Nithin Sridhar, Hindu scholar and author of Menstruation Across Cultures -A Historical Perspective. Image Source: IANS News

Agra, May 21 : Hindu scholar and author Nithin Sridhar says menstruation should not be considered shameful but should be celebrated as a basic requirement of womanhood, as an integral dimension of feminineness.

Talking to IANS, Sridhar, author of "Menstruation Across Cultures-A Historical Perspective," said thousands of years of foreign dominance had distorted our thinking on this issue of vital importance. Most Hindu communities celebrate menarche as the beginning of womanhood and not an event filled with shame.

Sridhar was in the Taj city to interact with women's groups and offer his perspective on this crucial subject.

Sridhar offered an interesting journey across civilizations and religions delving into a difficult topic. "My book book has come at a correct time too when the Sabarimala issue is dominating our news with misinformed and confused debates all around."

He compared the different attitudes to menarche, menstruation, pregnancy and womanhood in different religions and countries.

"Of course the focus is mainly on the Hindu or Sanatana Dharma attitudes but the subject should surely be of great interest to all of us concerned with social, cultural and political issues," he added.

"In my book, there are detailed reviews of menstruation notions prevalent in India and in cultures across the world. The world cultures covered in the book include Indic traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; ancient civilisations like Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia and Egypt; and Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam," Sridhar said.

Two themes of special focus in the book are: Impurity and Sacrality. While they are often understood as being opposed to each other, the book examines how they are treated as two sides of the same coin when it comes to menstruation. This is especially true in Indic traditions and pre-Christian polytheistic traditions like Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian and Egyptian. Impurity and Sacrality complement each other to form a comprehensive worldview in these cultures."

"I have also examined how the understanding of impurity in Abrahamic religions differs from those of polytheistic cultures. As part of the examination of the sacrality attached to menstruation, a special focus has also been given to the deities of menstruation in polytheistic cultures and to what Ayurveda and Yoga say about this essential function in a woman's physiology."

Sridhar is a civil engineer by education who gave up his profession for the cause of Hinduism. He is the editor of IndiaFacts, a popular online magazine for sustaining Sanatana Dharma. He has previously authored a book, "Musings on Hinduisma", a primer for students of all ages wanting to know more about Hinduism.

(Brij Khandelwal can be reached at brij.k@ians.in)

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