It's the 21st century and the year is 2018. Then why is it that even in this year and time, the subject of menstruation and bleeding women continues to be a hot topic, that even at the mention of it the entire nation gets scandalised, and constantly wishes to sweep it under the carpet?
We recently had the Supreme Court deliver yet another landmark verdict annulling an ancient law that banned women aged 13 to 50 from entering Kerala's renowned Sabarimala Temple, since they fall in the menstruating age group. The verdict came after a lot of hue and cry across the nation, demanding equal rights to pray for all women, at every place of worship.
So one would expect this to make women hopeful about a better experience this Durga Puja too, because all the awareness around the subject would have initiated some change in people's outlook, right? Wrong. Time for a reality check, you guys.
A Mumbai-based graphic designer named Aniket Mitra would have felt similarly when he recently posted a Durga illustration on his social media accounts, inspired by menstruation and how women are given partial treatment during religious festivities and celebrations, because they are on their periods and are thus, “impure”.
He was up for a major disappointment- one that would not only shatter his spirit, but also deface the kind thought behind the creation.
You see, women are equally foolish to expect any support or progressive standing from a society, that consciously chooses to turn a blind eye to every issue that concerns the welfare of its women and children.
The Indian society has failed its women before, and even with a lot of men coming forward to usher in the winds of change, a section of this society keeps trying to bring them down, and scare them into subjugation, as they did to Aniket Mitra, lest the women of this country get their fair share of basic human rights.
Wait, before you begin to spew venom over how “feminism is cancer” and #NotAllMen, I must tell you that I pity the likes of all of you, because you are adding to all the BS that many women(and some good men) of this world are fighting against, day in and day out.
Why, you ask? Well, this is why.
Soon after Aniket made his creation public, the illustration caught people's attention and the entire country came together to bash the artist for his realist artwork, calling it disgraceful, “anti-national” and what not. And it did not stop right there. No.
The online trolls went a step ahead and began to insult and threaten Mitra's wife and brother with hopes of scaring the guy into taking down the image. Guess what, they won. The endless trolls and reports got Facebook to take down the post titled, 'Shakti Rupen'.
A police complaint has also been filed against Aniket.
Now, let me tell you in detail about the depiction that offended so many dimwits of our “progressive” nation. The illustration displayed a sanitary napkin as a Durga protima, with a Chalchitro in the background, and a red smear on the napkin which looks like a lotus. Now, God forbid if even half of those guys who scared the sh*t out of Aniket were to be religious. It's probably the possibility of another man standing up for the women, that enraged the public so much.
As News18 quoted Aniket saying, “I have watched first my sisters and now my wife struggle with taboos regarding their periods. I have seen them be asked to not come to certain places because they are menstruating. As someone living in 2018, this infuriates me", the thought had been kind, positive and personal, but the trolls turned things another way.
When we reached out to Aniket for a statement, he responded saying that the constant flak and personal attacks that he and his family have received over the past few days, has forced him to not only take down the post, but also refrain from sharing any comments on the same to prevent further outrage.
Imagine what we are capable of doing to each other, when someone decides to stand up for the larger good for people in our society.
You shame them and threaten them into silence.
But I suppose it needs to be put across that not all of us are going to be silenced. We'll find a way to make the message reach to a lot of people, so they can decide for themselves and reach a conclusion independently.
Free country guys, everybody needs to get heard and we'll make sure that happens here, and the culprits are called out.