Rotary Club of Phuket South Mini Marathon 2017 The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Forced into monthly exile

NEPAL: The small thatched hut in western Nepal has no walls to keep out the cold. Inside is a raised platform where Pabitra Giri sleeps during her period, banished from her home by a centuries-old Hindu ritual.

culture, sex, religion, construction,


AFP

Sunday 12 March 2017, 11:00AM


Nepalese women Pabitra Giri (left) and Yum Kumari Giri (right) sit by a fire as they live in a ‘chhaupadi’ hut during their menstruation period in Surkhet District, some 520km west of Kathmandu. Photo: AFP
Nepalese women Pabitra Giri (left) and Yum Kumari Giri (right) sit by a fire as they live in a ‘chhaupadi’ hut during their menstruation period in Surkhet District, some 520km west of Kathmandu. Photo: AFP

Below the hut, known as a chhau goth, Giri lights a small fire to keep her warm. The smoke rises up to the small cramped area where she sleeps, making her eyes water.

“We think that if we don’t follow chhaupadi bad things will happen and if we do, it (the gods) will favour us. I feel it does good, so I follow it during my periods,” Giri, 23, explained.

“Now I am used to it. I used to be afraid in the beginning because I was away from my family during dark nights and the place is like this,” Giri said gesturing around her.

The practice is linked to Hinduism and considers women untouchable when they menstruate.

They are banished from the home – barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men – and forced into a monthly exile sleeping in basic huts.

In some areas, women are also made to spend up to a month in the chhau goth after they have given birth.

Two women recently died while following chhaupadi – one of smoke inhalation after she lit a fire for warmth, while the other death is unexplained. These incidents have spurred fresh impetus to end the practice.

Chhaupadi was banned a decade ago, but new legislation currently before parliament will criminalise the practice, making it an imprisonable offence to force women to follow the ritual.

“Women were accepting chhaupadi as tradition. After defining chhaupadi an offence by law the tradition will be discouraged saving rights and lives of many women,” Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, a lawmaker pushing the bill, said.

But previous attempts to stop chhaupadi have failed to address the deep superstitious beliefs that underpin it.

Even in the capital Kathmandu, three in four homes practise some form of restriction on women during their periods, usually banning them from the kitchen and prayer room, said Pema Lhaki, a women’s right activist who has campaigned for years to end chhaupadi.

Most attempts to end the ritual have focused on destroying the chhau goths but that hasn’t stopped women being banned from their homes – instead, in some areas, it has seen women forced to sleep in even more rudimentary huts or even outside, Lhaki said.

“Until we make the woman herself make the decision, the destruction of menstrual huts is more for external purposes. The menstrual huts should remain. Success is when they remain but they don’t go into them,” she said, accusing the government of encouraging the chhau goth to be destroyed to meet quotas set by international donors.

In a village a few miles from where Giri lives, Khagisara Regmi is considering building a chhau goth.

After her husband died eight years ago, the 40-year-old found it too difficult to follow chhaupadi – which would bar her from cooking or touching her son when she was menstruating – while bringing up her four young children.

But a few years ago, her only son started having fits. When a nearby hospital failed to cure them, Regmi turned to the local shaman who told her that her son’s seizures where because she hadn’t followed the ancient ritual.

“Because I didn’t observe purity the gods were displeased. It wasn’t favourable for my son,” she said.

It is often the village shamans – who fill a void left by woefully poor medical services in rural Nepal – and the elderly who are the guardians of the ritual.

Sabitra Giri, 70, defiantly said that the Maoists during Nepal’s brutal civil war tried to end chhaupadi as part of an anti-religion drive – but failed.

“You can cut me but while I’m alive this practice will continue,” she said.

At a house on the edge of the village, shaman Keshar Giri, clad head to toe in white, explained that many illnesses were caused by women not following chhaupadi.

He often counselled women to follow the ritual if they came to him with problems, he said.

“It is not about individuals but the gods that we worship who ask women to not be near for those few days,” he said.

“It’s for the sake of the gods.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Cabbie caught, charged with raping Brazilian tourist

After he did this for the 3rd time now he should get a long jail term and after that he should be kept in precautionary custody....(Read More)


Parks department mulls closing Maya Bay

Although i agree that something has to be done about" Maya Bay",i find it strange that Kurt comes here with an endless finger pointing comme...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

I'm with simon01 on this one. We do know the truck pulled out in front of him. Kurt, maybe "high speed" was a contributing factor, b...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

Yet another one. Why dont people look when pulling out, setting off, doing U turns, changing lane. Ok they say the bike was going fast BUT in Phuket t...(Read More)


Srivara insists Mae Hong Son governor tied to sex trade scandal

Is mr Suebsak still holding official Governor position this time? Is it not appropriate to transfer him out of the province to a ( perhaps temporaril...(Read More)


Cabbie caught, charged with raping Brazilian tourist

Yep once again Jor 12 completely missing the point, if the guy has been convicted twice already how on earth has he been allowed anywhere near a publi...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

The person who drives 'high speed' is always at fault when a accident occurs due to 'out of control'. Traffic law is very clear. Mo...(Read More)


Phuket Army chief confirms BYO umbrellas, sun loungers welcome at Surin Beach

While banning vendors on the beach will remove certain money making opportunities for locals, it will also create new opportunities... like rental ser...(Read More)


Parks department mulls closing Maya Bay

Indeed, simon01 is right. There should be at least a recovery time schedule as at the Similans. One piece of writing really did strike me: ...&qu...(Read More)


Red Bull heir threatened with arrest after latest no-show

"Been threatened with arrest" I bet he's really worried now! haha Time to buy more brown envelopes....(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.