The year is 2016. The day, 1 June. This time and date check is essential for those mistakenly wondering after reading the header whether they have been somehow teleported to the 15th century.
A man in Maharashtra has allegedly ended his relationship with his new wife, with the blessing of a village panchayat, after she failed to pass his virginity test, according to media reports. Now, one would think that whatever happened behind closed doors on the night of consummation of the marriage was a private affair involving only the couple. Right?
According to this report in the Times of India, the man was allegedly offered a white bed sheet by the panchayat to sleep on on his wedding night and later report to it if it had blood stains -- a makeshift and medieval test for determining a woman's virginity.
The husband allegedly showed the spotless sheet to the council, convinced that his wife had not broken her hymen, and inferring that she was not a virgin. The council held that she has failed the 'virginity test', and allowed him to end the relationship 48 hours after he had tied the knot.
In an age in which women are breaking barriers in all professions known to human kind, sailing ships, writing codes, guiding missiles, spending hours spacewalking and managing homes, they are still subjected to humiliating and invasive sexual 'purity' tests, often against their consent, as proof of their 'moral character'. The dubious results are used to further marginalise sexually active women across the world.
The news follows a ban in Maharashtra, the first in the country, on village councils from imposing "social boycotts" that ostracise the marginalised -- be it women dressing 'immodestly' or people committing to inter-caste marriages.