Social Issues

Cyclone Gaja: 12-Year-Old Dies Owing To Period Shame


Cyclone Gaja has wreaked havoc in parts of Tamil Nadu, with relief camps housing hundreds of people who fled their homes after it got wrecked and inundated. Amidst the damage, the story of a 12-year-old girl dying because she was shunned during her periods has left many seething and fuming.

According to The News Minute, Cyclone Gaja hit Thanjavur district on November 12. On that day, 12-year-old Vijaya of Anaikkadu village got her first period. She was made to sleep in a thatched barn behind her house as it was considered to be “impure” for a menstruating girl to stay inside the house. She and her mother were in the thatched room and a coconut tree uprooted by the winds fell on the room, killing the young girl. Her mother who was sleeping with her in the room was injured and has been admitted to the Pattukottai government hospital.

In India, menstrual periods have been associated with several cultural myths and taboos. While looking at it from a socio-evolutionary perspective, most cultures have been shaped out to be patriarchal in nature. A girl in India has often been told to stay separately, eat in separate dishes and plates, and wash her own clothes and keep everything separately during that time of the month. This also includes a lot of illogical rules such as not touching the pickle.

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