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Of Getting Lost In The Growing Web Of “Whys”: 15 Reasons Why I Don”t Understand What’s Wrong With India

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By Vaishali Jain:

I don’t understand why an Indian man was killed because he was an Indian in a Pakistan jail after 22 years of misery, and all the authorities did was talks. Hollow talks.

poverty in india

I don’t understand why a celebrity accused of homicide runs a campaign called Being Human. Talk about irony.

I don’t understand why a certain man is called The Silent Sikh when he can still ask questions like ‘Theek Hai?’ on his own behalf!

I don’t understand why the political parties don’t pause for a minute from their agendas and show us their humane side. The recent floods in a sacred place could really do without their power showcase. Someone tell them — accusations don’t help.

I don’t understand why the worst painting I’ve come across is not by my dog but by the politicians who paint on the canvas of my country.

I don’t understand why everything foreign dazzles us. The breaths of the newborns of our own nation might be suffocating since decades but the media is more interested in the newborn of a nation whose monarchy has lost its power.

I don’t understand why the population of lizards, roaches, and worms have increased so much that they take a dive in mid-day meals these days — so very often.

I don’t understand why the handful of honest people we have, get suspended for being right. But, really, when people can be put to jail for putting forth their views on the internet, they must think twice and this is something we are already accustomed to by now. Honesty is certainly a risky parameter.

I don’t understand why terrorists don’t realize that they are not required to throw our dear lives into a catastrophe. Our politicians make special efforts everyday to achieve that feat.

I don’t understand why people admire the men on the cricket ground a hundred times more than the men on the battlefield.

I don’t understand why a celebrity convicted for being involved in a gruesome terrorist activity presents Gandhigiri in his movies.

I don’t understand why freedom of speech comes with a price.

I don’t understand why they like to make small pieces even smaller. I have a strong feeling that my age will never outdo the number of states in India.

I don’t understand why we get zero tolerance back into our faces when we ask for zero tolerance for crime and corruption. This is intolerable.

I don’t understand why my country is suddenly being associated with all things wrong. Maybe we’ve earned it.

This is not our culture. This is not our morality. This is not our Incredible India. If there are two sides of everything, then perhaps we have been enduring the wrong side for way too long.

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc

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  1. sambhav

    Absolutely brilliant! Kudos to the writer! 🙂

  2. Anonna

    Only a person who write poems could have come up with such a piece. Bring all the problems faced by our nation in the recent past into a single article is a feat. The article was a really good read.

  3. Aditi Thakker

    Agree with most of what you’ve said except the smaller states bit and Indian man in Pakistani jail. Why exactly are smaller states a problem? When we gained Independence from the British, Ambedkar had said that states are administrative provinces that should not only focus on linguistic and cultural affinities but also represent realistic administrative units. There is no point of one state housing a fifth of the country’s population, while the smaller ones only have a few lakh. When the State’s Reorganisation Commission was formed, they recommended creating states on the basis of language and culture. The critiques of that had said, states need to be made on the basis of population. No more than 2-3 crore people a state, with dedicated Ministries, Courts, Welfare Committees and funds directly aimed at reaching that state. Federalism doesn’t work if we maintain false affinities in the form of huge states.

    As for the Indian man in Pakistani jail, he was a convicted terrorist. Even if he wasn’t really a terrorist, he was illegally in Pakistan, without passport or visa. Just because some man decides to get drunk and crosses an international border, and get convicted of a crime there, doesn’t mean our government has to be dedicated to get him back to India. More important issues deserve the government’s attention, like Indians jailed in Indian jails on false accusations living a life of misery for 22 years.

    Nevertheless, you’ve written an amazing piece. These are just my views on States and the Indian man in Pakistani jail.

    1. Raj

      Liked your point about Indians being convicted abroad

  4. Ridhi Murari

    So simplistic yet accurately voicing what every Indian somewhere feels. Great job ! Share the sentiments.

  5. Raj

    Well this is indeed our culture and our morality since we subscribe to a socialist mindset in which the politicians and the intellectuals treat the masses as mere pawns who are to be controlled in the manner they see fit and to be sacrificed for their designs.. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Pretty much everything you have listed can be attributed to this

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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