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Period Feast: Upholding the dignity of women

Sachhi Saheli, a Delhi based NGO, organised a grand feast called 'Period-feast' at Central Park Mayur Vihar on February 23. The event was organised in response to the recent incident of Gujarat, where college

students in a hostel, were made to strip to prove that they weren't menstruating so that could enter the kitchen and temple premises in their college.

These young women are undergraduate students at Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute in Bhuj, Gujarat. The incident was caused by the trust's conservative rules and restrictions that prohibit the entry of all menstruating women inside kitchens and other holy places.

A controversial statement has been made by a priest claiming that women who are cooking during menstruation will be reborn as bitch.

More than 300 people from all walks of life, including Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia; Theater-Director Arvind Gaur; renowned poet, writer and feminist activist Kamala Bhasin; Vidhi Gupta Anand, Judge, Metropolitan Magistrate all participated in this MahaBhoj to honour women.

While speaking at the event, Manish Sisodia said, "In today's scientific day and age, there is nothing pure/impure about menstruation, it is a natural biological process that should be taken as it is."

The period feast/ Mahawari Mahabhoj was hosted by Dr Surbhi Singh and her team at NGO Sachhi Saheli, wherein the food was prepared and served by 28 menstruating women. These menstruating women were the highlight of the entire event because they were deliberately chosen to oppose Swami's controversial statement and shown as an example for the society to end their discrimination against women from cooking and entering the kitchen during periods.

Ranjana, one of the menstruating women who participated in the event said, "All these restrictions do not hold any importance today, if we, the women of the house do not cook then who will feed our families, we just need to be hygienic."

All those present at the feast were very appreciative of this unique way of protesting and enjoyed the feast to the fullest. They also signed a pledge to stand in solidarity with Sachhi Saheli in rejecting the myth that women are impure and impious during menstruation.

On this occasion Arvind Gaur said, "It is very important to openly speak on these matters because menstruation is a natural biological process." He also said that he is inspired by people like Kamla Bhasin, Dr Surbhi Singh and today's youth who are making an effort to bring about a change.

While addressing the event Kamla Bhasin said, "I condemn the actions and thoughts of people who curse and stigmatise the same blood that gave them life. This 'Period Feast' is a bold and appropriate retort for the misogynistic comments of Swamis."

Asmita theatre group presented a very powerful play on menstruation called 'Wo din'. The director- Arvind Gaur himself acted in it.

In the end, Dr Surabhi said, "The gathering of men and women in such a large number is evidence that people are not afraid of being reborn as animals and such incidents and making statements against honour and dignity of women will no longer be tolerated.

"Sachhi Saheli will continue to raise its voice against such misconceptions, debate myths and break the silence on menstruation," she added.

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