Chhaupadi practice still continues in Dailekh villagesThough some western VDCs in the district have been declared as ‘Chhaupadi-free areas’, people still construct separate sheds near their houses for Chhaupadi
Though some western VDCs in the district have been declared as ‘Chhaupadi-free areas’, people still construct separate sheds near their houses for Chhaupadi. The practice of Chhaupadi is a deep-seated social tradition in which menstruating women and those in the post-natal period are kept in a secluded place away from the house for at least five days as they are deemed impure and untouchable.
Rakamkarnali, Lakandra, Singaudi, Sattala, Pipalkot, Singhasain and Tilepata VDCs in the district were declared Chhaupadi-free area last year.
Arjun Shahi of Rakam said the decision to ban Chhaupadi in his village has just been limited to the document. “Due to the traditional belief, women still don’t feel comfortable if they do not spend their days in Chhaupadi shed during menstruation,” he said, adding that many villagers are again constructing new Chhaupadi sheds.
Shahi said the VDC offices banned the superstitious practice without proper preparations. Mansara Thapa of Bheltadi in Rakam said she started living in a Chhaupadi shed during menstruation because “she fell ill for not following the tradition”. She also said that the destroying the shed only enraged the deities.
Another local Debisara Majhi claimed her buffalo and ox died after they stopped practising Chhaupadi. “We have constructed a shed again to get rid of such problems,” Majhi said.
Local women said they cannot ignore the tradition as they have followed it for several years. Social activist Laxmi Chalaune said locals have been following their traditions due to shamans. “The problems persisted due to the lack of awareness among villagers,” Chhalaune said.