KATHMANDU, July 30: Last year I went to my village on Dashain. Every thing felt great in the beginning as I was with my family members after five years. I was so excited.
In the course of a get-together, unfortunately, I went to my neighbor’s home. There I saw Laxmi in a shed. She looked pale and so weak that it seemed she didn’t even have the strength to pick up a needle.
I asked my cousin why she was there. He said she had been living in the shed since the past nine days because it was her first menstrual cycle. He said that normally girls are kept in isolation for more than 12 days. They way he explained suggested that she was being kept there forcefully.
Out of curiosity, I glanced at her shelter. It was messy with fungi and dust. The stench was unbearable. The practice being followed in my village disheartened me, and since then I don’t feel as excited toward the Dashain as I did in the past.
Why is such a practice being followed mostly in mid-western and far-western districts and not in the eastern parts of Nepal? Even if they have to do it, why do they put their females in a shed instead of a separate room in the house?
The possible factors behind this may be: no transformational sense of education, poor economic background, superstition, gender discrimination, conservative thoughts, no transportation, no awareness program from the so-called health post and poor government’s monitoring policy as a whole.
Even the people having good education look as if they don’t want to change their ways of following antiquated rituals. When they try to do something, they are humiliated by a large number of illiterate people.
The government doesn’t seem to care either. It has done almost nothing to uplift their educational, economical and cultural background. Appointed government officers haven’t been able to accomplish their tasks.
In conclusion, to overcome such a bad and inhuman practice, let us all, who represent different sectors, join our hands. Can we begin the effort right from today?
The writer is a student of Master’s in Education at Kathmandu University.