Cyclone Gaja: Menstruating 'Impure' 12-Yr-Old Forced To Sleep In Barn, Dies
Just days before cyclonic storm Gaja battered parts of coastal Tamil Nadu, a 12-year-old girl from the state’s Thanjavur district died after a coconut tree fell on a thatched barn where she was forced to stay as she was menstruating. Reportedly, the incident occurred on November 12.
Forced to stay outside
Despite multiple warnings from the meteorological departments and the authorities to stay inside in order to ensure safety, the Class VII girl was sent to a hut to spend a few days after attaining puberty. As a result of strong winds, a nearby coconut tree fell on 12-Year-Old S Vijaya, killing her almost instantly, reported The New Indian Express.
The girl’s mother who was sleeping with her sustained injuries and has been admitted to the Pattukottai government hospital reported The News Minute.
Vijaya was a resident of Anaikkadu village, and as per custom, she was to asked to spend 16 days in isolation on attaining puberty, informed her relatives. Pattukottai DSP Ganesamoorthy informed that while customs vary from community to community, such archaic practices are prevalent in that part of the state.
“Custom” followed in some parts of the state
He informed that girls are asked to step inside the house only after the completion of certain rituals. Reportedly, the girl was even considered to be “impure” and the men of the house were barred from meeting her. Moreover, the hut where Vijaya was made to sleep was a barn while cows and goats were tied outside.
Kavya Menon, Head for Project safe active periods, AWARE India told The News Minute that Gaja cannot be solely blamed for the death of the girl and added that her death is because of societal violence against women.
The Logical Indian Take
The custom of a girl being kept in isolation, once she’s of age, is not unheard of. Such derogatory, as well as discriminatory customs, are practised in different parts of India. However, in the name of “custom,” young girls are left alone which adds to their vulnerability, and in some extreme cases, result in deaths.
Traditions are a human construct which often have no scientific basis and they even lose their practical relevance with time. They represent an invaluable part of our culture, but as India has started to walk in the footsteps of modernity, shouldn’t such practices be done away with? The Logical Indian condemns such derogatory practices.