Impure blood in biology may mean deoxygenated blood which runs through veins which means that the blood contains less amount of oxygen than the blood which runs through arteries. Menstrual blood is composed of blood, old parts of uterine tissue, cells from the mucus lining of the vagina and bacteria making up the vaginal flora. The vaginal floras are the colonies of friendly bacteria which protect the vagina from pathogenic species of bacteria. The consistency and composition of menstrual blood varies from one woman to another, from one cycle to another and also depends on the age of a woman. The components which are necessary for the coagulation of the blood are not present in menstrual blood. Now, do you think that these make menstrual blood impure?
Blood is an excellent medium for growth of micro-organisms. It is thus imperative to dispose blood containing objects properly, be it sanitary pads used during menstruation or gauge or cloth used to wipe the blood from cut injuries.
Then why is menstrual blood considered impure by many? It can be said, safely, that it is due to ignorance.
The religious pundits defend their followers by using euphemism ‘sacred’ for ‘dirty’ considered by their followers. While the common people use menstruation to treat women unequally, pundits would call it privilege. But shouldn’t it be the menstruating woman who gets to choose what she desires to do? Shouldn’t it be her choice whether she wants to take rest, or doesn’t want to work or cook? The special rules for women may have helped them in the past. Application of the same rules in modern times make human intellect look regressive.
There are awful practices devised for menstruating women because of which they even have to lose their lives! Most of the major religions consider menstruation as ‘impure’ or less harshly ‘a process of purification’. In western Nepal, there is a tradition called Chhaupadi based on this mentality of impurity in which women are prohibited from entering the house and are isolated in a cowshed or a hut. In the month of January 2019, a woman of thirty five along with her sons of nine and twelve died of smoke inhalation while living in menstrual hut. And in the following month, a twenty one year old girl also died of suffocation in her hut trying to keep herself warm by lighting a fire. What a privilege!
Even many of the educated women who scream for gender equality seem to consider menstruation as impure bodily process. ‘No I can’t touch the food you know, I have my periods,’ they say shamelessly. It is rooted in their minds like a poisonous tree. And they are also the ones who should be held accountable for the deaths of people due to Chhaupadi. They are the women helping the propagation of this taboo which gets magnified in the houses of the uneducated. ‘Even the teacher follows the rule, who are you?’ roars a grandfather at her granddaughter in a remote village. Who do you think is responsible for this?
It is only thought process which considers menstrual blood impure that is impure.