India is a country for cows, men, and superstitions but it ain’t no place for women. We, as a nation, can never let our girls live freely.
We attach so much stigma to their day to day, normal activities as if they are some different species altogether, meant to be subjugated to restrictions and violence.
And at the top of this pile of stigma, sits a girl’s virginity. A virgin girl is deemed to be a holy goddess. Whereas a girl who has lost her virginity is meant to rot in hell.
Well, this seems to be the thinking of our society and this is what is being practiced in the state of Maharashtra as well.
TRADITION THAT HOLDS UP HONOUR. NOT
These virginity tests of Maharashtra are being carried out in the Pimpri Chinchwad district to test whether the hymen of a woman is intact or not.
This century-old tradition is practiced mostly by the Kanjarbhat community of Maharashtra. Each girl belonging to the community has to undergo this extremely humiliating practice on the first night of her marriage.
A white sheet is placed on the couple’s bed and it is inspected the next morning. A blood-stained sheet is held as proof of the girl’s virginity. But if the sheet is unstained, then the girl is branded as impure.
And with this branding, begins the vicious cycle of continuous torture on the poor girl.
PANCHAYAT OF PATRIARCHY
“Maal Khota Aahe”
This is how male chauvinist members of the caste panchayat refer to the girl whose bedsheet has no stains.
And then the caste panchayat members resort to gruesome methods which not only tortures the poor soul but also feeds their inflated male egos.
In a bid to punish the girl they brand her body parts, tie her to a tree and beat her till she is unconscious, or burn her hands and legs.
This mad quest for Virginity of the Kanjarbhat community has forced many parents to marry off their daughters when they are in their teenage years only. It is very common here for girls as young as 15 years old being married to 40-year-old men.
Even if a complaint is registered with the police, they term it as a community or social issue and refuse to take any action.
HOPE FOR CHANGE?
Some educated youngsters from this community are coming together in the recent times to challenge this tradition.
They have been taking help of social media, forming WhatsApp groups to remain in touch with the girls being subjected to the virginity tests in Maharashtra.
But the protectors of patriarchy are in no mood to accept any challenge to their rudimentary traditions.
The families of these youngsters are facing a social boycott from the community. The caste panchayat members are hell-bent on destroying voices against their virginity tests.
But who will explain to those buffoons that a ruptured hymen (which causes the bloody discharge) does not mean that virginity is intact? A woman can have sex but still, her hymen may never break.
On the contrary, a mere physical exertion can lead to a rupture in the hymen, as in case of sports.
CRIME TO BE A WOMAN?
What kind of society we live in, that places its pseudo ‘pride and honor’ in a woman’s vagina?
The pathetic and chauvinist attitude of caste panchayat is what is driving young girls towards a life full of despair and gloom.
Who gives them the right to carry out this virginity test? Till when will they continue to torment women just to boost their ego?
There exists a wall of silence against the violence committed against women. And whenever a woman takes a stand and calls out this violence, a crack appears on this wall.
But for now, this wall of violence against women of Kanjarbhat community is only getting stronger day after day.
We sincerely hope that the authorities take note of these voices and put an end to this barbaric practice.
Image credits- Google