Twenty five million girls are forced to leave school when they hit puberty because they cannot afford buying sanitary pads and many more fall victim to the embarrassment if they still continue with education . I knew for a fact that many rural and peri-urban primary schools lacked proper toilets for girls but it is difficult for me to accept that unintentionally “education and schooling” might have become a punishment and for what reason? Really , are we the ones who are educated ? Rhetoric best left for the readers to think about.
I might sound more like somebody who is complaining as sadly this thought has really disturbed me for a while now. I never really know how helpful the surveys, datas and numbers are but one thing it does justice is with every greater digit it adds to its reports it cries out to the educated class . Education is not about mere salaries for sure and it is definitely not only about your aspirations within a comfortable space of your well chosen community. Education means a responsibility , a responsibility to be aware enough to take up issues, a responsibility to be socially normal and not giggle on things that have been ignored to its very core, a responsibility to give back what is necessary for the marginalized and underprivileged and a responsibility not to shy away from discussing menstrual hygiene of the little minds who will one day thrive for a greater good.
Menstrual hygiene might be one of the many topics we safely avoid to discuss but to all my readers, there is a long list of such fault lines which in all probability add up to our being so abnormal and insensitive towards “girls” in general . Why is there an issue in considering a girl normal? Let us all accept the fact that it has by all means crept in our society to look at the opposite gender in a certain way. Feminists might fight all through ages for equal rights but they fail to look at the fundamental problem of alienation. Alienation in families, among friends, in work space and while we move around in the streets or malls. I use alienation because by default women are not seen humanely by the dominants. Even today a boy finds it difficult to discuss a day to day issue with a fellow mate, essentially a girl. And can we come to the conclusion that, yes, it has resulted in the concept of us and them which finally converts into actions like RAPE, HARASSMENT, ACID ATTACKS and what not. Why does this happen? well what I think is somewhere down the line the dominants have failed to form a platform for any kind of normal social interaction. I can claim this with a thump that none in our society has ever tried to really understand the perspective of the other side and mind you understanding sentiments is as important as any other human ethic is concerned. I hate to use the word ‘tolerant’ because I believe that difference is not something we need to accept it has come by nature and idealistically knowing a girl perspective can only help us celebrate it with more passion. And when this is achieved I don’t think “wisemen” would have to enforce ‘respect women’ upon us because more than respect here the priority is to understand.
Little things explain the whole tragedy be it someone being furious if a girl refuses to entertain him or even the concept of ‘abey ladki k peeche kya bhaagta rehta hai’ which comes with some complimentary sour ego that needs to be fed from time to time. Giving my very own example, I have hardly discussed any of such issues with my father because naturally it has become a norm to keep certain things silent. We (my family) might be liberals in our claim but I think I have suffered the same fate of abnormality and alienation when I went out into the world. Thankfully my all inclusive education(which is of course something my father preferred) has somewhat helped me shape my conscience. Till date I cannot discuss about any of my girl friends the way I do about my guy friends(which is probably applicable to many in my circle). A very strong reason for this abnormality is we fail from the starting line itself, and that is our family and home and strikingly people who have siblings also mostly stand guilty of this. Viewing the opposite sex in the same way we view our own is a charity that most definitely should begin at home.
Thousands of candle marches and dozens of verdicts have been witnessed and expecting many more to come but why is that to every ones horror hardly anything is changing? I think until the day our education gives us the strength to address the menstrual hygiene as equally as any other issue and our reasons empower us to feel the sufferings without the notion of ‘them’ we do not have the right to call ourselves a progressive society! If shehnaz can call herself a free individual without being reminded that she is a muslim and a woman on top of that; then we might hail ourselves as educated because knowledge is exchange of ideas. But, when will we understand?