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

The Wealth In Our Homes and Culture

More from Varun Shrivats

By Varun Shrivats:

Ever wondered why the word “homesick” came into existence, while a word like “housesick” couldn’t do so? Because when people are away from their natural place of living — they miss more than just the “house” part of it. They miss the memories attached to it, and the people and the events that gave birth to those memories. This brings out the difference between the words “house” and “home”. When a place of stay is given a meaning, a life which reflects that of its inhabitants, it transforms from a “house” to a “home”.

A very important entity that helps transform a house to a home is one called culture. Every one of us must have come across this word at least a million times, and many have even decided to dedicate their career in doing research and studies related to this word, but how many of us (here, the content of “us” has been narrowed down to resemble the phrase “us Indians”) are actually proud of our version of this word? Put simply, how many amongst “us” have shown sincere appreciation of our Indian culture?

If there is one inherent trait of us Indians that represents the “two sides of a coin” phrase most appropriately.  It would be the one that lets outsiders have their way with us. Right from the time of arrival of the Aryans up to that of the British-our country has been one easy place for foreigners to come and rule. This has had it’s pros and cons, and 9 out of the top 10 pros are just different ways of saying that our culture became richer, and we became more advanced technologically.

Any sociologist would agree with the fact that the Indian culture is one of the richest in the world. Our culture is an amalgamation of several cultures, which prevailed in different parts of the world, during different time periods. The number of religions and languages in our country is a testimony to the vastness and richness of our culture. Apart from being rich, our tradition is also one of the oldest, dating back to 8000 B.C.

The Indus Valley civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It was also the most prosperous one of its time, making it a stand-out civilization. Then, this civilization died down, and in came the Aryans. They too, got with them, fresh new aspects that were added to our culture. Theirs was one of the most important and talked about immigration and their interaction with the indigenous people- the Dravidians, led to a smooth blend of the two cultures.

This pattern continued. Different time periods saw different people come to our country and rise to power, like the Mauryans, the Guptas etc. Greek Ambassadors were sent here, and this further helped enrich our culture. While all this happened in the north and middle parts of our country, the south was witnessing parallel periods of change, with rulers like Pallavas, Cholas, and Cheras rising to power and subsequently declining.

Another important conquest was that by the Muslim rulers of the middle-east, and hence was witnessed the rise and fall of the Delhi Sultanate. After this period, the Mughal emperors reigned over our country for several centuries, before the British and other European countries invaded it.

One big drawback of the British invasion was that unlike previous conquerors, they did not come here to live and help us prosper. They came to exploit the people, physically and economically, for their own benefits. But till this time, no empire (maybe with the exception of the Mughal Empire) reigned throughout our nation, and hence when the whole country was cruelly exploited, the concept of a “nation” got instilled in our minds for the first time. In the meantime, new elements kept adding on to our culture.

Now, after independence, the fad of the day seems to be to follow and ogle at the westerners and the rock bands that they follow. I’m not trying to say that this is entirely bad. All I’m trying to say here is that there is nothing shameful in ogling at, or at least appreciating our own culture. I have to say this, because the youth of our country don’t really seem to agree with this. Listening to classical Hindustani music is apparently not as cool as listening to Iron Maiden or Led Zeppelin.

The questions that are about to be asked following this are not meant to be forceful. They are merely posted with the intention of helping people contemplate on the way they perceive their culture. In which other culture can we get to experience vast and intricate mythologies, like Ramayana and the Mahabharata? In which other culture can we witness so many beautiful dance forms, like Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi? In which other culture can we enjoy art portrayed so exquisitely, like the wall paintings of Ajanta and Ellora? In which other culture can we marvel at astounding architectural masterpieces, like the Taj Mahal? And which other culture spans over a land as huge as ours?

So I think it’s time for us to realize the importance of Our culture and traditions. These are too important to be lost due to carelessness and disregard. Oh and one final sentence: No need to look for cultural richness elsewhere; it’s all here- in our homes, in our culture, and in our country: India.

Image courtesy: http://www.indiacultureblog.com/2010/09/18/translations-%E2%80%93-a-big-part-of-indian%E2%80%99s-culture/

You must be to comment.
  1. Chetan

    Very Nice Varun. Every youth of our country should read this article and admire our culture.We must introduce classical music into our education nad encourage people to take History as their career this might help too.

More from Varun Shrivats

Similar Posts

By Vivek Verma

By Taha Iqbal

By Imran Khan

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 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below