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IPL Spot Fixing Saga: Why Is One Of The Most Worshipped Indian Domains Getting Corrupted

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By Sango Bidani:

When the news came in that S. Shreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested for spot fixing in IPL games, it didn’t come as a surprise but caused great anger, pain and saddened an ardent cricket lover. The irony of it all, Rahul Dravid, one of the most honest, hardworking, true sportsman of the game, his voice choking as he told about the three players from his team having been caught, was a most gut wrenching site. It was a tragedy waiting to happen to Indian cricket given the total lack of accountability of the BCCI to anybody and the fact that the BCCI refused to engage the Anti Corruption Unit in making sure that the IPL remained clean. Will the BCCI ever wake up from its never ending, defiant slumber?

iplNot too long ago, Pakistan’s Mohammed Ameer, Mohammed Asif and worst of all, captain Salman Butt were caught doing spot fixing and were jailed for a specific number of years for being involved in spot fixing. Similarly, Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria, playing for English County team Essex, was charged with spot fixing, along with a team mate, the trial of which is still going on in England. Last year also, five umpires were caught on camera having discussions with bookies regarding what decision to give, in favour or against which team. In IPL itself, two cricketers were arrested last year for being involved in taking recreational drugs. And while initially they were suspended, both of them, perhaps unsurprisingly played in their team’s matches in this year’s IPL, the team being Pune Warriors India, and the players being Wayne Parnell from South Africa and Rahul Sharma from India. Even before that five IPL players were banned from playing in IPL matches on the grounds of being suspected of being involved in fixing. So, it was not as if the BCCI was unaware of the possibility of such a thing happening in IPL. It was purely a case of lack of will power to tackle corruption in the domain of cricket so that the game would not get implicated for running a fraudulent cash rich league. This was a tragedy waiting to happen to Indian cricket and unfortunately, even an extremely talented but temperamental player, who played in some of the greatest test matches in the Rainbow nation, got involved in this.

We would do well to remember that when the three Pakistani players were arrested and convicted, then there was a heated debate on national television and even in national dailies whether this was a distinct possibility even in Indian cricket, especially the IPL. At that time, most of the cricket commentators in India, as well the BCCI officials dismissed the idea and brushed the issue under the carpet. We believed that Indian cricket was untouched by this and nothing like this would happen in Indian cricket. However, many ardent cricket fans knew that this was a wilful brushing under the carpet of the issue, given that in 1999-00, Ajay Jadeja and Mohammad Azarhuddin were banned for life for being involved in a bigger corruption, match fixing, along with the then tainted South African skipper, Hansie Cronje, who subsequently died in a plane crash. Interestingly, the ban on Ajay Jadeja, was revoked in 2012 and he immediately started coming on national television as a cricket expert on the pre match and post match analysis shows on Sony Max, related to the Indian Premier League. Surely, it becomes clear from this, that the BCCI was just not serious enough about rooting corruption out of cricket. At least, until now, big ticket corruption in Indian cricketing circles was unknown, save for the incident involving Azarhuddin and Jadeja, who were caught match fixing. But as Harsha Bhogle rightly said, cricket is just a microcosm of the society at large, and since nowadays, we wear corruption as a badge of honour on our sleeve, it’s not surprising that corruption has even reached the domain of cricket.

There is enough evidence to show that BCCI is just not interested in rooting out corruption from the game of cricket. The fact that the BCCI is against WADA dope tests taking place randomly, and the fact that BCCI is not under the ambit of the Right to Information Act shows the lack of will power to get its act together and ensure that at least one domain of society, which the whole country worships and watches, remains clean.

One can only hope that at least now, when such a big taint of corruption has been seen in a mega event like the IPL, the BCCI wakes up from its long, defiant slumber.

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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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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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