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Yeah, I know! Enough newspaper print and Internet space has been spent on this topic over the last few weeks (not to mention prime time news) so I won't bore anyone with my views on how men and women have equal rights to enter the temple no matter what period (pun intended) of the month it is.
Instead I want to talk about how we as women can bring about this change without having to wear a designer bindi, over-starched saree and carry a jholla or sloganeering on the streets.
My first exposure to this discrimination was when my mom refused to allow me to go for Kanjak. Now every Punjabi/ North Indian girl will tell you how they look forward to the bi-annual Kanjak. The dressing up in traditional clothes, the satisfaction of carrying our little treasures around the colony, showing off the money and gifts to friends are an integral part of a girl's life especially in North India.
So it was a rude shock when one such day my mom told me that I can't do that anymore coz I have "grown up".
And this from a mom who did no discrimination at home. The kitchen and temple room was not forbidden at home but her logic was "I know others in our society don't like so i can't knowingly allow you to go and "spoil" their belief and pooja".
The point being that the change has to come in our families and homes before it can come in the society. If my mom took a step and did not discriminate in her house, I took the next step.
I have organized kirtan, havan and pooja in my home without worrying about the due date.
I have bought the sanitary napkins with the monthly ration without wrapping and hiding it in newspaper and black bags.
And when the time comes, my daughter will partake in every occasion and festival in the family irrespective of the "time of the month"
My son will get to know about menstruation like any other scientific process.
And my kids will learn that the goddess in a little girl grows with her. She doesn't disappear at puberty.
Enough families will be celebrating kanjak between today and tomorrow across India. Let the change come in our own homes.
image courtsey: www.santabanta.com