As we hold protests and mark various movements advocating women empowerment in the country, there are cases of oppression against the females in the country. While the women in urban areas have found a voice for themselves to some extent, the rural ones remain in the dark. The prevalence of superstitions in the rural areas is also not new but the intensity of the same is highly felt in some villages. The village of Bhilwara in Rajasthan follows a ridiculous practice in the name of healing! In the Bankaya Mata temple, an extremely regressive practice is followed of women being forced to drink water from their husband's shoe. Along with these, there are several other rituals which the women have to go through in the name of religion, which is utterly degrading, to say the least.
Women from the nearby villages are forced to carry shoes on their heads and walk for miles. Women have to also carry shoes in their mouths and drink water from them! If that's not enough, they are then allowed to be dragged down the 200 stairs of the temple to get rid of the evils and possessed spirits. These strange 'exorcism rituals' have been existing here from decades together. The women dragged here are labelled 'mentally unstable' or 'insane' and all these rituals are an apparent cure to them.
The human violation was captured by a photographer years ago. The practice is totally ridiculous and most of the times it is the young women who have to go through it since they are also made to marry early in life. At times, someone who has not even had a mental illness is likely to suffer from one given the atrocities they are made to face. Patriarchy remains deeply imbibed in Indian society and combined with rigorous beliefs of superstitions, the women are bound to suffer. It is really a time to think if we are really ahead on women empowerment when such practices still continue in the remote parts of the country. These practices compromise humanity in the name of healing.