Evil has a face

Thanks to the anti-Chhaupadi drive launched by the Social Equity Campaign against the age-old superstitious belief, women of over half a dozen VDCs in Kanchanpur district are able to experience a significant change in their lives. These women, who had once been compelled to stay in Chhaupadi Kudis — separate huts or cowsheds built for them during childbirth and menstruation — are now staying within the safe confines of their own homes. The good news is that the campaign is spreading to other VDCs of Kanchanpur. It needs to be taken to other districts of the far western region like Achham, Bajura, Bajhang, Doti, Darchula, Baitadi, Dadeldhura and Kailali where this disgusting practice is still in vogue.

Kanchanpur is home to over 600 Chhaupadi Kudis, out of which 83 have been destroyed. These huts offer nothing but insecurity and health hazards to young girls and nursing mothers. Their forced stay in the poor sanitary conditions invites dreaded diseases like encephalitis and malaria in summer and other kinds in other seasons. There is no justification in endangering the lives of young girls and new mothers by pushing them to cowsheds. As lack of education is the main cause of this repulsive custom, literacy drives and awareness campaigns need to be launched with vigour. The Supreme Court, too, has pronou-nced the practice as illegal. However, only forcible pulling down of such sheds without destroying the entrenched dogma in the hearts of the superstitious communities may not have the desired impact.