- Facebook Messenger
In a world where everything about your personal life and experiences is documented on social media voluntarily, the last thing you want is someone invading the little bit of privacy you do have. After all, it is a fundamental right as per the Constitution of India.
For those of you who read the morning paper today, you must have read about the youngsters from Kanjarbhat community protesting against the ‘virginity test’ ritual, which for a lack of better word, is humiliating and regressive.
StoryPick got in touch with Vivek Tamaichikar, a Master’s in Regulatory Governance student from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) who is leading this movement.
Vivek is currently writing his dissertation on women empowerment and should be done with his education by February. His marriage will be held during May 2018.
As was told to us by Vivek, the virginity test ritual is to check whether the bride is a virgin or not. In the name of this ritual, the groom is given a white bedsheet to use while having sex with his just-married wife on the wedding night.
The relatives of the couple wait outside the room until the act is done. The women then check the bedsheet for bloodstains, to confirm whether the girl was a virgin or not.
When the daily Panchayat is hosted the next morning, the groom is asked “Tera maal kaisa tha?”
If the girl fails to bleed, she is accused of having slept with another man in her past. She is harassed by the community and the marriage is not approved either.
Being a member of the Kanjarbhat community, he is obligated to undergo this ritual on his wedding night as well. As an educated youth of 21st century, he finds this ritual humiliating and an invasion of his, as well as his to-be wife’s privacy. He also said,
“Right to Privacy is a fundamental right. So is Right to Dignity, as per Article 21 of the Constitution. I would not want my wife to be humiliated like this. We are both Aged 21 above and We Are compeTent EnoUgh to decide these things.”
He further added that this ritual is mandatory only for the girls belonging to the same community, that is the Kanjarbhat community. If the marriage is inter-caste, i.e. with a woman outside of their community, they do not demand these rituals.
What was more shocking was that the bride’s family abide by this ritual. They want to prove that their daughter is “pure”.
A bride who passes this “virginity” test is boasted of in the society as someone who made her dad proud. In other words, “baap ka sehra laal karna”. And you won’t be surprised to know that no such ‘ritual’ or ‘test’ exists to check for the groom’s virginity certificate.
To fight for his fundamental rights and to save his fiancée’s modesty and dignity, Vivek has been fighting with his and his fiancée’s family to not undergo this practice. He faced a lot of resistance from both sides. He said,
“Social good is a by-product of my struggle. But I am fighting for my rights, for my wife’s dignity. I do not want her to undergo this humiliating Ritual.”
He told us that not a single person from their community has been able to bypass this test. In fact, Krishna and Aruna Indrekar, a couple from the same community who got married in 1996, were outcasted because they refused to oblige to the ritual.
When like-minded people heard about Vivek’s fight, many of the youth came forward in support. Siddhant Indrekar is one such person. They made a WhatsApp group called “Stop the V-Ritual”, wherein V stands for virginity. The group consists of 40 members as of now, including Krishna and Aruna Indrekar too. They held a meeting to discuss further course of action on December 3rd. Another meeting is in the talks and will be held soon in Pune.
I don’t understand the need to put any woman or man through a test so intimate and personal. We’re fighting evil customs like child marriage and dowry, and here were are, putting women to test for purity. Have we not progressed at all?
Cover Image Courtesy: AGAP
- Facebook Messenger