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For 8 days this month, celebrate periods

In the city, the festival, which will start from May 21 and end on May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day, will be held at Thane and Aarey Milk Colony.

mumbai Updated: May 19, 2019 06:32 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Members of Muse Foundation, which holds the Maasika Mahotsav in the city every year.(Pratik Chorge/HT)

Come Tuesday, a group of youngsters from the city will organise ‘Maasika Mahotsav’, a festival that celebrates menstruation, to dispel the taboo surrounding it and to promote environment-friendly sanitary products.

The group — Muse Foundation, founded five years ago — has been organising this festival for the past three years in the city. This year, it aims to reach out to around 9,000 women in nine states including, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, among others, and Nepal. In the city, the festival, which will start from May 21 and end on May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day, will be held at Thane and Aarey Milk Colony. The group has also been invited by the Sikkim government to organise an event there.

So how did this festival come up? Group member Sushant Tomar, who works for animal welfare and is a member of the foundation, says initially, when he and some other male colleagues started talking about menstruation to their women colleagues, the latter were not ready to talk to them. “They said you are a guy, what do you know? But we explained it is as natural activity and we should dispel the silence around it,” Tomar said.

“The idea is to normalise discussions on menstruation. There are some states such as Kerala or Karnataka, where menstruation is celebrated. Our event does the same. We will have events such as cycling, football, ‘kick-the-taboo’, along with seminars,” said Pranav Trivedi, a game developer.

Mohit Murlidhar, another member who is in the merchant navy, said through the festival, they also want to start a conversation about sustainable menstruation and using environment-friendly products.“It is difficult to dispose of or recycle sanitary napkins, but menstrual cups or cloth are relatively more eco-friendly.”Another member, Nehali Jain, an insurance professional, said there are “bizarre myths” surrounding menstruation. “When we were surveying Thane, a girl told us she has to stay at her friend’s or cousin’s place for five days of her periods every month as her grandmother believes some kind of spirit takes over her body during the time and if she is at home, all women in the family would die,” she said.

When asked about the Sabarimala verdict, Nishant Bangera, founder of Muse Foundation, said, “Human rights should be prioritised over an old culture which promotes discrimination.”

First Published: May 19, 2019 06:32 IST