It’s shocking that virginity tests are still a thing in India. Some communities in Rajasthan and Maharashtra practice it. Brides are made to undergo this ritual on the wedding night. Caste Panchayat members wait for the groom to declare the bride as “pure”.
The Kanjarbhat community, a nomadic tribe, has its own way of testing a bride’s chastity. Community elders take the couple to a hotel room and wait for them to consummate the marriage. Then, the groom comes out with a white bedsheet. The bride passes this test if there are red stains on it.
In 2013, 450 women were forced to undergo virginity tests, in the tribal district of Betul in Madhya Pradesh. This was done to ensure that married women didn’t claim the Rs 9,000 being offered to the bride. In 2016, a 20-year old girl of this community from Maharashtra had to take this test. When she “failed”, her marriage was annulled. In her defence, the girl said her hymen broke because she was training to join the police force. Later, her husband apologised for putting her through the ordeal.
Now, the youth of the Kanjarbhat community have taken matters into their hands. They have formed a WhatsApp group called ‘Stop the V-Ritual’ as a campaign against this patriarchal tradition. There are 40 members in this group from the Kanjarbhat community. This small step might go a long way in ending this inhuman practice.