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Unnoticed In Delhi: My Experiences With The Capital City

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By Shareen Sharma:

The first thing that crosses your mind when asked to ponder about the “unnoticed things in Delhi’’ are probably the beggars spread over all the streets of Delhi, the garbage and litter in huge stockpiles all over and perhaps the slum areas like the Sanjay Basati located in Chankyapuri. But processing it gradually, you wonder “Was I the only one that noticed these?”  The truth is no, almost everyone who crosses these places do notice it but there are still no changes because they are ignored rather than unnoticed. Ignored or perhaps ‘looked away from’  by the majority or maybe they have become so used to it being a part of our life that we do not pay any attention to it anymore.

Delhi

Coming to the things that I noticed, yesterday, while going home in the metro, I saw this lady seated very comfortably looking back at the crowded compartment behind ours and smiling, I was bewildered. Then I realised her smile reflected the fact that in a metro full of hundreds of people she could get herself a seat. This is probably the attitude of a lot of women travelling in the metro. But the thing is that on one side, women want equal rights and power but yet they enjoy their separate compartment. And not only compartment but also colleges. It is very difficult to get admission in Delhi University for any student but there are so many colleges offering their courses only to girls. Not only there are reservations for girls but also for other different categories. If Delhi is the capital of the diverse nation and everyone has an equal right then why do the people themselves make distinctions between each other every now and then?

The other group of people that I noticed in the metro were two foreigners with camera equipment getting on from Qutab Minar. This got me thinking too. The monotonous nature of our life has made us so busy that we are forgetting to value our deep enriched culture. The foreigners come from all over the world to visit our monuments, to get a sense of our heritage And on the other side the people of India have lost their interest in their own heritage. In most of the monuments in Delhi, either we see kids in uniforms lined up behind each other or we happen to see the couples with their hands in hands like some old movie. Only a few of us would know the stories behind the monuments and the rest won’t bother.

A strange conflicting mentality is what I noticed in Delhi.

You must be to comment.
  1. samridhi

    But reservations for women can only be closed when there will be changed in the mentality of the people . If women having their compartment or respected seats reserved its just because of the molestation they face by these male dominating society.
    They face the eve teasing ,They are the one who make balance between home and work if man works for 10 hours she have to do work for 15 hours.
    Inspite of giving reservations for ladies ,crimes against women are on hike. If such reservations are closed then there will be more chances of increasing such cases.
    I still remember,Once I was travelling from metro and when my station has come I heard the shout of a girl when I went there to collect information of the matter
    I get to know a man between 30-35 had trying to touch her again and again and when she lose her patience she slapped her.
    Giving reservations to the women is the need for making women feel more secure and help them to feel independent.

    1. Akrit

      Samridhi, you are absolutely right. But you are telling us things that are easily noticed in our capital city these days. It is a different case that close to nothing is being done effectively about it. But I am pretty sure that Shareen(the author of this post) has expressed her view on the ‘Unnoticed’ part of Delhi. And like me, you’ve got respect the truth that she has spoken about. I honestly did not know, or rather did not notice that women these days enjoy extra luxuries. However, as you rightly pointed out, those luxuries come with a high opportunity cost. Therefore, women cannot have both privileges AND total safety, that is the truth. And we all have to live with it for the time-being!

  2. Akrit

    Samridhi, you are absolutely right. But you are telling us things that are easily noticed in our capital city these days. It is a different case that close to nothing is being done effectively about it. But I am pretty sure that Shareen(the author of this post) has expressed her view on the ‘Unnoticed’ part of Delhi. And like me, you’ve got respect the truth that she has spoken about. I honestly did not know, or rather did not notice that women these days enjoy extra luxuries. However, as you rightly pointed out, those luxuries come with a high opportunity cost. Therefore, women cannot have only privileges AND total safety, that is the truth. and we all have to live with it for the time-being!

  3. Shareen

    I totally agree with your point. Women need separate comportment for their own security because of the mentality of the men in our society. That is the very point i was making. The fact is that at one point the nation is asking for equal rights for both the genders but the ‘confused mentality’ in our society makes the distinctions on our own. There will be reservations and separate compartments till the time women are treated differently than men.
    But it is also true that all the women travelling in the metro are in the women compartment because of safety issues. Some are also there because it is compatibly less crowded or they can easily acquire a seat in it.

    1. Shareen

      it issn’t true

  4. Saumya Sahni

    I am studying in a Girls’ College under DU and have always wondered as to why girls are being given privileges. It is basically a clear demarcation when today we talk of equality between both the genders. I really don’t think so, women really need reservations, it is a sign of women again being weak and needing privileges to protect their rights.

    1. Akrit

      I am in total agreement with you Saumya. And this once again leads to the ‘confused mentality’ of the Indian society today!

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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.

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.”

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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.

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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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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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