A 23-year-old woman from Kharadi in Maharashtra has alleged that she was prevented from participating in a Dandiya event in the Bhatnagar area of Pimpri. The ostracisation, Aishwarya Bhat-Tamaichikar feels is because of her opposition to and criticism of the archaic “virginity test” which women belonging to her community are subjected to go through the morning after the wedding night.
Woman boycotted at Dandiya event
According to Pune Mirror, Tamaichikar said that on Monday, October 15, she attended a Dandiya event which was organised by members of the Kanjarbhat community, to which she belongs. Just after a few minutes after she started playing, the music was stopped. She said, “I waited there, thinking there must be some technical glitch in the sound system. Then, my mother reached out and asked me to leave the location immediately, without saying any reason.”
While she refused to leave the spot, she realised that the predicament was because of her stand on the virginity test that’s conducted in the community. Just after the left the spot, the music was back on, indicating the fact that the organisers clearly did not want her around others, she added.
Immediately after leaving, she went to the Pimpri Police Station to file a complaint. The police have booked eight people belonging to the ‘Jaat’ panchayat of the community under the Maharashtra Prohibition Of People From Social Boycott (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2016. The police have said that further legal proceedings will be initiated later once the investigation is over.
Customary practice of the virginity test
Earlier this year, Tamaichikar and her husband Vivek had raised their voices against this age-old practice of this denotified tribe. Vivek told Pune Mirror that people who oppose the tradition are ostracised by other community members. In May, after the couple’s marriage, the community had socially boycotted Aishwarya as she had refused to show the bedsheet. Moreover, in June, while attending a wedding, she along with others were assaulted by a few community members. The Times Of India reported that seven people were arrested in the case, who were later released on bail.
The practice in question requires a woman to prove her virginity on the night of the wedding by letting the panchayat members examine the bedsheets the next day and the husband has to declare in front of the panchayat if she is pure or not. Reportedly, the community is a denotified tribe and are governed by a set of codified rules and a caste panchayat, reported The Indian Express.
The Logical Indian Take
This wasn’t the first time that a woman from the community was boycotted for raising her voice against the custom. While a part of India claims to be stepping into modern times, sadly for many women like Aishwarya, this is a sad and demeaning reality that they are compelled to live with. She was allegedly boycotted for raising a strong voice against a custom that is not only sexist but archaic, demeaning and pathetic.
Source: The Logical Indian
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