Earlier this year, Nepal passed a law criminalising the practice of banishing women to huts during their periods — the ancient tradition of Chhaupadi. Though the practice was banned by the supreme court in 2005, it remained prevalent in remote west — leading to the deaths of at least two teenage girls this year; a 19-year-old in Dailekh and a 15-year-old in Achham. The former died from a snake bite as she was sleeping in a shed; while latter suffocated in a poorly ventilated hut.
Yes, it is 2017!
While many might think that it’s only the remote parts of the nation that are stuck with the menstrual taboos; the reality is, even the cities suffer from them in some forms.
Avas Karmacharya and Inline Creation Records have come up with a new web series recently. The series called ‘Nishabda’ is a poetry series that sees Avas recite his poems. In the latest episode, he recites his poem titled ‘Baa Ma Para Sare Re’ — which questions about the notion of ‘impurity’ attached with the natural female body process of menstruation.
“Baa ma para sare re, aama le bhanin ma para sare re,
Didi le bhanin ma para sare re,
Kaaki, Fupu, Maiju, Bhaujule bhanin ma para sare re,
Tole-tole le bhandaichha, harek galli le sundai chha,
Ma para sare re,
Timi matra maun chhau aaja samma baa,
Tesaile timilai sunaudai chhu,
Timri chhori timro najikai basera pani para sari re.”
The character in his poem is talking to her father about the stereotypes surrounding menstruation – asking him his views on the same as he has never talked to her about it.
“Mero raato ashmitalai panchhyaune haru,
Punaha tyo raato akshyata li malai aashish dina aauda,
Mero nidaar khumchincha,
Bidambana, timro sansakaarle samet malai apradhi dekhcha,
Mero yathartha lai sametne aadha pau kapda lai,
Baarud charas ra gaanja dekhcha,
Tesaile timro sukilo samajle mero ashmitalai
Chaar patak berera bechcha”
The poet takes a dig at various acts and gestures that casually make menstruation look like some kind of crime.
“Timro bhagwaan le samet malai apnaudaina,
Mero prarthana ko puja ko thaali,
Mero bhanchha ko chokho roti
Ra mero aatmiyata lai kasaile sajaudaina,
Ma aama kai laagi achhut banna pugchu,
Tiraskaar ka rekha haru barambaar chumna pugchu”
The poem further talks about how the women on period are not allowed to visit temples, pray or be part of traditions and festivals.
The poem is written and performed by Avas Karmacharya. The video is shot, edited and directed by Shreshan Shrestha. You can watch the previous episodes of the series on YouTube.