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Saffron Terrorism and White Corruption

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By Kunal Anand:

Home Minister P.Chidambaram’s recent statement about “saffron terrorism” has evoked the response he and his government would have expected. The Opposition is up in arms calling it an affront to the majority community. Congress spokespersons were quick to call it the opinion of an individual and distanced the party from this controversy. They say Sonia or Manmohan Singh had nothing to do with P.C’s remarks. It’s like saying that the U.S President had nothing to do with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the entire blame lay on the pilots who dropped the bomb! Let’s get it straight and clear- “Terrorism has no colour” and if our Home Minister is adamant to give a colour to it, then the best he could do was calling it “black terrorism”. After all, hasn’t terrorism blackened our lives and times?

I am not going to waste time discussing the merits of Chidambaram’s statement, because I sense a bigger and sinister agenda hidden behind it. Till last week, the whole country (including our Opposition parties and media) couldn’t get enough of the mammoth corruption in the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee. What should have been a final stamp on the growing prowess of India has turned out to be a shameless specter of money laundering and loot. Right from the beginning, both the Delhi Government and Kalmadi and co. were busy telling us that CWG will be a watershed event. Heavens have shed more than enough water on their plans and they themselves are busy shedding crocodile tears. The UPA government’s response was predictable. Tough statements from Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about how the guilty won’t be spared and feeble action involving sacking of few scapegoats. They did the same during the IPL controversy by diverting all the heat on Tharoor-Lalit Modi and letting the BCCI bosses walk away scot free. This time, it’s Suresh Kalmadi who was paid for his loyalty to the grand old party.

There’s also a huge resentment about the shameless way in which the salaries of the MP’s was increased threefold while the country is reeling under double digit inflation. Kashmir, Naxals, fake encounters, so many failures in such a short period for the “Common Man’s Government”.

Enter the man who saved the Government’s face when their Home Minister Shivraj Patil was facing the music post 26/11. He saved the day by donning the mantle of Home Minister then. He is saving them now by diverting our entire attention now. What was the point in giving colour to a menace that doesn’t choose its victims based upon religion? And what message has the Opposition given by supporting the MP salary hike bill and shouting about the colour of terrorism? How do I trust a government that lets off the culprits of one of the biggest scams in independent India and whose investigating agency (CBI) is being accused by a respected IAS officer (Geeta Jowhri) of coercion to implicate their political opponents? As an Indian, I will rejoice the hanging of Kasab or Purohit, provided their crime is proven beyond doubt. But our system gives me very few opportunities to do so. It takes less than 5 years to hang the assassinators of Indira Gandhi while the mastermind of the attack on our Parliament in 2001 still eats biryani at the taxpayer’s expense. It takes the suicide of over lakh farmers to bring their miseries in the eyes of the media and politicians while it takes just a few cheap speeches by Lalu Yadav to increase the salary of our MP’s.

At times I feel we all are amnesic. We tend to forget our problems, miseries and the wrongs done to us quickly. We forgive the culprits easily and embrace for the next slap on the face of our democracy without batting an eyelid. We debate the colours of terrorism instead of fighting it. We support our corrupt governments in making CWG a success on the name of “national pride” forgetting the poor who have been displaced and the mammoth amount of money that has been siphoned by those who were supposed to account for every penny.

The ease with which our politicians and bureaucrats fool us every time makes one thing very clear. No matter what colour terrorism is, Corruption is surely WHITE in colour. It doesn’t hurt our eyes, can be easily concealed behind the white colour of our netaji’s kurta and like the white colour in our national flag, it’s deeply engraved in our day to day life. More people die at the hand of this corruption than at the hands of Hindu and Islamic extremists. We can win the war against terrorism of every colour Mr. Home minister. But what about the white corruption rampant in the country that you call home?

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  1. Abdus Hazarika

      Its a pity that their Hinduism has nothing to do with the wondrous spiritual insights found in the Vedas and Upanishads , in the two epics and in the the sublime verses of the saint poets. But it has much to do with a kitschy,  populist religion that can be harnessed to demonise the muslims and denigrate the chrisrtians and stigmatise the hindu who doesn’t share their vicious beliefs as a progeny of Marx and Macaulay. But for them it is puritanical. I just hope I have not hurted anyone with my above comments. But it is a fact not a fallacy. Being an egalitarian it hurts to be a mere witness of social in justice.

    1. Kunal anand

       Abdus, its a pity many fellow Indians become  an easy target to such misguidance at the hands of our politicians. If all of us can look into the devious agenda of these netas,they will stop playing the dirty games

  2. Abdus Salam Hazarika

      Its a pity that their Hinduism has nothing to do with the wondrous spiritual insights found in the Vedas and Upanishads , in the two epics and in the the sublime verses of the saint poets. But it has much to do with a kitschy,  populist religion that can be harnessed to demonise the muslims and denigrate the chrisrtians and stigmatise the hindu who doesn’t share their vicious beliefs as a progeny of Marx and Macaulay. But for them it is puritanical. I just hope I have not hurted anyone with my above comments. But it is a fact not a fallacy. Being an egalitarian it hurts to be a mere witness of social in justice.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)’.

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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
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