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This Is Why It’s Time We End The Clichéd Modi vs. Rahul Debates

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By Priyanka Chakrabarty:

If you thought small talk was awkward, then the Rahul vs. Modi debate seems to be the best way to avoid that. Even the introverts seem opinionated regarding who should be the next Prime Minister. The nation is absolutely obsessed, but now we need to ask a question. Who does India need? India needs a dynamic leader, who will uphold the values of secularism and democracy, and drive the country towards positive change by involving the youth. Do Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi, fit into this definition? The answer is no. Why not?

Rahul Gandhi, while he talks about problems of the political and the bureaucratic system, is often considered to be a philosopher. While he philosophises the issues of the downtrodden and the necessity of the youth, he is often considered as an individual lacking initiative. He campaigned during the 2012 Assembly Elections, and the results were far from satisfactory. Congress won only 2 out of 15 seats from the Amethi constituency, in Uttar Pradesh.

rahul vs modi

Narendra Modi is one man who avoids all questions relating to the 2002 Godhra Riots because he has already answered “enough”. But is never tired of answering about the growth and development in Gujarat. The four times Chief Minister in Gujarat has a lot of controversies surrounding him. Known for his Hindu Nationalism, and Anti-Muslim ideologies, he does not seem to be an ideal choice for a country whose founding father dreamt of establishing a secular country.

But have we not had enough of these debates and arguments? As citizens of this country and agents of change do we really need to deliberate, to the extent of obsession, that who out of two not so fit people would be fit enough to be the next Prime Minister? This seems extremely prevalent even in the youth circles. More that 50% of the India’s population is below the age of 25. Instead of trying to figure out who is “more fit” to govern the country, why do we not step into politics?

Most of the youth in our country shy away from giving their votes. It is not because they do not want to; it is because they are not aware of the political structure of the country. Politics is one such field and topic which is avoided, or only limited to superficial discussions. We really need to be politically educated, if we wish to bring about any development or change. No, politics is not the only way we can go about changing, but it is a very influential institution. So it is high time that we stop having the clichéd Rahul vs. Modi debates and think along the lines of what could our individual contribution be, for the development of our nation.

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  1. Peen

    Narendra modi will be next primemanister

  2. Ishan Tiwari

    I disagree with you. Leaders cannot be created in a instant. Modi and Rahul gandhi(i.e congress or bjp) are our obvious choices . Secondly I don’t know why people are so obssesd with secularism? I know i might sway towards the idea of secularism in peace time but when push will come to shove in times of dissent and chaos I will stick by my culture and people. It’s basic human instinct to run towards what he knows and understands even if its wrong. The church was not ready to accept that earth revolved around sun because no one understood the dynamics of astrology then but now even a wayward kid knows it . So my opinion about secularism is that given a little time and a long period of peace along with development might help us achieve something really close to it. Modi might or might not be secular that is something that is questionable but not really something we can get to a definite answer on. I believe India needs leader like him. He’s not the the right man for the post but he is the best choice at least in current scenario. Third front no matter how tempting it might look for some can never be a reality in national election and even if it by some god forsaken miracle comes to power can never aptly run the nation because it would be to divided on ideologies and personal gain to run a stable government. All that remains is BJP and Congress and while congress promotes secularism that no one really gives shit about except a learned few who are too high and mighty on humanitarian level that they would stop all work to save a poor man’s life. I believe humanitarianism should not be the clog rather it should be the oil that helps the machinery of society function better because when the society’s machinery comes to a stand still chaos and destruction follow. Modi has shown in gujrat that he is not some dictator he always was and has been talking about India’s development the only flaw I consider is that he has a image that can be effectively used to divide the country but only if we do not have the stomach to keep that secularism we are so loudly talking about to put to good use and maintain a cool head even in case he wins or maybe formulates some troubling policy cause this is DEMOCRACY and people need to understand that Modi alone cannot be the decision maker, even if he comes to power, on major policy of religious restraint freedom and equality in this country. The debate therefore should not be about whether modi will divide the country or not but rather whether he can move the country ahead or not.

    1. sg02

      i agree with you ishan tiwari,
      its not like there are no well-off muslims in gujrat! i am from UP. and when i visited Gujrat, i was really impressed!
      what he has done in Gujrat is worth appreciation, and we must give him a chance at the centre.
      i have been wondering: why is 2014 revolving only around Modi? i wrote an article/blog about it.
      http://shrutighoshal002.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/why-is-2014-all-about-namo/

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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.

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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)’.

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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.”

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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.

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.

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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
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