school. She said that girls, studying in Sel inter college, told us that they are not allowed to attend college 5 to 7 days, while periods. It means girls are bound to bunk their classes or school 60 to 80 days every year, professor Uma added.
It is noticeable that Sel village falls in Pithauragarh Tehsil and approx 45 kilometre away from the district Head Quarter. 146 students comprising 72 girls, of half of a dozen surrounding villages, are studying in the government intermediate college, located in the Indo-Nepal border villages of Munakot development block area, in the district of Pithoragarh. Where no other alternative for education in this remote area, as there is no availability of any private schools. There are various 7 temples in the way of the collage, including Chamu Deity, not only Uttarakhand's residents but also Nepali people have deep religious faith in that.
It is remarkable that the Kali river byfercates Uttarakhand and Nepal. People in large numbers had migrated from Nepal to Pancheshwar Velly in the district of Pithauragarh, generations ago.
HariPriya, a student of Sel says that she doesn't go college, when she is menstruating, causes loss of her study every month. She surprises that a slogan "beti padhao beti bachao" has been given but our society is still under the influence of Orthodox thinking.
Janki Saun, one another girl student expressed the same thing and regrets that menstruations, is still a curse for the girls. She accepted that doesn't go college during periods as a temple located on the way.
When the issue of girl's leaving school, while they are menstruating, a team to enquire was setup by the Chief Development Offer (CDO) of Pithauragarh . The four members team was headed by Santosh Pandey, Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and CEO, BDO, DPO-ICDS, members of Nirbhaya Cell etc. were included. The team had discussion and motivated villagers to save daughters and advance them.
Santosh Pandey, (SDM) of Pithauragadh, says that an enquiry was set up by the CDO of the district, after the issue raised of girl's leaving school during periods, by a NGO. In order to it, I had visited the concerned village along with the members of the team. He said that allegations of not allowing girls during their periods time, were not confirmed in the meeting, held with the local residents. But we had organized a counciling for the purpose of awareness precautionary, SDM added. Denying of girl's leaving school, he admits that girls had raised the issue of old beliefs and their problems of sanitary pad's shortage, directed for.
C P Joshi, the acting principal in Sel inter college says, The parents told the officials that the girl students are not stopped from going to school. It may be that there has been such a tradition in the past, but at present it is no longer at all. During this time the team counseling the parents, the students said that it is a good thing that the rural conservatives are breaking the traditions, he added. Although the principal accepted indirectly by saying that a alternative path has been made now, temple doesn't falls in that, will not arise such kind of problem in future.
Let us know that during the menstruation period in many places women and girls are still feeling untouchable. The Supreme Court had recently ruled against the closure of women's entry years of 10 to 50 years of women in Sabarimala temple in Kerala, a highly litrated state of India. However, despite the court decision, the regional people have not been allowed women to enter the temple freely. Even violence and conflict took place while females tried to enter in Sabrimala. But It is remarkable that things are not in the same manner openly as Kerala, but of course existing as a undeclared rules and exchanging generation to generation silently in the remote areas, in the state of Uttarakhand too.
Uma Bhatt, an activist and member of UMM, claimed that she was stoped to enter in a very famous temple, during "Uttarkashi to Ararot Yatra", in 2014. While pointing out the need of awareness, she demands a fare survey of the situation of Uttarakhand too, in the light of Sabrimala Issue.
Vandana Singh, (CDO) of Pithauragarh, says that i had set up a four members enquiry team headed by SDM, when the issue came in to my noitce. The committee had visited Sel and held a meeting with girls and villagers. On behalf of the report of said committee I can say that girls are not being stopped, when they are menstruating. She said that a resolution was passed to punish themselves the offender of not allowing to school their girls during periods, by the "GramSabha" too. Vandana says that I had ordered the official of concerned department to visit every month there and report me. But as a precautions, I am still keeping watch and reviewing the situation personally, CDO added.
Garima Mahara Dasauni, a former teacher and state spokes person says, having periods is our strength not weekness. it's rather a blessing of nature and almighty to give birth and be a creator. She said these types of deep-rooted rituals cannot be washed away, through terror of law or police, but it requires a total change of Mind set, situation of Sabrimala witness it. People should be made aware that periods are more connected to hygiene than to religion. It would take several workshops talk shows short documentaries and a direct conversation with the public to make them understand that at the time when the girls are reaching the moon these kinds of old beliefs will prove to be hurdle for the women and would demoralize them, lower their confidence level and deprive them of their fundamental right, Garima added.
Vijay Vardhan Upreti, a Pithauragadh based journalist and who visited the village too, says superstition in the name of rituals has become undeclared religious rules under the pressure of orthodox religious thinking. Of course, Forcing or stopping girls to leave school, when they are in menstruation, withnes it. In fact, this is not the mere problem of the Sel village, but also in entire Pancheshwar Velly, along with other remote hilly area of the state too, situation is same, in the lack of awareness. Although thing are not that much worst, since awareness is increasing, being better in the urban areas, hence more need to increase the awareness, Vijay Vardhan added.
Now a days, some good changes have also arrived in the society as the girls are breaking the old beliefs by flaming pyre, which was prohibited in the past. But it is regretted paradox that they are not being allowed either to go school or to enter in temples, due to menstruation.