Navratri and Durga Puja are the celebration of the goddess. But what a lot of religious zealots fail to realise is that you cannot celebrate one aspect of the goddess while completely insulting the other. Like when a Mumbai-based artist attempted to celebrate menstruation with a Durga Puja themed art, and was trolled for it.
In another incident of blind religious dogma getting in the way of basic humanity, a woman in Pune was prohibited from participating in Navratri dandiya celebrations. Why? Because she had refused to undergo the mandatory virginity test before her marriage.
The woman, Aishwarya Tamaichikar belongs to the Kanjarbhat community, which is notorious for making brides undergo a virginity test on their wedding night as a test of purity.
According to a report by Indian Express, the Kanjarbhat community has a wedding ritual in which the marital bed is made up with a white cloth. The bride and the groom, right after the wedding have to consummate the marriage on it. The caste council then checks if the bride has bled or not, thereby signifying her purity and character.
If the bride does not bleed, then she is assumed to have engaged in premarital sex, deemed impure and the marriage can be annulled. Such brides are also tortured, asked who they slept with, and ostracised by the community.
Now, the woman has filed a police complaint against the members of her community for stopping her from participating in the festivities.
Filed a police complaint in Pimpri-Chinchawad after members of my community didn't allow me to participate in Navratri dandiya.I was told that I had brought a bad name to Kanjarbhat community for opposing the virginity test which is common in our community:Aishwarya Tamaichikar pic.twitter.com/vDGPfZ8NqG
— ANI (@ANI) October 17, 2018
The police at the Pimpri-Chinchwad police station have registered a case under the Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016.
The DCP told the media,
“She had complained that because she had opposed virginity test prevalent in Kanjarbhat community she was not allowed to take part in Dandiya celebrations. An FIR has been registered, an investigation will be conducted into the incident.”
The woman has complete support of her husband, who has called the boycott ‘unconsitutional’.
He told the media,
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“We protested against ritual of virginity test which is still prevalent in Kanjarbhat community. Due to this, my wife was boycotted from taking part in cultural programs in by the community. This is unconstitutional.”
It is still unclear what woman’s virginity has to do with her character or her marriage. There has been scientific evidence to prove that there are many things, other than intercourse, that might cause a woman’s hymen to break. And therefore, it cannot serve as a reliable proof of her virginity.
And let’s not even get starting on the oppressive patriarchal notions that use the name of religion to squash female sexuality. No woman should have to undergo such an evasive ritual in the name of religion.
The irony that people boycott a woman during the celebration of female divinity is not missed.