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8 Moments That Made India Proud In 2013

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By Vidushi Singla:

Soon after South Africa gained independence from apartheid, Nelson Mandela remarked: “We recall the joy and excitement of a nation that had found itself, the collective belief that we had stepped out of our restrictive past and the expectant air of walking into a brighter future.”

Several years later and less than a month since his death, his words echo the sentiments of the Indian scenario today. If 2013 were to be described in one phrase, then that phrase would be ‘a call for change’. Be it politics, social activism or cinema; all the key shapers of a country’s destiny underwent a radical change. Even though 2013 proved to be a year that more often than not made headlines for the wrong reasons– the floods ravaging Uttarakhand, the loss of lives due to dengue, the Supreme Court criminalizing homosexuality and the Centre rejecting CBI’s demand for autonomy; yet what is laudable is that all these acted as stimuli to voice the pent up frustration that consequently led to ‘a call for change’. It’s this change that has given India, moments of pride in 2013-

1. The Rise of the Common Man

This year saw people taking on to the streets to speak up not just for themselves but for others too. Be it the unprecedented turn out for elections in Delhi, people of varied sexualities coming together to protest for the rights of homosexuals, or the increasing number of rape cases being reported; this year witnessed the rage of the common man being productively harnessed to strengthen the spirit of democracy. With rape cases being followed up against stalwarts like Tarun Tejpal and A.K. Ganguly, it was made clear that not even the mighty and powerful are above the laws of the land.

2. The Changing Dynamics of Politics

The political scene in India underwent a revolutionary change that could trace its ancestry only in the Jayaprakash Movement of 1970s. The rise of the Aam Aadmi Party came as a welcome change in an otherwise accountability starved nation. It came to represent a form of governance that was people-oriented. Even though its endurance in Indian politics is still dubious, yet what is of relevance to us are the macro issues that it brought to light, that of accountability and transparency. The success of AAP has shaken the complacency of the existing parties as has become evident through Congress’s frantic efforts to reinvent its image post the realization of the anti-incumbent wave in the country.

3. Indian research makes its presence felt on the world map

The Indian Space Research Organisation gave India ample reasons in 2013 to be proud of its ace institution. As India launched its maiden mission to Mars on 5th December, there flew high with the spacecraft Mangalyaan, the hopes and aspirations of millions of Indians to be one among the few select nations in the world involved in interplanetary missions.

Another heartening news came from the HAL quarters in Bangalore as India’s very own Light Combat Aircraft; Tejas received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), thus proving India’s mettle in the field of aeronautics. This state-of-the-art aircraft designed for the Indian Air Force will replace the Russian made Mig-21.

4. The splendour of Sachin

Sachin retires
The world took a bow as India’s cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar decided to call it a day. From Chris Gayle to Roger Federer, from Michael Carrick to Virender Sehwag, everyone reminisced about the career of his iconic brilliance. His unparalleled records attest to his unmatched prowess. Brian Lara deemed Tendulkar to be synonymous to cricket when he said “if you mention the word boxing, you have to mention Muhammad Ali. When you talk of basketball, you have to mention Michael Jordan. When you speak about cricket, I’d speak of Tendulkar.

5. The Dead End for Convicted politicians:

In what was hailed as a landmark verdict to cleanse polity, the Supreme Court announced that a person who is in police custody will not be allowed to contest elections to legislative bodies. This initiative of the SC found an extension in the cancellation of the Lok Sabha membership of Lalu Prasad, the two-time Chief Minister of Bihar. Later, he was sentenced to a five year term in prison for the fodder scam. These measures have reinforced the belief of people in the judiciary of the world’s largest democracy.

6. (Infra) Structural Advances:

In what is being seen as a welcome step to promote women’s security, the first ever Mahila bank, Bhartiya Mahila Bank was inaugurated in Mumbai on November 19. There are already eight other branches of the bank that have been set up all across the country.

Another infrastructural reform was seen in the field of connectivity. India’s first ever private-funded metro rail system was opened to the public on November 14. The rapid metro connects National Highway-8 and the existing Sikanderpur metro station on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro.

7. Revolution in Reel

bhaag milkha bhaag
From the sci-fi thriller, Krish3 to the all commercial, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani; from the biopic, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to the sexually explicit, Grand Masti; from the critically acclaimed Special 26 to the slapstick comedy, Chennai Express; the variety of genres that did well on the box office kept multiplying in numbers. The success of these films proved to be a testament to the wider acceptability of the Indian audience. Bollywood is witnessing a radical transformation, wherein there are no rigid distinctions between art and commercial cinema. There no longer exist prototypes of blockbusters. You have to be able to entertain in order to sustain.
A similar trend was observed in music. If the success of the album of Aashiqui2 prompts you to think that Indian audiences are reverting to melodies then, think again. From the melodious strains of Aashiqui2 to the cacophonic Badtameez Dil and Lungi Dance, a wide variety of songs ruled the roost this year.

8. Fashioning new trends

Srishti Rana
Besides earning recognition as an international pop singer, Priyanka Chopra became the face for Guess, world’s leading brand in fashion. So also, Indian fashionista, Sonam Kapoor became the first Indian to feature in the esteemed global magazine, The Business of Fashion. To add to this list of Indian beauties being acknowledged internationally, Srishti Rana, the second runner-up at the Miss India pageant this year, won the title of Miss Asia Pacific World 2013.

So, as we are on the threshold of 2014, here’s hoping that the achievements next year would far outnumber the ones that made us proud this year. We need more. Many, many more.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ashim

    Nicely written article. I agree with most of the points. I have also noted down some dates post indepence of India on which every Indian should be proud of. Please read the article here

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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.

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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