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Here”s How Students Can Combat Political Corruption

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By Priyanka Peeramsetty:

The diversity in the country has a very positive multiplying effect on the strength of unity; this is the reason behind India emerging as a powerful nation economically and politically. India, the Queen of our adoration, has entered her 64th year of independence. After trying hard to recuperate from the colonial rule, she is now trying to emerge as an empowered nation, giving tough competition to countries like the USA. Despite her long and sincere journey, she is standing at the crossroads at this juncture and the famous adage — “The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer” still holds good. Why? What’s wrong?
One word explains it all- Corruption.

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Scams like 2G spectrum, the Indian Premier League, Adarsh Housing and the Commonwealth Games made us understand the gravity of the situation. These scams are equivalent to treason; they can be fought over only once the roots of the system are cleaned. As per the world corruption watchdog, The Transparency International 2010 index; India stands at the 87th position among 178 countries with a corruption index of 3.3. The politicians who are expected to protect the system aren’t worthy to hold that position because as of December 2008, 522 of India’s parliamentarians were facing criminal charges. Political corruption is the stimulant, as we look beneath the layers; there are a few factors responsible for it.

Freedom for the implementation of laws: Several officers are appointed to take care of the enforcement of the prevailing laws but the lack of freedom to the vigilance officers to charge action against the ill-doers is spoiling the entire system. Lack of punishment to the corrupt officials encourages them and hence they dare to get involved in bigger scams. Politicians are above the law and people are fed up, all they want is to see if the government has got a political will to fight a decisive battle.

Delayed justice: We all know that justice delayed is equal to justice denied. With time, our laws have been a saturated stagnation. We have fixed laws, but they would be more accountable if they are flexible for various circumstances, places and times. Corrupt officials have paralyzed our judicial system by now, which made the people lose their faith in the same. We have needed it for so long that we almost forgot about it — The right to justice in time.

Black money: Unlike yesteryears, the concept of black money came into limelight, thanks to the media’s coverage. As per the statistics, Indian owned Swiss bank assets account to $ 1.4 Trillion, which is thirteen times our country’s national debt. One definitely doesn’t need to say how accelerated our progress might be if these assets are used for the country. The reason for this is the rich politicians wanting to evade their huge taxes. The youth has witnessed all of this over the years with their frustration at its zenith and have waited for a proper time; time to do something, to change the system. It recently got materialized when the anti-corruption crusader, Anna Hazare, started his movement demanding the Lokpal bill at the central and Lokayuktha at the state levels. This Gandhian follower adopted one of the most effective mediums through which he could express his zeal for self-sacrifice and amalgamate all the youth for one noble cause, for the betterment of country — Hunger strike and Non-violence. This has spread over like wild fire, its reverberations and ripples are felt all over the nation. Movements like this gain momentum only if empowered and taken up by the student community.

Swami Vivekananda says, “My faith is the younger generation — they will work out the whole problem like lions”.
Immense strength + quest for knowledge + Proper time = weapons of the youth. Youth, though young in age, are eternal in strength.

They can utilize their right to express the dissatisfaction with the functioning of the system and their grievances publicly. As corruption is the greatest stumbling block in the way to development, it needs to be eradicated from the grass root levels.

A drive against corruption could be initiated where students can voluntarily go to and make awareness campaigns, teach moral science and educate people. Social networking sites offer a platform for an online revolution; they can make clubs, discuss and join in to support the leaders fighting against evil. But it is to be noted that success in such attempts will drive our country’s state in a positive way, only if this movement continues through a mobilized, organized and dedicated students’ network. This would definitely stop the canker of corruption.

On a side note, in this silent yet powerful step we are going to take, Indian women could be our inspiration. Anyone would earn money for his family, if a corrupt officer brings a lot of money home, an ideal wife/mother wouldn’t encourage it. If it’s not for his family/future generations, the chances that he does those barbaric acts will be less, or in fact zero.

As the saying goes, कुपुत्रो जायेत क्वचिदपप कुमाता न भवतत ।
There can only be a bad son, never a bad mother.

So, the youth should be inspired from her – the woman, the Shakti. Here, we can integrate this issue of corruption to the education of women. If we give women more priority and make them the backbone of our society, a lot of other issues would also be solved. This will bring a massive change and after a generation or two, the amount of corruption in the society would be stunted even if we may not be able to eliminate it completely.

Often there is one change/breakthrough that is required to solve numerous puzzles. Like in research, our society is also a big complex system, for a much more rigorous brain that is trying to comprehend all. The onus is on the students to use their intellect for the re-building of the country which is now engulfed by corruption. It’s going to be a long battle, so we have to keep the spirit strong. A few whole hearted, sincere and energetic young people can do more in a year than a mob can in a century. Let a new India arise. It is the will that is power and will make a deep impact. We will surely achieve an ideal nation that we have been dreaming of.

Jai Hind.

Photo Credit: najeebkhan2009 via Compfight cc

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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
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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