Menstruation is something every woman in the world has to go through every month. We bleed for days, suffer through cramps, nausea and uneasiness while the world is busy patronising us for it. How possibly can something that enables women to bring a new person to life, be regarded as something so demeaning? It is difficult to understand as to how and why 80% of women in India do not have access to clean and safe aids to take care of menstrual bleeding!
When I was talking to Raj over the phone, I realized how deeply concerned he is about the stigma associated with menstruation and how women are humiliated for it. Our conversation lasted for 20-25 minutes, where we shared our views on taboos about this particular topic. He came up with this unique approach of using tampons to create art.
Read on to know what Raj told WittyFeed in an interview.
"I'm a consultant you know, so, I wanted to do something for World Menstrual Hygiene Day. That's when I started my research," he told WittyFeed. Aich is based in New Delhi.
This is what he said further.
"I thought that the best way to bring my art to life would be using tampons or pads, so I went ahead and bought a packet. I was surprised that one packet of tampons costed 160 bucks! And pads costed Rs.120 a packet. That was the first time I held a tampon in my hand and honestly, I didn't understand how it was used."
Raj further said, "When I started my research, I came across a few facts that left me shell shocked! Government had eliminated tax from things like sindoor and condom but not from sanitary napkins. A 12% GST was applicable to them. Tampons or pads are not luxuries, they are basic amenities for women around the world."
"A friend of mine who runs an NGO abroad told me that homeless women there as well, suffer from the same problem. Lack of access to tampons and pads."
"Even countries like Australia pay 10% tax on Tampons. So, it is just not India that's doing this," Aich remarked.
"You and me, we're privileged people. You as a female are privileged enough to buy a packet of tampons worth Rs 160, without even giving it a second thought, but what about the underprivileged females? What about our maids?" Raj Kamal demanded to know.
Below are more excerpts from his interview.
"You have any clue to what they use? At times, they use these clothes that we use for wiping our floors. How horrendous is that?"
"Our society has already attached so much stigma and taboo with menstruation that I did not know how to portray blood in my creations. And for a moment I was hesitant, but I knew something had to be done. So, I used red ink."
"Honestly, before this, I did not know a lot about menstruation nor did I ever bother! All men think that it is a women's problem and just let it go. But it's high time we at least understand what ladies go through every month, at least for the sake of those ladies who are close to us."
"I do not need to be a woman to understand their pain."
This is something the feminist in me always wanted to talk about, and Raj clearly gave me a chance to. Thank you!
That's all, fellas. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Credits: Raj Kamal