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Know What The Indian Youth Feels About Family And Major Life Decisions

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By Pooja Malhotra: 

While taking major decisions in life, such a choosing a career or selecting a life partner, we are often faced with a dilemma — would the choice of career/subjects/courses of study/the subsequent career path/ the chosen spouse finally be the right the decision in such critical matters. With globalization and new technologies sprouting newer choices every day, career selection is becoming more and more complex; there is more confusion than excitement. In this scenario it is natural that we fall back upon our parents and trusted adults for guidance, relying on their rich experience and mature thinking.

Taking parental advice, while selecting a career, is very important and so is conducting a good study at a personal level. Building a consensus with trusted adults is the need of the hour. This enables you to understand what you like, what is your own aptitude and what you CAN do. But the ultimate decision should be yours, because unless you have not decided it yourself, you will never be able to take it seriously. Career choices can never be spoon-fed; if they are, they usually become worthless because one day you will realize that you CAN’T do what others want you to do, and by that time a lot of resources and time would’ve already been wasted,” says Mahasweta Ganguly, a student of Biomedical Engineering (M Tech),VIT University, Vellore.

Following their parent’s advice and accepting their decision as the final verdict may be a huge vindication for many of us, but there are others who disagree. “There are budding students who develop an attraction towards a new career option, while parents prefer to stick to the beaten path and play safe. There are parents who enforce their unfulfilled ambitions on their child, making him/her take up a prestigious career that they could not achieve. In fact I’ve also come across parents who simply want their child to follow their footsteps and take up the same career, so that their child can succeed them. They don’t take their child’s potential or choice into consideration while imposing their decision on him/her. Questioning my parent’s choice has been challenging for me, but my battle against them continues…” says Ayushi Tandon, a class XII student who belongs to a leading public school in Delhi, wondering if they’ll ever reach a consensus.

This paradox inspired us to conduct a poll titled Young people must build consensus with their parents for major life choices like marriage and career. What do you feel on a social networking platform. A whopping 81.8% of respondents agreed that young people must build a consensus with their parents and that consulting & discussing their future plan of action with them is important. “Communicating with parents, conveying what you think are your strengths & weaknesses and what you want to do with your life, discussing everything in detail with them creates an understanding. And finally we are able to reach a level, where compromises are made on both sides…we are able to nurture a transparent and open relationship where communication is possible, and there are no inhibitions. Such is the impact that the child learns what is right and wrong, instead of just being told what is right and wrong. To build a consensus, there should be a lot of support from the parent’s side and 100% honesty from the child’s side,” adds Ganguly.

On the same note, Rahul Gogia, a student of MTech at IIT Delhi shares, “I think parental advice is of prime importance. They are the two people in the world for whose stance one can never doubt; you can blindly trust that they want only the best for you. They have experience on their side i.e. they have faced the consequences of good and bad decisions over the years, so their story is a real time version of how things tend to work out.”

“My sister wanted to become a professional dancer. She had a discussion with her parents. They concluded that while such a profession was her passion and she could scale great heights, there were risks involved based on society and the culture that we come from, in addition to the competence levels in society. She was advised to complete a professional degree in a safer domain like architecture or engineering first and then, explore other avenues. Today she’s glad that she complied,” adds Rahul.

Career and marriage choices are one of the more passionate decisions that a person has to make in their life. Unfortunately, these have to be taken at a time when the person may not have the maturity and exposure that is required so the scale of importance of these decisions is also not apparent to them. This is where the role and relationship with parents kicks in.

On the other hand, the 13% who disagreed feel that parents and governments, even society should be stringently kept out of the cognitive and decisive palace of individualism. They feel that though parental authority in India is very strong, they would prefer to have their way and cede their choice of career or life partner rather than build a consensus.

To sum it up, “The problem with the mind is that it wants everything! It wants the advantages of the choices it makes…advantages of the choices it has sidelined and simply bypass the disadvantages.”

You must be to comment.
  1. Prachi Oza

    there is a generation gap between us, our friends and our family members. Koi bhi ek dusre ko nahi samjhega. In such a situation the best thing to do is take up the good and adjustable points from both the sides, keep yourself calm and focused and take your decisions by yourself on the basis of what you can do the best, be it whatsoever. You know yourself the most and the best. Believe in God and in yourself.

  2. dr zara

    well said….

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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.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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