While menstruation continues to be a taboo in India, the discourse around it oft neglects an important aspect of it – that of caste. Both the stigma around period blood and the hierarchy of the caste system are tied together by the same principle of impurity and pollution. Within the patriarchal setup, women face the stigma of impurity whilst on their period. They are barred from entering temples or kitchens because they are considered to be polluting the space. The caste issue is much more complex and grave with notions of impurity and pollution dictating almost every aspect of the lives of those that are considered belonging to the oppressed castes. Within the caste system, untouchability exists as an everyday reality without any breaks. Dalit, Adivasi and other oppressed caste women, thus, become doubly marginalised within this framework where both patriarchy and caste dominate their existence and work against them. Addressing this issue is 21-year-old clay jewellery maker Meghna Talreja whose latest collection is an attempt at raising awareness about the issue.
Within the collection, what particularly caught my eye was her sanitary pad keychain that depicts blood on the pad. Not shying away from the stigma surrounding period blood, it is an honest attempt to start a conversation and destigmatise it.
Fifteen per cent of the proceeds from this collection will go to Dalit Desk, an active voice against Dalit oppression to keep the conversation about caste going with Dalits, Adivasis and Bahujans at the centre of it.
You can check out the collection here.
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