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What Women Need And What The Government Thinks Women Want – The Sindoor Versus Sanitary Napkin Controversy

What Women Need And What The Government Thinks Women Want- Thesindoor Versus Sanitary Napkin Controversy
Credits : Preeti Roychoudhury Editing : @Frameshade

The Uncommon Box is a forum where everyone can express their ideas and opinions. The Socio-Political environment we live in, often throws some challenges at us- situations mostly, that challenge our thinking as ethical beings.

In that context, this post might have been up on Facebook as a short note but, well it should be documented in a way that we can return to it for reminders.

Well, the media is going all hammer-and-tongs after the Indian government’s decision to make sindoor tax free while sanitary napkins are still out of the purview of such so-called benevolence.

For those who need some more clarity – let us understand the use of the sindoor

“That streak of red vermilion that is the sign of holy matrimony carried by much married women. The sindoor is simply the ‘mark of a man’”

If I may borrow from a typical all male advertisement. Yeah, it is a kind of warning to other men to ‘keep safe distance’ from its wearer because she is already owned by another.

Interestingly and much to the consternation of auntyjis and mummyjis, the sindoor is growing ‘out of vogue’ in cosmopolitan environments. Of course, western culture and cable tv connections which beam that western culture into the drawing rooms and bedrooms of people are blamed. Education of girls also apparently is a big corrupting influence.

But the sindoor nonetheless makes its crimson appearance for all occasions and festivals. Mostly out of tradition, sometimes out of choice.

At this juncture, let me ask you a few questions:
  • What is the percentage of women using sindoor then?
  • Is it as large as the percentage of women who menstruate?
  • Who are the companies manufacturing sindoor?
  • Are they influential multi-national companies who make a killing by making sindoor?
  • Many local brands of sindoor are also manufactured, isn’t it?

My point is- the feminists have got it wrong this time.

This step taken is not about women or their rights.


“The companies, stand to lose much more revenue if sanitary napkins became cheaper than sindoor. Simple logic!”

That is all there to it- or is it?

Not at all.

Is this the first time that a social system has looked at the big bucks at the cost of women?


Let me prove it by citing two simple examples:
  • History will tell you which the oldest profession in the world is.

It’s prostitution.

There are societies which have legalized prostitution, and there are societies which haven’t. Both make money out of it- and what about the plight of the women in this trade? Well, the average age of the sex worker is getting lesser because of increased child prostitution and much remains to be done for the health and welfare of the women caught up in this profession. So we have a fancy system where sex tourism brings in the big bucks but the government would happily turn a blind eye to the sordid truths of HIV and AIDS afflicted women, or women who suffer traumatically at the hands of sex maniacs who buy their bodies for a few hours. ‘Sanskari’ much isn’t it?


  • The multi-billion dollar beauty industry:

What does this industry selling dreams of fair-skinned-happily-ever-afters feed on??

It feeds on the insecurity and fears of the women who constantly feel the need to live up to the standards of beauty set for them. So fairness creams, diet pills, hair removal creams, wrinkle remover lotions are sold by computer graphics-enhanced-actresses or beauty queens who are living this anxiety out themselves in their personal lives. When real issues of body shaming or objectification of women need to be dealt with, we are told to apply that fancy under eye gel, or use some fancy lingerie to bring back the poor errant man into the relationship.


So you see, it is nothing personal against women – it is all about the money.

“But the issue lies in the simple truth that when money is all we count, people and their lives, their voices stop mattering.”

Now there lies the real danger as I see it.

Disclaimer : “The views expressed in this article are the views of the writer. TUB may nor may not subscribe to it part or full.”


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About the author

Team TUB

Team TUB

The Uncommon Box (TUB), is a pannier with uncommon treasures from our very own common surroundings. Everything in this world is unique in its own way; it's just the matter of realizing and appreciating it. We are here with our thoughts which have been gathered from the common lives we are living. We believe in the special or uncommon that remains undiscovered or unnoticed in our routine hectic life. The aim of this community is to ‘be uncommon and do uncommon!’

About the author

Preeti Roy Choudhury

Preeti Roy Choudhury

Admin & Content Developer

Educator, author, seeker, mind-traveller, photo-enthusiast. She finds herself in Sufi poetry and as well as behind the lens of her camera.

Author and curator of Soul City- a book on the Inside stories of Calcutta, she is also a published poet. Music is soul food to her.


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