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SHOES AND INDIAN ELECTIONS

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Vikasendu Agarwal

This election has started a whole new ball game in India-throwing Shoes at leaders.This game of Iraqi origin has become very popular in India though we do not have experienced players yet, all three have missed their targets till date.

It was a reporter who started the Indian version of game by hurling a shoe at our Home minister -he missed the target, was evacuated, arrested,interviewed, released, reinterviewed and forgiven twice-once by Congress party and second time by P.Chidambaram-within a span of hardly an hour. I’m still trying to figure out why he might have to be forgiven twice!DidChidambaram have no faith in forgiving capacity of Congress as a party, what have been going on in his mind-Juta khayen ham aur mafi de party ka official spokesperson,ye kahan ka nyay hai.Whatever ,now, where does it leave the doubly forgiven culprit, what might he be thinking-meri jindagi bhar ki mehnat barbad kar di,ek baar juta phenka,who bhi laga nahin aur ab agar roj ek congressi mujhe maf karega to meri to puri jindagi maf hote-hote nikal jayegi. Anyway, no damage to anybody except for the person who picked up the shoe and is still unconscious .
Final outcome for the nation-A leading anaesthesia making company has offered the reporter a handsome amount for all his used socks, he has accepted the offer and company’s share price has skyrocketed resulting in gains for millions. Congress are now proudly singing their new slogan byJairam Ramesh-JUTA KHAYENGE,SAMRADHDHI LAYENGE.
Second to go for it was a retired school teacher in Haryana,he was fully drunk when he decided to take a shot at Naveen Jindal,A congress MP andindustrialist. It is common belief that the booze company had sponsored him and they were planning to use the episode for promotion of their brand as a Concentration Enhancing Liquor had the shoe not missed the MP. Immediately after hitting the MP ,the teacher was supposed to address a press conference where he would have disclosed the name of the brand and made his booty. Now there is some confusion in the booze company as the teacher is saying that he be paid the agreed amount in full because he missed the aim due tocompany’s fault-when he said that he wanted last peg on the rocks, he was taken to a rock about 10 metres away from the place where he was originally planned to sit and as a result he could not take aim properly. Now he says that if the company does not pay him the agreed amount he will call the Press conference and disclose the brand name.
Third one took aim at LK Advani,his slipper missed Advani by kilometres and had the electronic media not highlighted his chappal holding hand repeatedly by encircling it with a red fiery line, nobody could have noticed him and we might have lost this saga of bravery. Advani was visibly upset after the incident for many reasons. First one being -Itne bade kad ke neta ko miss kaise kar diya. Second, he learnt that the chappal was a local cheap brand made of recirculated plastic collected by some Bangladeshis. Third, the person who threw the chappal was an old RSS/BJP worker who had attended Shakhas for many years. Advani was upset at what the Shakhas are teaching these days-one person who claims to be going to Shakhas since early childhood can’t take aim at such an important target, What is the future of RSS then .
A Bihari Bhai has developed a technique which gives an accuracy of 97.368 %at a distance of upto 25 meters with a certain brand of shoes thrown after consuming a certain brand of booze taken with a certain brand of soda and is starting a school called “Juta Mar Desh Sudhar School”.When asked how he reached the figures of 97.368 and 25 ,he told “Simple hai Bhaiyya ,ee hamar lucky nambarwa bhaye”.When asked about particular shoe ,liquor and soda brands,he said “Kaa tohar akal bhaisan charane gayi rahin,arre bhaiyya,bhizniss kar rahe hain koi majak nahin na hai,ee company sumpany sub hamarsponsor bhail ,ee ka jikarwa na Karin to dukan kaise chalin,poora ka poora vigyapanwa ka kharcha ee deban rahin hai bhaiyya”.Asked about his future plans he tells “Bhizniss bahut potensal wala hai bhaiyya,ek bar larka log juta nishane par marne lagen phir dekho.Hum teen category ka larka taiyyar karenge,ek jo bare netaon par jute uchhalenge-gaur kariye ye marenge nahin sirf uchhalenge ,juta stage ke pass se hota hua neeche gir jayega.Juuta aur phekne wala donon janta ko saaf-saaf dikhai dega,4 news channel ko hum libe kubrage bech diye hain,yahi hamar sabse menhaga larka log bhaen.Doosari category mein who larka log rahin jo chappal hath mein le ke khare rahin jabtak koi aa ke pakar na lebai.Yeh thore chhote netaon ke liye hai.Ab bhaiyya har koi aira gaira neta pe chappal mar ke brand ikity thore na khatam karni hai.Ham koi Amitabh aur Sarukh nahin hain ki ek-ek rupiya ka tel ka puriya bechne chal dein.Teesra catgry mein juta rokan wale larke rahin,yeh pahle kam jam jaye tab lane ki soch rahe hain,juta chalega to rokna wla ki demand bhi ayegi bhaiyya,bari bari partiyan khareedengi ise.Yeh to amrika tak jayenge,Obama jab khari mein jayega to oo ka kahbat rahin,ander ka ghera-inner circalwa ma yahi log honge.Ham to ye shart bhi rakhenge ki pakrahua juta pe hamara hi adhikar hoga,Sasur ko neelam kar ke dugna munafa kamao.To yeh hamari planig hai bhaiya,ab kya hoga yeh to oopar wala malik jane ,baki kasar ham koi chhor nahin rahe hain,1-2 saal maein market issue bhi lana hai bahiyya. Achchha bhaiyya Ram Ram ,tum bhi koi larka ho to bhejo,biznis chamakne tak har larke pe 500/- ka kamishan de rahe hain,accha chalat hain,ram ram”
So, much for the elections and potential business and forex possibilities they genrate.
Rest later.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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