Akshay Kumar: A Man of His Word, Continues His Movement on Menstrual Hygiene And Sanitationby Opinion Express May 29, 2018 0 comments
Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar proves that he is a real man of his word as he continues his movement on menstrual hygiene and sanitation lined by actor Shabana Azmi, reported by Team Viva.
Superstar Akshay Kumar proved that he doesn’t sell a cause only because it is a subject of his films but he becomes its crusader much after the profits have rolled in. Yesterday the actor, who starred in films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Padman that depicted issues like sanitation and menstruation hygiene respectively, said that making documentary films wouldn’t change people’s mind the way commercial cinema did. Which is why he launched a new campaign on menstrual hygiene at the Niine Menstrual Awareness Conclave to mark International Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The actor believes that making documentary films won’t change people’s mind the way commercial cinema impacts on changing the society in a positive way. “Documentary films won’t help because people want to see hero-heroine falling in love, fighting with parents, fighting with villains. Commercial cinema will create such impact because audience relates with actors. Padman was not just a film for me. It was a really special movie and I mean it, all the things I have heard and came across was really shameful and it happens in our society. What we want is a change, we want everyone to come out in open and talk about periods as it’s a very natural thing,” said Akshay. The actor also emphasised that young boys need to be educated about menstruation so that they become more sensitive about the “natural biological process”. “We need to teach young boys to behave first. (The way they behave) is also the reason why girls drop out from schools.”
The Niine movement is an ambitious five-year plan aimed at raising awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene and tackling the taboos associated with menstruation, has been officially launched at the inaugural conclave to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day. Akshay emphasised, “I read a phrase somewhere after which it I made Padman ‘Never mess with someone who bleeds for a week for every month but doesn’t die is the power of every women’ and it is so true.”
During the event, the actor felicitated nine people for spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene across India. When Akshay asked one of the honourees, Dr Bharati Lavekar, if there is a taboo associated with menstruation in urban areas, she replied in an affirmative. “Even today in a city like Mumbai and in the 21st century, it is difficult to talk to people about periods,” she said. To this Akshay replied, “Taboos will break. Make them watch Pad Man. It will happen.”
Another winner, Geetanjali Marndi, recounted her experience of getting her first period during which her face was covered with a veil so that her “impure” vision would not harm men and boys of the village. To this, the actor said, “They have the veil on their eyes and mindsets that need lifting. I hope the taboo breaks forever one day and that India is free from it.” He asserted, “We all should take initiatives such as talking about menstrual hygiene with nine people be it our neighbour, friend or relatives. We should talk about menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkins in a very simple manner, take their suggestions on it, tell them that periods is not a taboo topic and tell them to convey this message to nine more people The problem in our country is that people don’t want to talk about menstrual hygiene. We need to be vocal and this taboo will slowly diminish from our society. So, let’s talk about periods.”
Veteran actor-activist Shabana Azmi said that there is still a long way to go in achieving higher standards of menstrual awareness. She said that men also need to be included in initiating more dialogue about periods. “The glass is half full and half empty… It is not possible that we take this initiative forward unless we involve men,” Shabana said.
Talking about the difficulties of women residing in rural areas, the actor said she was “shocked” to see how they used unhygienic “recycled” cloth during periods. “Women use cloth, they don’t use a sanitary napkin. So, they would recycle the cloth but they would not be able to hang it out to dry in the sun because it was such a matter of shame…” said the 67-year-old actor.
“That it will be recognised as a menstrual cloth. So they would dry under the mattresses of the cot. This would lead to inevitable diseases. Even in 21st century India, women didn’t have a patch of sunlight for themselves. That hit me so hard.”
Shabana said a change in the mindset of people is needed to get rid of the taboo associated with menstruation. “When I was in school, if I found a stain on my uniform it was a matter of shame and today my granddaughter says to her grandfather, ‘I am having periods, please give me a sanitary pad’ as easily she can say, ‘can you give me a toothbrush’. So, things have changed but there is a long way to go. We need to encourage workshops in schools and village so that women and girls where they are taught exercises to help them cope with the period pain and keep them fit.”
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer