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Have I Failed My Country?

By Ankit Varma:

Young India, a rhetoric used quite too often in the past decade but I fear that a dismal tranche of us even have an understanding of such sense of responsibility and expectations the country has from us. I have been part of the young work force vested with the responsibility of changing the fortune of the country for over a year now. And have I made the country better place to live, have I given a hope to any of my country men? The answer is a disappointing ‘No’. I haven’t done any of that. Apart from paying a modest income tax I haven’t made any effort at all to improve the living conditions of people living in dire poverty, or reduced communal tensions in any neighbourhood. I have failed my country.

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Being a teenager in India in the late 1990s and early 2000s was  very exciting. Markets had just opened up, industries and knowledge sector was booming. Hundreds and millions of possibilities had just opened up. Everyone was talking about India, a country whose children will witness the greatest journey of a country from the third world country to a superpower, a force to reckon with. Youth of the country was often projected as the magical flower that would blossom one night and the following morning India and its citizens will have not have anything to worry about .

That did not happen. We are a brilliant country with a disastrous governance. I have very limited knowledge of good models of governance. But for me fundamentals of any form of governance is honesty and selflessness. But what we have here is a corruption at multiple levels. Why only the politicians, a lot people who clear sacrosanct exams like the much hyped IAS often find there tenures marred by corruption charges. Every year thousands of young aspirants appear for the coveted exams like the IAS and IPS, a talented lot makes through. They get into the administration and they end up making the world worse with their compromised sense of integrity. A point I fail to understand is the use of such academic brilliance if you cannot promise something as basic as being honest.

Rahul Gandhi, the yesteryears youth icon, was the one we should have modelled ourselves on. But he also happens to be youngest and arguably the greatest failure of recent times. I believe that Rahul Gandhi’s biggest failure is not his election losses, but his failure to inspire. Akhilesh Yadav came as a refreshing entry, a highly educated young leader who came as a glimmer of hope in the politically infamous turf of UP. This hope was short lived. By inducting people like Raja Bhaiya he soon made his intentions clear. ‘Do not have any hopes from me; I’m no agent of change’.

A major challenge the youth of country is facing today is the absence of a young leader. Youth today cannot connect with seasoned politicians say for example LK Advani. The primary reason for popularity of Narendra Modi is the fact that he is youthful in his ways. Whether it’s his aggressive use of technology and social media or his action based politics (contrary to Rahul’s gesture based politics).

The youth of the country has immense potential but is directionless and more importantly, without a leader. We need a 21st century leader capable of rising above religion and caste based politics and guide the young to the India of our dreams, the one we all had set out for building. I need a leader to inspire me and can promise my country a future we all dream of.

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  1. Raj

    The problem with India is it’s obsession with “leaders” and frankly your article wants more of it. How about we go the other way? Let’s get rid of Government from our lives as much as we can. Let’s get rid of most our politicians , civil servants and ministers and let’s have a country where you are free to do pretty much anything except hurt someone else. Law,order and justice should be the only proper functions of a Government. In such a case we won’t need to have exceptional leaders, even mediocre ones will do, since the functions of the Govt. will be few and strictly restricted.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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