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Is Baba Ramdev’s Movement Politically Motivated? Is It Good For The Masses?

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By Anshul Tewari:

If only fasts could root out corruption, we would have been an honest nation.

After Anna Hazare it is Baba Ramdev’s turn to come to the limelight with his fasting strategy against the black money stored in Swiss bank accounts. Beginning June 4th, Ramdev will fast to act against the Government and put pressure on them to bring back the black money stored in swiss bank accounts.

The board displayed outside the Ram Leela maidan, which talks only about a Yog Shivir.

While he will fast only for 14 hours on June 4, Ramdev has already been circled with allegations that his move is politically motivated and is nothing but creating a ruckus for the UPA Government. Moreover, this fast does not seem be all that apolitical, and his supporters seem to be confused. Ramdev has been a known supporter of Hindutva ideologies and this time too, support from RSS has raised many questions. A report in NDTV shows how the people who have come to attend the Satyagraha are confused whether it is a Yog shivir or a campaign against corruption. Ram Leela maidan has been booked for one month and all that the board outside of it says is that a Yoga camp is being organized by Baba, free for all. Best strategy to gather support and mobilize people.

We even asked a few people standing inside the Ram Leela maidan about the fast. One of them said, “Baba iss baar free ka Yog shivir laga rahe hain, main to wahi dekhne aya hu”. (I have to come to attend Baba’s free Yog shivir). When asked about the satyagraha, he said, “Haan, baba TV pe bol to rahe the, lekin iss baar free ka Yoga bhi sikhayenge” (Yes, baba was talking about it in the Television, but he will also teach free Yoga this time).

Moreover, this fast should not be seen as a movement for change, but rather as a part of competitive politics to challenge similar groups of the civil society and to showcase the Babas’ power to mobilize more people than anyone else could.

Do these campaigners have any clue of how the corruption works in India? Get real! Do you think that a downtrodden labourer living in a far flung village of Balgudia, troubled by the local police master would be able to make use of the Jan Lokpal Bill (for instance)? Do you think that the real Indian, the aam admi would care about fighting against a strong politician and possibly jeopardize his job, his meals, his house, his life? It is time to get real!

Baba Ramdev is a rich man worth millions of dollars (check this report) and still claims that all he owns is a Saffron dhoti. His property is in thousands of crores. Had he been so self-sacrificing, he would have made sure that the poor benefits from his Yoga for free. He would have donated a small amount, if not a heavy one, to the education of the poor children all over India, establish first class schools with the best teachers, worked to eradicate child labour and stop the huge sex racket going on in Haridwar and Rishikesh. Does he have any clue about the deep rooted problems of India? If they really want to change the face of the country and establish honesty in the bloods of the people here, they must pull in their resources (which they are spending on organizing lavish fasts) and put it to better use. A visit to his home-village would show you the condition his own family lives in.

The people of his village and Shankaracharya himself have stated that all this is a political move.

Baba Ramdev’s fast to protest against graft stands in contrast to the one of activist Anna Hazare not just in terms of the lavishness of arrangements but also the fast itself. (source)

CNN IBN had exposed how Babas’ board was openly collecting donations in Lakhs to fund his Satyagraha. An open support by the RSS and BJP has raised even more questions as to whether all this has been formulated and politically motivated.

Had Ramdev put the same power behind fighting for the rights of the real India, he would have been a bigger Hero. For me too! How can a man, who makes derogatory comments about peoples’ sexuality and psychology, understand the need of the hour? If only 14 hour fasts could help.

Irom Sharmila Chanu has been on a hunger strike since 2000, protesting against AFSPA in Manipur. True fighter, this lady has left no stone unturned to prove that she is the Iron lady of Manipur. She is force fed by using nasogastric intubation.

On May 20, 2011, National Alliance of People’s Movements leader Medha Patkar, seeking amendment to the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, sat on an indefinite hunger strike in Mumbai. She ended it on the eighth day on May 27 after the Maharashtra government declared setting up of two joint committees comprising members of the civil society to look into irregularities in slum development projects. (source)

Gandhi ji, who was a leader of the masses, a supporter of non-violence, also used to fast to put pressure on the British Government. His longest fast unto death agitation lasted for 21 days once in 1933 and on another occasion in 1943.

These are the people who set examples by fighting for the real causes. They do not preach, do not demand media attention and do not make use of derogatory language to prove their point. They are not motivated by political parties or power.

Will Baba enter politics? No one knows. May be he will. But is his charm strong enough to garner votes? A question we will ponder upon in 2014.

As of  now, the reality is that this fast, like any other, looks like just another move to display the strength and mobilization power the Baba has. If he really wants to eradicate corruption, he must first start by working for the betterment of his people by engaging in social activities beyond Yoga.

We would like to know your views on the issue. Please vote below and do comment in the section below.

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  1. Tarun Goel

    Is it 4th July or 4th June?

  2. Adityawalia9

    Extremely negative thinking of the writer. Dont think that you are the only person who wants to bring the change. Everyone has his or her own way. You have the power of pen that doesn’t mean you can challenge any1’s way. India is a free country, If any baba or any other citizen of India thinks that he is not satisfied by government, he has full right to oppose it. And talking about the intensions , who are you to judge his intensions. Don’t question the ability of an individual to bring a change. Yes these people don’t have power right now, but they are sick of the problems they are facing in their day to day life. If they think that baba is doing something right, then they will join. And talking about the so called property of Baba Ramdev, its not his property its the property of trust. He is just a member of the trust. And why the hell you think that every good thing in this world must be free. Why the hell should give up his money or the trusts money. He has not used any immoral way to earn them. He is a teacher from whom many have benefited. Unlike our politicians he is the men of action. He has helped Indians before and He is trying to do that again. Why can’t a common man come out for the problem of other common men.

    1. Anshul Tewari

      Thanks for your comment Aditya. Let me try and answer your comment point by point.

      1) I never said I was the only person trying to bring the change. Everyone has his own way and view, and this is my view. This platform allows me to present my view and you to present yours. If tomorrow, you send in an article in support of Baba Ramdev we will make sure it is published and circulated widely, in the same manner this article has been.

      2) If baba thinks he is not satisfied with the country, he has the right to protest. Similarly, if I think baba is not correct, I have the right to protest against him, and you have the right to protest against me.

      3) I might be no one to judge his intentions. But as I mentioned in the earlier points, I have the right to question it. I never said he has bad intentions, all I did was look at the negatives that I saw in Baba Ramdev’s campaign.

      4) They do have power. Tremendous power. 4 senior ministers will never go to visit a baba to convince him had he not been powerful.

      5) Why everything should be free? No, everything must not be free, but the least that a billionaire can do is provide the poor with free education. I am not talking about the 2 of us getting free education, buddy.

      His words echo those of RSS, Aditya. And that is the simple reason why this article came up. As I said, you have the right to differ. Thanks for your comment, and do keep commenting. 🙂

    2. ramneek singh

      then why dont you go and do anshan and see if you can turn tables on the Govt….Baba is just exploiting his publicity and that too amongst those who were sitting idle, had no work … came to join baba’s yog camp which further had hidden political ambitions….Baba has no time to see and ask about the people( who participated in the camp)..who have broken their bones and are lying in hospitals..And if tommorow ‘a seudo-revolutionist like baba becomes a leader..you can imagine how better will he take care of u and your counrtry my friend.

    3. Anshul Tewari

      You are right Ramneek.

  3. Nscomp

    Where is balkrishna and swami Purnanad ?

  4. P Lalit Naidu

    anshul tewari 🙂
    i just want to ask you one question!
    whats wrong if a person wants all the black money to b declared national property ????
    whats wrong if a person wants to purify a nation in a peaceful manner ??
    tell me one thing dat babas done which doesnt seems democratic and just?
    while political leaders have been launching chages after charges on him
    calling him thug , an sly thug(digvijay singh)
    n what not 
    he has chosen not to comment at ny body yet ………………….

    1. Anshul Tewari

      There is nothing wrong if a person wants all the black money back in India. But we often fail to think that what would happen when the black money returns in India. What is the guarantee that it would be put into the nation’s development. So rather than rushing into bringing it back, Baba should analyse the situation better and first fight for formulation of a policy to regulate the black money, and then to bring it back.
      And he has been commenting on almost everyone since.

  5. meghavarshini krishnaswamy

    Firstly, Baba has been talking about patriotism and love for the Motherland since time immemorial.In  every yoga session, Baba talks about avoiding bribery and asks people to pay their taxes. He has always spoken fearlessly against corruption. The bhajan session always has a few “Matribhumi” songs. He used his popularity to give momentum to this movement. Both RSS and the VHP sent its leaders and just because Baba is a Hindu sanyasi does not make his fight against corruption wrong. We have to stop using the Hindutva lable and bringing in the  RSS’s past record and take a stand on real issues. This movement was long planned and Baba has been campaigning for more than 2 years.
     If Baba has asset worth billions and is part of this conspiracy, then his eviction has managed to expose the fact that the Congress is desperate- they called the cops on sleeping people, beat up women and children and made Baba wear white, which only gave the movement public sympathy(rather like Jayalalitha arresting the Shanaracarya). Our Government, so spineless when it comes to Kashmiri Separatists and Naxal supporters  screaming anti-India slogans evicted a bunch of non-violent protesters protesting for change. It has not been proved that there was any anti-India or anti-Muslim slogan “baazi” so I’d like to congratulate our beloved  Ministers on finally proving that they can act violently and kill a movement if they want to and have exposed how hollow the Indian democracy is. It is hoped that Baba Ramdev and all the supporters of the Lokpal Bill come out in even larger numbers and continue protesting.  

  6. Njssdjk

    Rather this article seems to be politically motivated.

  7. Vivek

    From Baba Ramdev’s and Anna’s movement Goverment will understand that is Not the supreme athority above the voice of Nation.. Goverment is for the service of nation which current goverment cannot do..

  8. ramneek singh

    There are some basic things, if understood, can solute all the fuss about (BABA) Ramdev…the question is—
    1.is he really a BABA ?
    By ‘yogi’ or ‘Baba’ we mean somebody who denounces worldly luxuries and pleasures,,, he travels in a chopper, lives a lavish life, has PA’s, secretaries, managers….only that he wraps himself in a saffron cloth and wears a ‘khadaon’ is not enough a reason to call him a BABA.
    2. Baba says he has no interest in joining politics.
    if he is a BABA he must not understand the govt’s intricate work culture. He must hold it reserve at the back of his head that Running a Govt is not like running a yog shivir. He talks so lame that even a 9th standard student can rectify ‘his list of stats’
    Now when he has enough money and fame..the only left out is ‘power’..which is what baba is craving for…it is pretty clear that he can be anyone but a sanyasi…A seudo-Baba who is a yes-man of seudo-patriots like RSS and all.

  9. Kush Sharma

    I would appreciate if the writer could get some of the facts right, in first place:

    Mr. Ramdev might be having trust/empire worth 1100 crores but he paid all his taxes and his organisations are being audited regularly…I hope, being rich is not at all any crime !

    You ask whether he will join the politics, I guess he has already announced publicly, couple of years back, of entering into politics and fighting LS’14 elections. You ask whether he has any clue about the deep rooted problems of India ? I would request you to go and have a research over his past 3 years activities; they would speak volumes about his lots of social welfare activities.

    Also I don’t find any link between person’s view about sexuality and the state of affairs ? You or I may not agree to what he says on this, but how come you infer that he is not a good administrator/politician by this?

    Just like you, even Chidambaram spoke abt hand of RSS/BJP behind Ramdev’s protest. What’s wrong whether it is politically motivated or not ? Are they harming someone ? Did they ask for bandh ? It’s peaceful non-violent protest (atleast so far). You speak as if RSS/BJP has no right to question the current corrupt and inept govt.

    I’m not a supporter of BJP or Ramdev but I strongly support the cause for which this entire agitation has been started!

    1. Anshul Tewari

      Mr. Kush,

      I would equally appreciate if you also have a look at a few facts.

      1) Baba Ramdev duly paid his taxes. Good for him! Ask any person who is well aware, and add to that the knowledge of a tax expert, a balance sheet is not the final document showcasing a person’s total wealth. There are a number of annexures involved, which are not counted. Moreover, what came forward was the money only from the trusts. His organization also runs Pvt Ltd companies, and there are two more projects started this year whose books haven’t been made yet. So, the number 1100 is only related to his trust, not his other incomes, not his companies and new projects.

      2) Yes he declared last year that he would join politics. If you read the article in context to the current happenings, you would realize that I mean to talk about usage of the current agenda to join politics, create a follower base, and then being a part of the herd. Let’s discuss this point after he joins politics, and when we see real time reforms from his side.

      3) Did you research over his past 3 years of life? What you see is not what is always right, Kush. I respect the fact that you have read my article very carefully and have had good points to debate on, but visit Haridwar sometime. You will get your answers about this question. There is a thin line between social welfare for social good and social welfare for personal good. I don’t know if he crossed that line or not, and trust me, neither do you.

      4) Yes! RSS/BJP do have a right to ask, and they must. That is what the opposition is for. To keep the Govt on its toes. But you must also understand that if there is a hand of these organizations behind Baba then there are vested interests in it. And you are asking what is the harm? What is the harm of a campaign with vested interests of political parties. Think again!

      5) Even I support the cause. But I can never support the fact that someone might be fooling us in the name of social welfare.

      I would love if an year down the line I am proved wrong. But till the time I am not, I do have my right to question, and right to opinion, and being a journalist I will keep analyzing situations, not from a hunky-dory perspective.

      Anyways, I love to get comments that keep me on my toes 😀

  10. Tumul

    Dear Lalit,

    I support your wards and yes there is nothing if somebody or some baba fight against kala dhan or corruption. Dear its right if kala dhan comes to the India. It will make drastic change in our country. The same scenario was in the past when India was fighting for independence. At that time and this time the goal is nice way we can think and comment. But the main thing the moto and the thoughts behind the movement neither that time nor this are right. That’s why only in more than 60 years of our independence our development is depends on world bank’s money. Our youth is unemployed whereas too many seats in the government sector are vacant. Today also major part of our country is far from the education. Many peoples sleeps on the road corners/footpaths without taking their food. So, is this India was been dreamed by our beloved martyrs. No, never. On the path we got the independence was not properly right and also now this baba is not raising his voice in right manner. Its right behind this is RSS, VHP and BJP which can’t take the movement to the end. As they are also the agents of industrialists, who’s kala dhan is in focus today. So, can you imagine the ironic positions. Dear, why didn’t this baba raise his voice against unemployment, contract system and our new education policy.
    Dear today we have major problem is of unemployment, education, day by day decreasing facilities in government hospitals even the government shows at every moment our growing population.

    Long live people unity. Long live people movement.

  11. shraddha

    I agree with the writer of this article there is a difference in the two types of fasts that have been held the first one was a protest in which the public participated voluntarily , the second one was led by a person who had to mislead the public into following him by claiming it was a free yoga camp. Baba ramdev has the right to protest just as much as Anna hazare does but are we sure his intentions are as honorable as Anna hazare’s were ?? can we be sure that he did not do all this to add credibility to his image of a leader who can mobilize support and organize large scaled protests ?? do we want another leader whose integrity and intentions are questionable ??

  12. SONIA

    baba ramdev says”BRING BACK BLACK MONEY”
    IF THIS HAPPENS “400 CRORES AGAR VAPAS AYA ” THEN
    KYA KYA HOGA
    1. INDIA FINANCIALLY NO. 1 HOGA
    2. EK ZILE KO 60 HAZARCRORE AUR EK GAON KO 10 CRORE MILEGA
    3. 20 SAAL TAK KISI BHI TARAH KA TAX NAHIN HOGA
    4. PETROL 25 RS. DIESEL-15 RS MILK -8 RS
    5. NO ELECTRICITY BILL
    6. INDIA KA BORDER CHINA WALL SE BHI STRONG HOGA
    7 PURE DESH MEIN1500 OXFORD UNIV. KHUL SAKENGI
    8. 28,000 KM RUBBER ROAD AS IN PARIS TAIYAR HO JAYENGI
    9. 2,00 HOSPITALS ALL MED. FAC. FREE
    10. AUR 95 CRORE PEOPLE WILL HAVE THEIR OWN HOUSE

    THATS IT

    SO JAI HO BABA RAMDEV

  13. manjeetsingh

    IF THIS HAPPENS “400 CRORES AGAR VAPAS AYA ” THEN
    KYA KYA HOGA
    1. INDIA FINANCIALLY NO. 1 HOGA
    2. EK ZILE KO 60 HAZARCRORE AUR EK GAON KO 10 CRORE MILEGA
    3. 20 SAAL TAK KISI BHI TARAH KA TAX NAHIN HOGA
    4. PETROL 25 RS. DIESEL-15 RS MILK -8 RS
    5. NO ELECTRICITY BILL
    6. INDIA KA BORDER CHINA WALL SE BHI STRONG HOGA
    7 PURE DESH MEIN1500 OXFORD UNIV. KHUL SAKENGI
    8. 28,000 KM RUBBER ROAD AS IN PARIS TAIYAR HO JAYENGI
    9. 2,00 HOSPITALS ALL MED. FAC. FREE
    10. AUR 95 CRORE PEOPLE WILL HAVE THEIR OWN HOUSE

    THATS IT

    SO JAI HO BABA RAMDEV
    There are some basic things, if understood, can solute all the fuss about (BABA) Ramdev…the question is—
    1.is he really a BABA ?
    By ‘yogi’ or ‘Baba’ we mean somebody who denounces worldly luxuries and pleasures,,, he travels in a chopper, lives a lavish life, has PA’s, secretaries, managers….only that he wraps himself in a saffron cloth and wears a ‘khadaon’ is not enough a reason to call him a BABA.
    2. Baba says he has no interest in joining politics.
    if he is a BABA he must not understand the govt’s intricate work culture. He must hold it reserve at the back of his head that Running a Govt is not like running a yog shivir. He talks so lame that even a 9th standard student can rectify ‘his list of stats’
    Now when he has enough money and fame..the only left out is ‘power’..which is what baba is craving for…it is pretty clear that he can be anyone but a sanyasi…A seudo-Baba who is a yes-man of seudo-patriots like RSS and all.

  14. Aditya

    After reading the above comments,
    ->i agree he might not be baba but we can take him as a teacher who unlike politicians helped many people through his teachings.
    ->many are saying that his protest is politically motivated. Even if it is politically motivated then what is wrong in that. If he wants to enter in politics , then what is wrong in that?
    ->See those who have cheated this Nation are not fool, the time spend in discussing the motives of (baba) Ramdev is not beeing wasted by them. They are trying their level best to shift the point of focus. They might even move their money or do anything. They wont give up. The main motive of this protest was to raise voice against black money. And through media the main focus has shifted, now everyone is discussing about the motives of (Baba) Ramdev. and no one talks about the black money
    -> And if one has to question the motives then please someone tell me
    “IT TAKES MONTHS TO ACT AGAINST TERRORISTS AND ALL THESE CORRUPT POLTICIANS, WHAT WAS THE CRIME DONE BY PEOPLE THERE AT Ramlila Maidan , THAT GOVERNMENT WAS SO FORCED TO TAKE ACTION EVEN AT 2AM”

  15. Ankit Dwivedi

    Getting support of RSS doesn’t make a party or team communal… If the cause of protest is in favour of nation, and everybody has a right to come forward and support. It…
    In this manner, ve should stop opertaing social works at small scale in Indian towns as many of them are supported by RSS…
    To believe in what is spread about an institution is not correct, and to propagate the same is worse.
    I suggest you to have a walk inside a RSS evening camp, where you can realise the real face of RSS, which is packed with patriotism and social work.
    I am not a RSS supporter myself, neither do I deny involvement of some RSS members in communal activities, but to defame a big institution is not correct. It is just as calling every pakistani a terrorrist.

  16. Ankit Dwivedi

    Talking about the multi crore business trusts

    1. These trusts are earning money by sale of their products in our country. What is wrong with that? They are not taking away money from the indians or depositing it in overseas.

    2.Infact, they are using Indian knowledge of Ayuredic treatment( which is one of the best in the world) for preparing medicines and cosmetc items that are purely herbal and environment friendly.

    3. They are giving employment to thousands of indivisuals in their firms and are paying off them well.

    4. They are promoting use of Swadeshi products, that was once the dream of Gandhiji (But today, WE ARE USING ‘GANDHI’ AS A TAG OF POLITICAL MOTIVES AND ARE GIVING HIS TEACHINGS AND MOTIVES A BACKSEAT). It is not all, we are ready to RAISE VOICE AGAINST THOSE FEW, WHO ARE WORKING FOR THE CAUSE, CREATING ROADBLOCKS IN THEIR WAY,WITHOUT DISCOVERING THEIR ROLE IN NATION BUILDING.

    5. We readily question motives of these trust by having a look at their financial accounts, but why don’t we present our views at the same time about multinationals selling alcohols and cosmetics in our country.

    6. These trusts are involved in work of research and development in field of medical science.

    So before we question their motives, we must make sure, we know enough about them….

  17. Ankit Dwivedi

    A humble request to all the youth… through this platform… Playing the role of watchdog is important and necessary, but relying on oral or written words of individuals is not enough… When we are presenting our views… We must make sure that we have done a first hand research on the issue.
    Reading following words was not a good experience
    ” Had he been so self-sacrificing, he would have made sure that the poor benefits from his Yoga for free. He would have donated a small amount, if not a heavy one, to the education of the poor children all over India, establish first class schools with the best teachers, worked to eradicate child labour and stop the huge sex racket going on in Haridwar and Rishikesh. Does he have any clue about the deep rooted problems of India? If they really want to change the face of the country and establish honesty in the bloods of the people here, they must pull in their resources (which they are spending on organizing lavish fasts) and put it to better use.”

    Donating money to NGO’s or performing fund raising programs or wearing a ‘Being human’ is all that we call social service?
    1. Baba ramdev along with his thousands of supporters are involved in a variety of social activities. They are not only giving free medical service to the poors, but also organising free medical camps in most of the district in country.
    2. Patanjali yogpith has a team of volenteers in every district that provide free yoga education at regional levels. Regular yoga sessions are conducted in which anyone can take part for free.
    3. Baba Ramdev has opened many educational institutes as well where they are enrolling students and giving them world class education on yoga, ayurvedic practises, pranayam and physcal exercises. Also, his trust are working upon research works on our ancient epics, which are full of extraordinary techniques of living a healthy life.
    4. Wherever paid yoga camps are organised, one day is kept free for the local natives who are not in state of paying even nominal charges.
    5. Bharat swabhimaan is working for democratic decentralisation and 14 wings of it, which comprises of doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, teachers etc. are working as volunteer for making people politically aware at grassroots of democracy.
    6. The research and development team is keen on using present day machines and techniques for utilizing our oral traditional ways. They are preserving thousands of herbs that are rare and are on edge on extinction.

    Its not right to judge everybody under same umbrella… Our focus should be being good and not proving our goodness, else they would’ve promoted their activities rather than still keep on working…
    Financial figures and criticism does not depict real picture of the scenario, so we must go on ground level where these works are being done.
    If we have the power of pen, we should promote work of those people who are working for the welfare of human being (I am not advocating promotion of Baba ramdev or any of his trusts, but people who are doing selfless service within or outside his organisation), but most of the times we fail to do that, because people love to read criticism rather than appreciation.

  18. Geet Purwar

    What is wrong if Baba’s movement is politically motivated. Every citizen of the country has the right to enter politics. Over that his demands made are good for country that we need to focus at the moment. This article reflects negative and poor thinking ability of the writer.

    Look at the good works done by his trust and himself. Over the years he has made persons aware of various social issues like Black money, corruptions, etc. His followers consists of various personalities like lawyers, doctors etc and even Dr. Subramanian Swamy himelf (writer, please google if you don’t know him. I suggest to visit http://rajivdixit.in to listen some thoughts).

    Finally mr. writer don’t act like another frog leg puller. Instead if you have such guts, bring out your own movement and lets see how much change you can bring. Think positive.

  19. Ankit Dwivedi

    If fasts could not root out anything, we would have been a British owned nation…!!

    Definitely, these fasts have a mass appeal…It’s not that the people leading these are getting limelight, Its the people, who readily face hurdles and yet coming and taking part in thousands.. who are going to change the destiny of this nation…as it happened nearly a century ago.

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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.

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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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