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Father celebrates daughter’s first menstruation, breaking taboos in North India

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Bhonpuram Khabari, Rudrapur: In a progressive and trailblazing celebration held in Udham Singh Nagar, North India, a father has set a new precedent by rejoicing in his daughter’s first menstruation, challenging prevailing misconceptions and taboos. The event organised on Thursday has garnered widespread attention, sparking open discussions on a topic that has long been shrouded in silence.

Jitendra Bhatt, a music teacher hailing from Kachahari road in the Girital locality of Kashipur in district Udham Singh Nagar, took the initiative to break the stigma surrounding menstruation. Traditionally, menstruation has been associated with impurity and inferiority, imposing various restrictions on girls during their periods, especially in North India. However, Bhatt’s unique celebration sends a powerful message that periods are not impure or untouchable but rather a natural and significant aspect of life. Notably, in Andhra Pradesh, when a girl gets her period for the first time, it is celebrated in a grand ceremony called ‘Peddamanishi Pandaga’. similarly, in Tamil Nadu, the Ritu Kala Samskara ceremony or Ritushuddhi is a ceremony performed when a girl wears a sari for the first time because it is the celebration of when a girl’s rite of passage after menarche (first menstruation) or period, and she is deemed a young woman both physically and spiritually

Recalling his own lack of awareness about menstruation during his youth, Bhatt said that women and girls were often looked down upon and treated with an inferiority complex during their periods. However, with increased awareness in the 21st century, people are starting to discuss menstruation more openly, and Bhatt’s action represents a significant step in this direction.

Bhawna Bhatt, the proud mother of the young girl, said that she immensely supports her husband’s groundbreaking gesture. She shared her thoughts, saying, “I am thrilled and proud of my husband for taking this bold step. Together, we believe in breaking societal barriers and fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance for our daughter’s journey into womanhood.”

Bhatt’s neighbour, Pragya Bhatnagar, who attended the celebration, also expressed pride and happiness in Bhatt’s initiative. “Such celebrations could help dispel the prevailing misconceptions and bring about a positive change in society’s perceptions towards menstruation”, she said.

Gynecologist Dr Navpreet Kaur lauded Bhatt’s efforts as a commendable initiative. She said, “Menstruation is a natural biological process and not a result of impurity. During menstruation, the inner layer of the uterus sheds, causing bleeding, similar to other normal bodily functions like urination or bowel movements. This celebration is crucial in dismantling the age-old belief of untouchability associated with menstruation”.

A teenage girl, who learns music from Bhatt, said, “The celebration organized by Sir (Jitendra Bhatt ) sets a powerful example of breaking societal taboos and challenging the stigma surrounding menstruation. It is a step towards fostering a more informed and inclusive society that embraces natural bodily processes without judgment or discrimination. The event has ignited hope for many, as people are now encouraged to question and challenge long-held beliefs about menstruation, paving the way for a more enlightened and progressive society”.

13-year-old Ragini said, “Having periods is a natural part of life, and I believe it’s crucial for parents to acknowledge and celebrate this milestone with their daughters. When I experienced my first period, my parents lovingly celebrated the occasion by cutting a cake, and it made me feel supported and understood. I believe every parent should consider doing the same for their daughters, as it helps create a positive and empowering environment around menstruation. I also plan to raise awareness among the parents of my friends and schoolmates about the significance of acknowledging this important aspect of a girl’s life.”

Anita Bhatt, the girl’s paternal aunt, praised her brother-in-law’s trailblazing celebration of breaking menstruation stigma. She gifted her niece sanitary pads, supporting her womanhood and emphasizing menstrual hygiene. She said, “As a woman who has experienced the challenges and taboos associated with menstruation, I cannot express enough how important it is to break these barriers and foster an environment of openness and acceptance. When I learned about Jitendra’s plan to celebrate our niece’s first menstruation, I was overwhelmed with happiness and admiration for his bold step”.

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