From remarks about machines to check whether she’s menstruating or not, to threats about being killed if she opened her mouth just a bit too much, she has faced it all. Nikita Azad our Campus Celebrity from Punjabi University raised her voice against menstrual taboos, and the issue spread from one temple in Kerala to the whole nation, which widely supported her in the campaign. Our correspondent Varsha Srivastava took an interview of this girl who is “happy to bleed”.
Read and be motivated:
Varsha (Aapka Times): The immediate reason for your campaign was the statement of Devaswom chief of Sabrimala temple, Kerala who gave a sexist statement about purity checking machines for women. What impact do you think your campaign had on him?
Nikita: Well, as far as I think, this campaign came completely out of context for him. He was shocked at the unexpected action. He must not have thought that a casual comment for him would ignite such a reaction from me or everyone.
Varsha: Any long term plans of extending this campaign beyond social media?
Nikita: Yes, December was the month of social campaigns. Now in January, I’ll be taking this campaign beyond social media.
Varsha: Did you expect such a great response at first? Did you face any criticism for this ?
Nikita: Oh yes, absolutely. I had to face derogatory remarks and threats from rather shallow people of the society. I was called names like “prostitute”, “over educated”. Some said that such girls should be fucked. I was even threatened to be killed.
But then there was a large part of the society that supported me in this and made this campaign successful. Honestly, the response and the support was unexpected.
Varsha: In Delhi, such campaigns against menstrual taboos have taken place in the past too. Was it difficult to bring support from Punjab or from your own university i.e. Punjabi University?
Nikita: Oh, no, it was not at all difficult. The psyche of the state or Punjab University is very secular. It is not based on discrimination. The support came with least resistance. I easily managed to gain their support.
Varsha: Is your father aware of this “Smash Patriarchy” initiative by you? How was the response of your parents?
Nikita: Yes (laughs). He knows all about the initiative.He doesn’t necessary always believe that I’m right, but it’s his love for me that makes him support me in all my endeavours.
Varsha: Anything that you want to say to our readers?
Nikita: There are menstrual taboos spread all over. Menstruation is considered illegal across religions and many regions. We should all work together to remove such taboos from the society. Associations for women, like NCW should work for it.
Secondly, women health is related to menstruation, but it is not talked about in public. There is no place to talk about it. I believe government should create space for people to talk about it and be aware. After all, it’s about health of women.
The campaign that started with one open letter to the temple chief on a youth-based website, spread out all over social media like wild fire. And it is not going to end here. Girls and boys, let us all fight to remove taboos that are damaging the society.
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