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To Harry Potter — The Boy Who Lived!

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By Rahul Muralidharan:

Harry Potter celebrated his 33rd birthday on July 31 2013. Harry shares his birthday with his creator J K Rowling who turned 48 this July. “28 things that happened after the Harry Potter series “, the recent post doing the rounds on Facebook made me realize how much Harry has influenced us, the kids of the 90’s. We grew up thronging bookstores at every Potter release dreaming of going to Hogwarts, playing quidditch and practicing apparition. “Isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number”. Here are 7 things that we can learn from the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter

1. Courage: Harry in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart, orphaned and shown cruelty by his relatives did not lose his nerve despite numerous odds and managed to brave death and bring down Lord Voldemort. In spite of being a poor wizard, Neville Longbottom stood against his own friends, fought the death eaters and finally killed Nagini. As Dumbledore said “It takes much bravery to stand up to our enemies but we need as much bravery to stand up to our friends.

2. Friendship, Loyalty and Team Work: Harry did not get to the philosophers stone on his own. It was because of Ron’s chess skills and Hermione’s logic that he reached the stone. The tremendous loyalty that Harry showed for Dumbledore saved him from the Basilisk. Remember “I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me… Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup were destroyed by Ron and Hermione paving the way for the fall of the Dark lord.

3. Equality and respect: We must treat our fellow beings with kindness and respect. Discrimination against anyone on any basis is wrong! “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”. Not considering Kreacher to be any worth cost Sirius his life and Voldemort his horcrux.

4. Love:Is it love again? Dumbledore’s favorite solution, love”. Yes, love indeed, the power that the dark lord knows not and the power which finally vanquished him. Love towards others conquers evil and hate and lets us lead a more happy life. Snape, hated by most, turned out to be helping Harry all along because of his love towards Lily. “You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!” said Dumbledore loudly. “The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort’s!

5. The power of choice:It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” Neville could have chosen not to stand up to his friends. Ron could have chosen not to come back after leaving Harry. Cedric could have chosen to take the Triwizard cup. Harry could have chosen not to fight, not to accept death. Their choices determined their paths. When faced with a choice, do what is right and all will be well.

6. Family matters: Harry’s visions in the mirror of Erised, his longing for someone who cared, who sent him posts through owls, Dumbledore’s neglect and indifference that led to Arianna’s death and the split of his family show us the importance of family and how selfishness can break families apart. “I was gifted, I was brilliant. I wanted escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory. Two months of insanity, of cruel dreams, and neglect of the only two members of my family left to me.

7. The truth of mortality: Harry’s unflinching acceptance of his mortality finally helped him triumph against Voldemort who feared death. “Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness”. Our dear departed ones have not left us alone. They live in us and help us live. “Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind the veil, didn’t you? They were just lurking out of sight, that’s all.

The Harry Potter series has seen most of us through our formative years. It is impossible not to fall in love with the story and the lessons we derive from it are not bound by time or age. So when someone asks me “After all this time?” I say “Always “.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ridhi Murari

    Harry Potter is close to the hearts of not just me but millions of people who’ve grown up and yet continue loving the series over and over again. I think it appeals to our inner child who always wants to believe that life is magical and love is the strongest force existing within and without.

  2. Mehul Gala (@mahigala7)

    ‘Always’ Indeed! One of the greatest novels of the 21st century!

  3. Sargam

    Beautifully presented. As a Potterhead, I can’t help but reminisce all the wonderful times I’ve spent with Harry, Ron and Hermione after reading this. Harry Potter has been the biggest phenomenon of our generation. It transcends all boundaries to illuminate the values of love and friendship in each of us. Potter’s people through and through. Always.

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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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