Delhi hosts modern-age kanya-pujan

On the auspicious occasion of Ashtami, Delhi-based NGO Sachhi Saheli organised a unique style kanya-pujan called 'Navyug ka KanyaPoojan'in their office in Mayur Vihar, Delhi.

Typically, Kanya-poojan or Kanjak is a ritual where 9 young girls are revered and worshipped in Hindu households as they are thought to be the manifestations of goddess and customarily young girls who are of a non-menstruating age are only included in this ritual.

Sachhi Saheli that has been working for 4 years to dismantle stigma around the natural process of menstruation, organised this unique kanyapujan to especially refute the notion that only non-menstruating girls must be included in the kanyapujan ritual and to establish that menstruation is unholy or impure. The organisation invited approximately 50 girls of both menstruating and non-menstruating age, who were worshipped and offered delicacies to eat as per the usual ritual of kanyapujan.

While keeping strict social distancing measures in place, the ritual was carried out where girls were seen enjoying and reciting slogans such as 'naari ka har roop mein samman hai kyuki devi toh sab me virajmaan hai" (A women must be revered in every form and age as she is the manifestation of goddess.

Dr Surbhi Singh, President, Sachhi Saheli, explained and said, "So that, upon menarche a girl is not left feeling humiliated and ashamed of herself and the natural changes taking place in her body, it is essential to put an end to such exclusionary customs and practices especially those that characterise menstruation as unholy or impure-something to be maintained distance from." She further commented, "How is it that we worship and seek blessings from the devi (goddess) who herself is a fertile menstruating woman, but conveniently exclude menstruating girls and women outside the purview of respect and reverence? The Navyug ka kanyapujan is one such beginning where the girl child is revered unconditionally!"

Present at the event were Rashmi Singh, Director, WCD; Ranjana Prasad, Member, DCPCR and Dr Arun Gupta, President, Delhi Medical Association.

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