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What The Fact – India blames women for climate change woes

Published on Tue 02 Nov 2021 at 09:27

There is a sizeable section that peddles misinformation, mis-attributes natural calamities to everything but climate change, and spreads canards about menstruating and jeans-wearing women as being the cause of disasters.

By Varadarajan Ananthakrishnan

It is that time of the year when there is a nip in the air, and you can smell winters around you – at least in North India. This year has been a bit unusual too – with the rains pounding the North, unusual for this time of the year. This year, rains have rather been prolonged and heavy in short bursts. Does this indicate something abnormal or suggest that there is something wrong with the climate?

Any sane, educated person would be concerned about these erratic weather patterns. Terms like ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’, ‘floods and droughts’ and ‘famines’ would probably pop up in your mind. Right? Not right, if you belong to a certain clique of people in India that blames women for these inconsistent climatic changes. You read that right: Women.

We are told that the devastating floods in Kerala in August 2018, that marooned 13 out of the 14 districts in the state was not because of any quirk in the climate patterns, but because menstruating women were allowed to enter the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala, that they were barred from entering for centuries.

If you think that was absurd, picture this: the floods of 2013 was not a result of just the large-scale cloudbursts, but was an effort to remind the people of their sins. What were these sins? The girls in the upmarket Rajbagh area of Srinagar, the first to be submerged in the floods, chose to wear jeans. And that brought about the natural catastrophe.

It doesn’t stop here. The floods of Uttarakhand in 2013, that virtually submerged parts of the state, should have ideally been ascribed to a quirk in the weather pattern – a warning signal that climate change can wreak havoc. But no, if social media narratives are to be believed, the Gods were angry and it was their wrath that was manifesting in the form of flood fury. Many of these believers thought that since the place of the residing Goddess was shifted for a hydel project, the divine powers chose to drown the state with unprecedented rainfall, and hence floods.

If you look at all the incidents described above, it is clear that climate change is at the heart of all these natural calamities. But there is a sizeable section that peddles misinformation, mis-attributes these incidents to everything but climate change, and spreads canards about everything, from menstruating to jeans-wearing women as the cause for natural disasters.

It is actually an ostrich-in-the-sand attitude that takes us away from the main problem – in this case climate change, and instead helps us spin absurd, senseless narratives that leads us to believe everything else, but climate change.  Please recognise and stay away from such narratives.

Till we meet again – stay safe, follow the protocols and always, check your facts.

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