This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Statue Statue Everywhere: Mayawati and her Statues

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Tanveer Ali:

Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati’s fetish for statues shows no sign of weaning. A few days back, she appointed a special team of police to guard her various installations around the state citing the reason that they were highly probable terrorist targets. This comes at a time when there is acute shortage of policemen in the country.

The correct figure allocated for all these statues is not clear with estimates ranging from 1000 to 3000 crores and some reports stating 10000 crores. It might be noted here that her state Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of people living below poverty line and farmers frequently commit suicide.

In such a scenario, one can only wonder about what such blatant narcissism on her part will mean for the state. Mayawati has got all her priorities wrong. What do these statues do for the Dalits of UP, or India, whose cause she professes to espouse? She says that her monuments help in inspiring Dalits to reach greater heights. I doubt whether any Dalit is really dumb enough to look at a statue of Mayawati clutching her handbag and get inspired to reach ‘greater’ heights. Inspiration is something that comes from self realisation. She has argued in numerous press conferences that the money allocated to these statues cannot be used for improvement of health or education as it comes from the budget of the Ministry of culture and not the health or education budgets. Well, what culture is gained from these statues? The same money would be better utilised in some other culture related area like development of handicrafts, tribal art and other cottage industries. This would immensely help the weaker sections of the society in the state. Mayawati also claims that she is not the first leader in the country to commission statues of their mentors. What she fails to understand here is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Is this a race with the winner being the one who builds the highest statues? Building statues of icons like Dr BR Ambedkar, the father of our constitution is fine. But when you are commissioning your own pieces of metal, you have stepped over the line. She must realise the fact that she is way out of the league when compared to such icons.

It must also be noted that money is squandered by the government on a day to day basis. Most politicians irrespective of their caste/creed squander money. Do you have any idea how much it takes to maintain the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the largest residence for a head of state in the world? But the tone of the hue and cry raised is different when it’s Mayawati. The media should not be partial in such cases and raise the same hue and cry when it’s some other neta. Look how fast the Madhu Koda scam died down. On the other hand, the Mayawati statue issue is still making waves. One point that remains to be noted here is that Mayawati herself is largely responsible for all the attention she attracts; not because she is a Dalit leader but because of her overall character. Cutting huge birthday cakes, frequently shuffling IPS and IAS officers etc are all a part of the Mayawati package. This is where the media must strike a balance and bring out both the shades of a person. She must understand that such issues make the people really forget all the good work that she has done. The Mayawati government has also spent huge amounts on building schools and social upliftment schemes.

As for Mayawati, it’s high time she gets herself a good Public Relation officer and stop screaming about Dalit oppression at every chance she gets. Let’s take a leaf out of the Jews in Israel who did not keep crying about the holocaust and made Israel one of the most advanced and feared countries in the middle east, although mired in controversy. It’s time to stop crying about dalit oppression of the yesteryears and look forward to their upliftment. The future holds the key. Well, one thing I can say for sure is that providing Caste based reservation in institutes of higher education is not an answer to this problem. I will be sharing my views on this topic soon.

The writer is the Andhra Pradesh correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz.

You must be to comment.
  1. seshamani

    i should read this interior matter

  2. mani k

    its good to take action

  3. sailesh

    Haan Awesome article dude…
    i’m sure even mayawati will agree with you on this fact 🙂 :)…so convincing

  4. praveen

    I saw mainly dictators put up their statues during their life time. It is fine to put their statue after they die. I guess our election commission can destroy these statues, since these are kind of canvassing people. $1bn on statues… is that a joke? another million on guardinly dictators put up their statues during their life time. Its fine to put their statue after they die. I guess our election commission can destroy these statues, since they are a kinding it. Are we living in 21st century? Why Dalits in UP/Bihar is still in its worse stage than any other state? I guess Mayavati is feeling herself as a dictator. I hate myself to see this news, coz I am not able to stop this nonsense.

  5. KB

    I am against any kind of statues!! All the statues should be destroyed and land must be freed for useful and meaningful productive works… Lets start from Temples, Gandhi ji, Indira, Rajiv, Nehru, Patel, Ambedkar, and anyone anywhere .. lets see if think only one sided or balanced!!

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Kaustav Dass

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Akash Dutta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below