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‘Custom' built homes in this day and age!

Firoz Rozindar
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Government is building a slew of mahila bhavans for women of Yadava community

Separated by birth:This makeshift hut is home to a young mother of the Yadava community who has to stay away from her colony for three months after delivery.
Separated by birth:This makeshift hut is home to a young mother of the Yadava community who has to stay away from her colony for three months after delivery.

Several women's organisations have criticised the move by the government to set up mahila bhavans for the use of women of the Yadava community. They feel it only feeds age-old superstitions and customs instead of quashing them.

The government, under the pretext of developing gollarahattis (colonies of the Yadava or Golla community), decided to build one mahila bhavan in each colony of the community across the State.

The bhavan is meant for the use of women during their menstrual cycle, for girls who have attained puberty and during the postnatal period.

The Yadava community still observes the custom in which a girl who reaches puberty, a woman who has her monthly period and a woman who has just given birth stays away from the colony for 21 days, 3 days and 3 months respectively.

The government, “moved by their plight”, fell upon the idea of building dormitory-type bhavans with a small kitchen, a toilet and a bathroom to accommodate ten women.

The Government Order states that Rs. 5 lakh will be spent on each bhavan, which will be built by the Nirmiti Kendra.

‘Cheap publicity'

The decision has also angered progressive leaders of the Yadava community.

“It is an utter shame and appalling that the government has come up with such a disgusting project just to gain cheap publicity and for a vote bank,” said P. Kondandaramiah, a former MP and one of the prominent leaders of the community. “Instead of educating the Yadava community to shed such unscientific and orthodox practices, the government is promoting them. I oppose the move tooth and nail,” he said.

C. Mahalingappa, another Yadava leader and former zilla panchayat president, also took exception to the move. Instead of building these bhavans, the government should open more schools and hospitals in gollarahattis, he suggested.

K. Neela, State vice-president of the Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane, an affiliate of the All-India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), described the decision as cruel to women and against the aspirations of the Constitution.

“The Constitution of India propagates the promotion of scientific principles. But the government's decision is absolutely anti-constitutional and anti-women,” she said.

Demanding the immediate withdrawal of the decision, she said she would soon take a delegation to Chitradurga where such buildings have been constructed.

According to statistics maintained by the Backward Classes and Minorities Department, 13 bhavans have already been constructed in Chitradurga district and three are in progress.

When contacted, C. Manjula, Chairman, Karnataka State Commission for Women, also expressed shock. She promised to write to the government demanding immediate withdrawal of the order.

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