Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: The controversy over allowing women into temples are not just confined to the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala. The patriarchal mindset of society still repels women from certain temples. Recently, an IPS officer from Gujarat, who is currently the Police Superintendent in Patna, Shobha Bhutda wrote a blog airing her views on this issue. She said that it required immense courage for her to enter the temple when she was menstruating and that her grandmother would tell her during her childhood that if any male member of the house sees her during her menstruation period, she would not tale birth as a human in her next life.

She writes, “When I was preparing for my civil services examinations, I was supposed to visit the shrine of our Kuldevi, but I was going through my periods. My family members knew about this and I had to strive hard to convince them to let me visit the temple. Someone even told me that if I visit the shrine during my periods, I might not clear my civil services examinations. But I said that my kuldevi is my mother, and I am hers no matter how I am and thus I would go and visit her, which I did and even cleared my exams too. But it took me more courage to disclose this fact in public than it took me to visit the temple during my periods.”

“We women are humans too, and menstruation is something very personal to us. Men have nothing to do with it. We are a daughter, a wife and a mother and we should be treated equally too. The society should understand that we have our individuality too,” Bhutda further said in her blog post.

Another female IPS officer Saroj Kumari, who is the deputy police commissioner in Vadodara said that she visits temple even during her periods. Kumari, who was born in a small village in Rajasthan to an army man father, said that her mother, despite being illiterate, would tell her that there is no need for girls to remain confined a corner of the house when going through menstruation. “I visit temples irrespective of the fact whether I am menstruating or not. I don’t have to seek anyone’s permission for it. I am responsible for my own decisions,” she added. Kumari informs that she had dreamt of being a policewoman during her teens when she had to travel ten kilometres to school from her village and back and later work in the fields too. She tells that her parents had a reformist mindset and refused to take any dowry during her brother’s marriage, something which had upset the community. They even discontinued the practice of providing food to people upon a death in the family.

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