"Mother" India is a land of cultures, traditions, norms and taboos. Age-old beliefs are religiously followed even today! Absurd practices are still held sacred in this progressive era. Confined to the four walls and grandmother's tales, women continue to believe in the "impurity" associated with the biological process of menstruation. Saying the word "period" itself seems abnormal to many. The taboos associated with menstruation should be broken so that people can converse about it freely, changing the lifestyle of many women for the better.
Maasika Mahotsav is thus the answer. As part of "A Period of Sharing," an initiative by Muse, Maasika Mahotsav is a one-week "one-of-a-kind menstruation festival," starting from May 21 to May 28, the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
"Taboo is enforced by everyone in society," says Nishant, founder of Muse. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the participation of every member in the society, to re-write certain beliefs. Thus, the idea of a festival, as it excites and ensures the involvement of the society.
"Taboos are deep-rooted, changing geographically and culturally." It aggravates people's mind, says Nishant.
Taboos are strongly enforced on underprivileged women, restricting their minds.
From aiming to reach 3,000 people then, the third project hopes to spread awareness to 9,000 people this year. The objective of this festival is to spread awareness on menstruation and normalise conversations regarding the same.
Maasika Mahotsav will be celebrated in nine states this year, namely, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Sikkim, and Kerala. One of its greatest achievements is that it will also be held in Nepal, too.
Various events are scheduled as part of the event. Comedy plays on breaking period myths, rallies, women's football tournament, exhibitions, and cafe conversations are some of them. Art-making workshops on creating different forms regarding menstruation are also planned and the works will later be displayed.
The festival is an open invitation to every member in society, irrespective of gender and age.
Nishant is happy about the fact, that women have come up and voiced out, with this platform. The aim is to make Maasika Mahotsav a national festival, hoping that the government will take note of it.
"Although there are individualistic approaches, the societal approach has to change."
It is sad how in a modern world, we are still stuck with illogical principles. "There should be no embarrassment attached to blood stains on cloth, or asking for a cloth pad from a shopkeeper. Information cannot flow with notions and taboos in your mind. We as individuals must stop believing in false traditions and not let others follow them too. Once you are free of taboos and can now speak openly and clearly, half the battle is won. With no reservations in mind, the time when we will all speak openly about Menstruation will be the time when hygiene will be more accessible," says Nishant.
Aiming at a taboo-free world, let's all do our part, in breaking down what should be broken.