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UFOria: Here’s Why Aliens Think That Earth Is Not Fit For Them

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By Shubhra Kukreti:

Anything that does not identify with us scares us. Things beyond our comprehension startle us and we spend more and more time figuring them out, fascinating about them and let’s say, hallucinating about them. Associated with extraterrestrial life; UFO, as described by the Oxford dictionary, stands for ‘Unidentified flying object; a flying saucer’. Air Force Regulation 200-2,[33] issued in 1953 and 1954 defined an Unidentified Flying Object as “any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.” Reports suggest that UFOs have been spotted even centuries ago. However, no other incident/story did more to put these shiny flying saucers in collective conscience than the episode of Phoenix Lights, 1997 where in the city of Arizona, a large number of people witnessed a triangular shaped saucer in the sky for nearly three hours. Then again, there have been cases of abduction by the aliens; who can forget the Betty and Barney Hill abduction incident,1961 where the couple sensed a sudden loss of memory after they viewed a flying saucer and few days later, complained of having nightmares about being poked by ‘grey aliens’. The phenomenon of crop circles reaffirms many people’s belief in alien life. Various scientific institutes in Europe and the USA are specifically dedicated to the study of UFOs, the term ‘Ufology’ is used to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects. While scientists are busy solving this puzzle, a huge industry thrives on the mystery of flying saucers. Popular media feeds peoples’ imagination to cash on it, movies like Men In Black, Fire in the sky and video games as UFO: Enemy Unknown, UFO: Aftermath are quite famous. There was a buzz about some bright spheres in triangle formation at Arkhangelsk in European Russia on Friday, 4th of January, 2013; but considering the fact that the earth has become uninhabitable for humans themselves, why would they wish to join us? Are they equally curious? Or, I assume the earth serves as their kaalapani. Maybe the erring aliens are deported here. If we transcoded their sonic signals; the message of aliens, I believe, would read something like this:

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Dear Keeper of the Galaxykind,

This is to request you to take us back from the exile on Earth, dump us to whichever planet you wish but here. We know we do not have a right to make a plea; yet your Highness, if you keep us on Earth, the purpose of the punishment would not be met. In this punish-o-yage to the Earth, we sensed that in the land of homo sapiens, humanity is breathing its last. Please do not pretend that you know nothing of the Connecticut incident, Damini case and the likes. We could not even land our prisonaucer safely here as it is so heavily polluted; the smog further caused irritation in our sensory organs. This planet seems to be boiling, it’s extremely hot here.

We heard these men talking about something called ‘Global warming’. Water, which we thought was blue in colour, looks yellow, grey, brown and even black here. Do not they know theirs’ is the only planet with water? May be since you showered them with all the conveniences imaginable, they have become so spoilt (more spoilt than we are, we swear). We nearly choked out of breath as there was very little oxygen available. Earth stinks! It stinks of CO2.

There are so many moral maladies here; these men take extra money to do a job which is actually their duty, they call it ‘Corruption’. Let’s pray corruption never reaches our people, it is far more dangerous than our little brains allow us to imagine. Of course they do have their mechanism, something termed as religion and spirituality for dealing with moral maladies, but your Highness, due to the smog when we wrongly landed in India(well, in school we had read India was the most spiritually aware country on Earth! ), we saw a humungous crowd in a field. We wore the invisible coat and what we heard next was incredulous, a man called Akbaruddin Owaisi was addressing ‘Muslims’ and we could easily make out that he was inciting them against ‘Hindus’. We did not like the ambience of that place and left but later discovered that ‘Islam’ and ‘Hinduism’ are two religions to reach God (May be, it’s you they call God) but the followers of the two are constantly fighting.

Wherever we went, on the beaches or mountains and forests, we found large packs of men spoiling the flora around them. Since we were invisible to them we easily navigated from one place to another but men, it seems, do not enjoy such freedom of movement; they have ‘Borders’. How funny! We guess they won’t reach us ever because if they have a vision so narrow, they will never be able to make a leap to ‘over terrestrial faith’.

Moreover, this earthly humour is beyond us, men say really nasty things about each other and then articulate a LOL after that, it leaves us confused. Yet another strange thing we noticed is that men gaze less on faces but more on Facebook. They use their brains less but rely more on Artificial intelligence, we read in our books that man’s is the supreme intelligence. Does not it mean that he should be of help to those who are lesser abled? But he exploits them, his greed knows no bounds. We observed that fat men had more food to waste; the needy boney ones had nothing. The big houses had no people but the small thatched roofs overflowed, there was no water in the taps yet tons of it to attack the agitators, or as they put it, the common man. Oh yes, we really don’t get this; how do they decide about being important? To us, they all are the same with different but equally important functions.

Dear Keeper, the list of man-made maladies is never ending. In a saucer-shell, please do not keep us on the Earth; we might come back becoming ‘important’. We might become men.

Yours faithfully,

The lost ones.

Photo Credit: Luz Adriana Villa A. 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.

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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.

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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