NEW DELHI: Just as I finished writing this letter to the Interim president of the Congress party in Kerala M.M.Hassan about his absurd remarks on menstruation, news has come in from muzaffarnagar of a warden stripping 70 schoolgirls to check for menstrual blood. This is supposedly because the woman was furious at finding some specks of blood on the floor.

And while the woman has been suspended there has been no action against the Congress leader for maintaining that women are impure during menstruation. And while this letter is addressed to him it is for all those who still hold the monthly cycle against women, including women themselves.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for being so compassionate to society and reminding us of the social condition prevailing in the 21st century. You’ve once again ‘legitmised’ the understanding that ‘“political parties cannot change the customs and traditions of religions”, as per your statement.

Thank you for being a part of the society that generates and circulates these myths. I am certain that several articles that have been written and circulated clarifying the myths around menstruation are unread, and remain rejected by the majority of the population, who you represent.

You remind me of my grandmother who hid the jar of pickles, every time she learnt I was on my monthly cycle. Like you, she could go onto lengthy monologues to explain how ‘the news’ should be kept to oneself and not attract attention of the male members of the family, or why I was not supposed to enter her kitchen and the nearby temple during menstruation.

But before you tag us as women who are ‘impure’ during menstruation, I would like to take the opportunity of explaining the whole cycle to you. You see Sir, before all of you explained to me how horribly wrong my school lessons on the human body were, I learnt a whole different story from the same.

I was told that the menstruation cycle was a complex one. It has a number of coordinated sequences of events involving the hypothalamus, ovary, anterior pituitary and endometrium.

The body is said to go through both emotional as well as physical challenges during the cycle. The chapters in the books vouched for the hormone levels drop in the body during the cycle and also said that the blood that you call ‘impure’ is nothing but the thickened lining of the uterus that is shed.

Nowhere did I locate the word ‘impure’ through the pages of the biology text books that I read. Neither did the teacher in the class describe it as one. And this is where the problem persists, Sir, as we try and fight out the social perils that you uphold!

As you clarify after passing such horrible comments on women and menstruation, I wonder whether the basic biology lessons that I and my friends learnt in school had not been introduced during your time. Or simply put, now that we live in the world of the social media and advanced mediums of communication and information generating mediums, it still seems too hard for you to generate this information by self.

I fail to see how such carefree comments can be passed over when none of the aforesaid information is understood by a person of your esteem. For a girl who goes through these cycles, it is extremely disturbing to listen to a lecture on impurity and purity for starters. Thereby, I suggest you take some time off and learn a few things about the same and urgently review your statements, not because you think society is not prepared to take on the debate, but because of the power and responsibility that has been vested in you, which requires you to make sane and humane arguments out of knowledge.

We do not think we need you to add on to the existing garbage of myths that we are fighting on a daily basis.

Thank you,