Surat, June 18: The gruelling ordeal of a Surat woman will remind one of Sita, the main protagonist of the great epic Ramayana.....that is if we look from a feminist perspective. THis 25-year old was happily married with a husband and two kids, way back in 2013. But that was short-lived.
She was abducted by 5 men in 2014 and raped for repeatedly for the next 8 months. By the time, she escaped from their clutches, she was 24-months pregnant and disowned by her in-laws. She lodged a complaint with the at Ranpur police station in Botad district on March 16. She knocked at the court's door seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy but met with a rude shock when it asked her "to bravely go ahead with the pregnancy and when time comes, deliver the child...".
Now at her parents' home with her husband (who left his parents to be with her) and children. Things were fine until her family was harassed. She was forced to go through a 'Chokha Thavani Viddhi' or a purification ritual, which is conducted by a tantric or a priest who performs black magic.
Here comes the strangest part. The tantrik takes a pinch of barley seeds and asks the person whether he has even or odd number of seeds in his hands. If the answer is right, the woman is pure, otherwise not. The second stage involves putting 10 Kg of stones on the head until the time the Tantrik is satisfied that the woman is telling the truth. Members of the cillage justify saying,"sometimes it takes months to purify as people lie initially but Goddess knows it all and finally they have to speak the truth."
The Devipujak community, to which the woman belongs, is very particular about this unusual ritual. If found impure, the woman will be ostracized from the village. But there still is a ray of hope-her husband, who says whatever the result be, he would never leave her side.
The fact remains, whatever the era be, it is the women alone who require a 'certificate of purity' with no chances of this humiliation, rather obscure, irrelevant, ritual coming to an end.