A menstruating woman who cooks food for her husband will be reborn as a 'kutri' in her next life, whereas her husband is doomed to be an ox, opines Swami Krushnaswarup Das ji in a video that has recently gone viral.
The video is not recent -- it is from a larger interaction that took place last year. But news reports and outraged netizens have once again put the Swami's comments under the spotlight.
Swami Krushnaswarup Das ji is a saint associated with the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in Gujarat's Bhuj.
Sushmita Dev, the President of the All India Mahila Congress and a national spokesperson of the party, took to Twitter on Monday to criticise the comments.
Sharing a news report, she wrote, "A woman’s body prepares for pregnancy every month & if the egg is not fertilized, our body expels the thicker lining of the uterus from the vagina. This is our period. A biological process."
"What kind of a mindset holds that against a woman?" she asked.
The Ahmedabad Mirror report shared by her also quotes the Swami's video as saying that "this is a matter of scripture".
The incident has outraged many on social media.
As one user put it, "I would any day prefer to be reborn as a kutri, and my husband as an ox, than be born as this Swami”.
Interestingly enough, not everyone agreed with Dev.
To quote a Twitter user, "The idea of keeping woman away from all the things during those four days was just to give her rest from all the hard work she carry out. There are mind sets who instead of looking the right side of the issue, carried away with so called modernize views!"
Take a look at some of the reactions:
The incident assumes greater significance in light of a recent incident at the Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute in Bhuj, which incidentally is run by a trust of the Swaminarayan Temple.
On February 11, around 68 girl students of the college were allegedly forced by hostel authorities to remove their undergarments to check if they were menstruating.
As the allegation came to light and caused an uproar, further details have emerged. After meeting the girl inmates, a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW) said they were shocked to find that a register was being maintained at the hostel to identify the menstruating girls, who were asked to eat and sleep separately.
"We will get to know about the whole thing only after proper investigation. But we were shocked to find that a majority of girls agreed to this practice being followed in the name of religion," NCW member Rajulben Desai said after meeting the hostel inmates and the hostel staff.
"The hostel authorities maintain a register on menstruating women. The management has a lot to answer. The matter that has come to us will be probed over the next two days. We would like to find out if the colleges have internal anti-sexual harassment committee, and if it is there, then whether it has well-trained members?" she said.
The hostel has a rule that girls having periods are not supposed to take meals with other inmates, Desai added.
Meanwhile, police said that an SIT has been formed with woman police officials as its members, to probe the incident.
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(With inputs from agencies)