Field notes

Oscar fame helps sweep away taboo on sanitary pads

A group of women in the Indian village of Kathikheda are now looking to expand their manufacturing of menstrual pads as the stigma fades

KATHIKHEDA (Uttar Pradesh) • A procession of young girls winds through a narrow village with paved streets They sing devotional songs to the Hindu goddess Durga - "To cajole you, we come to your court" - in a pitch high enough to match the ratcheting heat ahead of the searing Indian summer.

It is a sight common across north India during the Chaitra Navratri festival, when Hindu households invite nine young girls representing the nine avatars of Durga and worship them. An important rule: The girls must be pre-pubescent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2019, with the headline 'Oscar fame helps sweep away taboo on sanitary pads'. Print Edition | Subscribe