chaupadi '' Mesuration Taboo " practices in Western Nepal of Nepal

Anita Shrestha
Posted December 3, 2019 from Nepal
House for mensuration women

 

Yesterday,, one lady died in the Achham District in western died from from suffocation in the shed where she was forced to sleep in because she was menstruating. Similarly every year many women have been died due to this mensuration taboo.

On December 17, 2016, a 15-year-old girl in the Achham District in western Nepal died from suffocation in the shed where she was forced to sleep in because she was menstruating. Hers was the second chaupadi-related death that month in the District. These are not outliers — chaupadi-related deaths occur routinely in far-western Nepal.

 

https://www.statnews.com/2017/02/17/nepal-tradition-chaupadi-menstruation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chhaupadi

Chhaupadi (Nepali: छाउपडी Listen (help·info)) is a form of menstrual taboo which prohibits Hindu women and girls from participating in normal family activities while menstruating, as they are considered "impure". Chhaupadi is practiced primarily in the western part of Nepal.

During chhaupadi, women are banned from the house and are required to live in a cattle shed, or a makeshift dwelling known as a menstruation hut, for the duration of their period. Childbirth in Nepal also results in a similar form of confinement. During menstruation, women and girls are restricted from participating in everyday life events, and from interacting with their communities.[1]

Contents

1Origin

2Description

3Health and safety risks

4Public action against chhaupadi

5Legislation

6See also

7References

8External links

Origin[edit]

The practice of chhaupadi originates from the superstition that menstruation causes women to be temporarily impure. This superstition arose from a myth that Indra created menstruation as a means to distribute a curse.[2][3] In this belief system, it is thought that if a menstruating woman touches a tree, it will never again bear fruit; if she consumes milk, the cow will not give any more milk; if she reads a book, Saraswati, the goddess of education, will become angry; if she touches a man, he will be ill.

The practice persists in rural areas primarily in Western Nepal. It is also called ‘chhue’ or ‘bahirhunu’ in Dadeldhura, Baitadi and Darchula, ‘chhaupadi’ in Achham, and ‘chaukulla’ or ‘chaukudi’ in Bajhang district.[4]

Description[edit]

The tradition begins with an adolescent girl's first menstrual cycle, during which she remains in the shed for up to fourteen days; afterwards, she must spend the duration of each monthly period in the shed, until she reaches menopause. Additionally, women who have just given birth must stay in the shed with their children for up to two weeks.[5]

Menstruating women and girls are required to remain isolated from their family, and are forbidden from entering homes, kitchens, schools, and temples. During this time, they remain in what is often known as a menstruation hut, which is usually made from wood or stone. In some locations, women may stay isolated from their family in a separate room attached to the house, such as a shed used for storing tools. Furnishings are sparse, so the women often sleep on the floor with only a small rug for warmth.[6] They may not touch family members, especially male family members, and food and water is passed to them in such a way as to prevent touching. Menstruating women are also restricted from participating in family, religious or social functions, such as attending the temple or going to weddings, and girls are prevented from going to school. [4]

Women who are menstruating are barred from consuming milk, yogurt, butter, meat, and other nutritious foods, for fear that their impurity will cause cows to become ill. The typical diet during menstruation includes dry foods, salt, and rice. Menstruating women are also barred from using community water sources or performing daily functions like bathing or washing clothing. [7]

Despite the social isolation of chhaupadi, women must still work, often in the fields, during menstruation.[8]

Health and safety risks[edit]

Women are exposed to multiple health and safety risks while practising chhaupadi. Huts are often poorly constructed and lack heat or ventilation, leaving women exposed to the elements as well as extreme temperatures during different times of year. Women are at risk of developing illnesses such as pneumonia or diarrhea while practicing chhaupadi, and are also vulnerable to attack by snakes and other animals. Risk of asphyxiation is high if a woman starts a fire in the hut to keep warm during the winter. Women have also been raped while practising chhaupadi.[9][10] In addition, a study by Ranabhat et. al of women aged 12-49 in the Bardiya and Kailali provinces of Nepal showed that the practice of chhaupadi is significantly correlated with reproductive health problems such as dysuria and genital itching.[11]

While exact numbers are not available, women and girls die every year while performing chhaupadi. Particularly in the far and mid-western regions of Nepal, a number of deaths have been directly related to the use of these huts. Causes range from being attacked by animals, to being bitten by scorpions or snakes, to illnesses from exposure.[12] These are some examples of the deaths that have occurred due to chhaupadi:

An 11-year-old girl died in January 2010 stemming from diarrhea and dehydration from being kept in a menstruation hut. Both her family and neighbours refused to bring her to the hospital because they believed that they would become impure should they touch her.[12]

Two young women in late 2016 who died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning from fires.[13][14][15]

In May 2017, Lalsara Bika, a 14-year-old, died as a result of a serious cold-related illness from living in a menstruation hut.

In July 2017, 19-year-old Tulasi Shahi died from being bitten by a snake "twice, on her head and leg," while living in a cow shed being used as a menstruation hut.

In January 2019, Amba Bohora, a 35-year-old Nepali mother and her sons, aged 9 and 12, died of smoke inhalation while living in their menstrual hut.[16][17][18]

In early February 2019, 21-year old Parwati Bogati died from suffocation and smoke inhalation after lighting a fire to stay warm. [19]

Public action against chhaupadi[edit]

Community and organizational actions exist to combat the practice. In January 2019, local authorities demanded the destruction of chhaupadi huts in Bajura, the municipality in which a woman and her two young sons died in a hut. This resulted in the removal of 60 sheds, and the deployment of law enforcement to patrol for further removal. [20]

Legislation[edit]

Chhaupadi was outlawed by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2005, but the tradition has been slow to change.[21] In 2017, Nepal passed a law punishing people who force women into exile during menstruating with up to three months in jail or a fine of 3,000 Nepalese rupees. However, in the five months since the new law went into effect (in August 2018), no cases have been filed against those enforcing the practice. [22][23] In late 2018, district governments in the far west of the country began denying state support services to citizens still enforcing the practice of chhaupadi, in an effort to reduce the practice.[24]

See also[edit]

Culture and menstruation

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Menstrual Hygiene Day

Ritual purity

References[edit]

^ Ghimire, Laxmi (May 2005). "Unclean & Unseen" (PDF). Student BMJ. Retrieved December 3, 2008.[permanent dead link]

^ Jaishankar, K. (2013). Second International Conference of the South Asian Society of 

Comments 11

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Hannah B
Dec 03, 2019
Dec 03, 2019

Hi Anita,
Wow, thank you for sharing this important information - I was not aware of this practice!
It sounds like it can be dangerous for girls and women, and take them unnecessarily out of their daily lives. I hope that more people in these regions will stand up to this tradition!
Warm regards,
Hannah

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 03, 2019
Dec 03, 2019

Hello, dear Anita,

Thank you for raising this issue of banishment during menstruation. I heard that this is a norm in Nepal. I'm so sorry that another girl died because of this practice. I stand with her and with the rest of the women and girls in Nepal. May this practice end. Have a great day!

Anita Shrestha
Dec 03, 2019
Dec 03, 2019

Yes dear many girls died every year

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 06, 2019
Dec 06, 2019

This is unacceptable, dear sister. :(

Jill Langhus
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

Hi Anita,

How are you doing, dear? Thanks for sharing this post and spreading awareness around this horrible tradition. I've heard of this, but it really is unbelievable to me that people would do this, especially women to other women and girls. Have you had to ever experience this tradition? I hope not:-( Horrible. Even despite the health hazards, the shame that must ensue from this can't be good at all.

Hope you're doing well, and having a good week, dear!

XX

Anita Shrestha
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

Basically, this practices have been famous in far western region of Nepal. In our side not practices. Therefore, I did not bear that situation

Jill Langhus
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

I see. I'm glad you at least haven't been subjected to this, and/or your loved ones. Horrible, and so, so inhumane.

Anita Shrestha
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

yes dear

Jill Langhus
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

:-)

Lisbeth
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

Dear Anita,
Oh mine! We are glad that you have not been subjected to such. You are fortunate. Thanks for easing the stress on us.
Warm regards
Lizzy

Anita Shrestha
Dec 04, 2019
Dec 04, 2019

Yes dear. Basically, in Nepal there are many caste, community and diffrent types of culture. But my mother never said to me this do this do not do during mensuration period. Although my mother is uneducated but she didnot tell me anythings. Therefore, I am lucky person