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We Celebrate Independence Day But Are We Truly Free?

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By Bhavita Kukreja:

Now that we have completed 65 years of independence, I am sure it makes each one of us proud to be a citizen of a democratic country like India. India is the largest democracy in the world. The Constitution of India gives its citizens six rights known as the Fundamental Rights. We have the:

– RIGHT TO FREEDOM
– RIGHT TO EDUCATION AND CULTURE
– RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION
– RIGHT TO EQUALITY
– RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION
– RIGHT TO CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES.

We have the rights and we do exercise them in the most appropriate way, but are we truly free? We did get freedom on 15 August 1947 from the British Rule but now we have to get freedom from a whole lot of social evils and problems that have their stronghold in India. In the recent past we have seen personalities such as Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev sitting on dharna or fasts in order to protest against the Government and its policies that give rise to corruption. Baba Ramdev has particularly been demanding to get back the black money from other countries to India. Hazare has been demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill to punish the corrupt. This is one of a long list of evils that has been highlighted in particular but the others are similarly prevalent in our society today.

What I feel is that India will become independent when we are free from corruption which has to be wiped off from the grass root level. In whichever sector we go, starting from the clerk level to the higher officials, everyone is corrupt. They openly demand money in order to get work done. Even in schools to get a child admitted we need to pay a certain amount of money to these various levels, from the receptionist to the Principal.

The next evil in my view which is important is the female foeticide. Even in the 21st century people take a girl child to be a burden and force the pregnant lady to get abortion done after undergoing a sex determination check. On one hand we have role models like Chanda Kochhar- who was the only female CEO amongst all other men in the list of Top 10 CEO’s of India – and on the contrary, the male-female ratio even today is disturbing. The need of the hour is to change our mindset and give this gender equal opportunities as boys, giving them a chance to prove their worth. In order to create awareness amongst the masses about the protection of girl child we need to first educate them.

Education is yet another necessary step towards Independent India – a nation where people are literate, have jobs, where through the medium of education they can rise up in the hierarchy and live a respectable life as others. Even today untouchables or people from schedule castes, schedule tribes and other backward classes are not given the rights due to which they are ill-treated and get abused, not just verbally but also physically. Untouchables even today in villages have to resort to manual scavenging in order to earn a living.

The crime rate has increased in the cities; not just women are being molested, teased on the way they dress, but also old age people and children are a victim of such crimes. Old women are molested and raped by rickshaw pullers, auto drivers, servants and even acquaintances. There was a time when the aged were worshipped, were looked after; the irony is that now they are treated as a burden and left to live in dilapidated old-age homes.

Today when we do not even cherish or respect what we have, rather we try to exploit it in any which way possible. Then how can we say that India is independent in the true sense of the word? Until and unless we eradicate all these social evils, completely get rid of them I personally cannot term India as independent. For me the day everyone has access to the rights that are their due, everyone is treated equal, manual scavenging isn’t required by anybody, male-female ratio is equal, the aged people are no more a burden but respected the way they should be, women are not exploited or treated as commodities, people are educated, poverty is eradicated and employment opportunities are available to one and all, it is on that day that India will be truly independent for me.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ipsa Arora

    Very true! Independence day just passed and I had no wishes to celebrate it! I would like to share my facebook’s status of that day which holds significance here :
    I am not going to wish Independence Day to
    anybody. I mean why do I make merry. True that we became independent on
    this day and it surely is a reason to celebrate! 70% of the Indians will
    put up pictures of Indian flag as their dp’s today. Even I did it, last
    year. But, where does this patriotism go for the rest of the 364 days?
    Let this day end and we will be back to being ourselves, I don’t need to
    explain what being ‘ourselves’ mean. So people, when your kite takes a
    flight, look in the sky and think, are we really independent?!

  2. Manoj Acharya

    A true and Frank story of independence.
    It just touched my mind
    Salute to youth ki awaaz

  3. Vijay Krishna

    Fact is Fact!

    Today on 15th August 2016, I had the same feeling and I just told one of the person not to wish “Happy Independence Day” to me as I am not really feeling what other developed countries enjoying the Freedom and development.

    Unfortunately some people abused me, misbehaved and said that “if you don’t want others to wish you Happy Independence day then go to Pakistan or Bangladesh.

    Who saves this Country!!!!

  4. Manish Kamboj

    Very very knowleagable and useful for youth
    Thnx kukreja mam

  5. sagar kumar kumar sk school

    Now i can say that you are right and writing skill is too good and is very sensitive mind and through this i can get better knowledge for our freedom of our country so keep going your writing thanxxx

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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.

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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.

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