Tag Archives: Menses

Ladies in menses

7 March, 2014
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Signage: B. Merwan & Co.

Signage: B. Merwan & Co. (1914)

Frere Bridge, Grant Road.

There was nothing chummy about getting your chums in 19th century Bombay. Ladies in menses were confined to a special room, made to sleep on beds that resembled funeral biers and kept away from any festivities, ceremonies or socializing.

On the rare occasions when menstruating ladies made public appearances, as witnesses in cases at the Supreme Court for example, the entire courtroom was made aware of their condition.
The priests who swore the witnesses refused to let the ladies touch the sacred book while taking the oath. When the judge ordered ‘Tell him to swear her in the proper way, or I will dismiss him’, the priest was forced to put the book in the lady’s hands and his own hand over the book as he swore the witness.

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