This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Adya Vac. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Dear Custodians Of Indian ‘Culture’, Here’s A Blast Of Homosexuality From The Past!

More from Adya Vac

By Adya Vac:

It was indeed a happy day when it was ruled that there is nothing wrong with gay sex. There were millions of people happy not only in India but globally. All of these people were not gay or lesbian, there were scores of straight people as well. The ruling gave a very clear message that the Indian government was, for a change, ready to move ahead and not blindly follow culture, or what we perceive culture to be.

Homosexuality in India

Now after the ruling today, there are two points I would like to put forward which reveal the sheer hypocrisy of this ruling. The first one being the difference in ‘culture’, and our perception of culture. They seem like the same thing don’t they? But they aren’t.

What is the root of culture? Where do our notions of culture spring from? Almost every one of you would agree that it is the sacred texts of The Vedas, The Puranas, The Ramayan and The Mahabharat, among others. And therein lies the problem, all of us say so and so is not part of our culture, but how many of us have actually read even one of these texts? Or if not read them, then read ‘about’ them? The number of people who have is pitiable. So, when we haven’t read the source of our culture how do we know it?

You would say we know it because culture has been passed down from generation to generation. Now let me ask you a question. Are you so naïve as to believe that our culture has remained unchanged since about 4000 years? Let me give you a few examples.

All of us Hindus, whether we are against the LGBT community or not, we have idols of gods in our homes and we also go to temples. Did you know that idol worshiping is prohibited in the Vedas?

A lot of us think that the concept of feminism is a western concept and that women only ever worked at home. On the contrary, it can be traced back to 300 B.C., where a woman named Apalla is mentioned in this context. No less than 60 women have been identified who spent their lives in pursuit of knowledge and never entered the institution of marriage.

We also think that Indian people were never involved in gay sex. You only need to read the Kama sutra and see the various references to gay sex and look at the temples and their architectures. If we are utilising the same architecture to make inferences about our culture with regard to other aspects, then why not when it comes to sexuality?

Love marriage, a western concept right? Because Indians always had the notion of arranged marriages with the occasional svayamvara? Wrong again. Manusmriti itself mentions eight kinds of marriages, one of them is the Gandharva Marriage, wherein a man and a woman can marry by themselves with no requirement of consent of parents or even any kind of rites. The king Dushyant and Shakuntala married in this very manner. Arranged marriage only gained preference when India was under attack and influence of foreign cultures and unmarried girls were carried away. Also, if a wedding takes place without sacred rites, then the use of Brahmans or priests would be very less, and since they had no other source of income other than social and religious functions, the majority of which were marriages, they made attempts to make the Gandharva form of marriage seem impure.

The shiv-ling, a much revered symbol in Hindu Mythology and religion, is assumed by many people to be just a phallic symbol. What they don’t know is that the phallic symbol stands on a construction of the Yoni. The whole of it is in fact an image of Shiv-Shakti coming together, physically and spiritually, because when matter and energy come together, life is created. A fact resonated by Physics as well. None of them is complete without the other.

Abortion is considered a heinous crime according to the Vedas. And yet, many Hindu families get abortions today in case of unplanned pregnancies even when there are no health risks to the mother or child . Not to mention female foeticide.

These were some very common examples which prove that most of us have just about no clue about our culture. It’s also very important to know that our culture was deeply influenced by the colonisation, and in a negative manner. Macaulay once said, “We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.”

These examples point to the hypocrisy of us saying gay rights are not part of our culture and then doing so many things which are also not part of our culture.

The second important question is, “Do we really want to be forever stuck in the past?”. Indians, and people all over the world have changed in an indefinite number of ways since thousands of years. With the help of science, we have let go of so many superstitions and have welcomed technology into our lives. For all those religious communities who, unlike the Hindu way of life, did condemn gay sex, they too have accepted many reforms in their lives. They too flout many rules. The Bible also restricts interbreeding of livestock and wearing garments of more than one fibre, or mixed with wool and linen. Is this rule followed? Then why this aversion to change when it is about sexuality? As I was watching Times Now today, one person very aptly said in response to the comment “gay sex is unnatural”, “if gay sex is unnatural then so is artificial insemination and surrogacy”. How do you feel about that?

Many people also say that gay sex is wrong because it does not lead to procreation. Well let me ask you another question, is procreation the sole purpose of sex? This would also mean that sex between two people, one or both being infertile, is also wrong. It would also mean that we should not indulge in anything unnatural, and since we can’t have kids by normal methods why do we then resort to the methods mentioned above? Did you know that homosexuality has been seen in over five hundred animal species? How is it then unnatural? We have come from animals, and only much later did we start being afflicted with the disease of homophobia.

Kama, or desire, is mentioned as one of the four most important pillars of life. Then why do we shy away from it?

We further say that being gay is a choice that people make. Then it is also true that being straight is a choice as well. Do you remember choosing to be straight?

Many people also argue that it is important for a child to have a male and female parent to grow up ‘normally’ as the world is made up of men and women both. Then why do so many of us want to bring up our children in same sex schools, out of touch with half the population? Further, are children resulting from opp-sex marriages always normal? Don’t they turn out to be psychopaths and criminals?

Lastly, the LGBT community is yet a minority and people say that minorities cannot have rights. Um excuse me, what about reservations for minorities? A democracy is not a democracy unless it takes care of the rights of the minorities and not just the majority.

Sexuality is not a trivial thing. It defines a person on many levels. Sexual rights are human rights. In the same way that we fight against child marriages, against rape, against the selling of daughters, against polygamy, against slavery, all for their right to live the way they want, we have to fight for the rights of the LGBT community.

If a Muslim wedding, or a Christian church, or a Buddhist temple, or Hindu festivals, or Zoroastrian synagogues do not infringe on the rights of each other, then how can the existence of the LGBT community pose a danger to the rights of the straight community?

Originally published on my blog

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  1. Madhuja

    Very well written and I agree with your points. If a careful reading is given to our Hindu texts and scriptures, then the present notion of ‘culture’ which a person holds will undergo sea change. Many practices and notions which people or community condemn today were so prevalent in the olden times and in our so-called culture, would surprise us. So, if a person wants to stop a practice and bases his/her reasoning on the Hindu culture and heritage, then they should be at least thorough with the facts.

    1. Renu Arya

      Very well written and I agree with your. ye yes

    2. Deep

      I do not know why whenever there is a discussion on the basic instincts of a human being we go to books, culture and the like…Its really illogical and totally stupid. Take away culture…There is only one thing that is logical and sane. Sex for every one is a basic instinct given by birth….not by culture…culture and laws came next to control and curb these basic instincts so that they did not create chaos and interfere in the freedom of others and became a nuisance to the society. It was MAN who created culture and laws. They did not come from thin air. If there is something real and genuine its only basic instinct. One should have the right to engage in one’s basic instinct as long as it does not harm or violate the freedom of another. Be it bi-sexuality or homo-sexuality. This should be the basis of existence. We do not need any support of rituals, culture, religion etc..If the whole civilisation were to be wiped out one day, and man was to start again from 0 as mankind did…there would be only basic instinct created into our genes to follow…This is the ultimate truth…

    3. devika

      well said! people want authority to control others, hence use the ‘culture’, ‘religion’, ‘views of majority’, etc as their weapons. you rightly pointed out that what we feel is the reality – and the only control our feelings need is that it should not harm or violate any other living creature – human, or animal. it is so ridiculous to see the homophobic views against homosexuality jump to sex with animals, rape, etc etc – basically they are just trying to rouse fear among people.

    4. Adya

      precisely, that’s what intolerant people do all the time. Try and rouse fear. Baseless fear.

  2. Madhushree Deb

    You are very right. We simply do not know what our culture is all about. What we have gathered till date is half baked knowledge and some assumptions that only fit the norm. It usually does not look at the humane aspect neither it follows any logic.

  3. Kanishk Jain

    bharat was shakuntla’s son – not her husband. her husband was dushyant.
    although you make a good case but garment material mixing that the bible prohibits doesnt really make a good example for modified rules.

    1. Madhuri

      Bible states that people shouldnt give importance to worldly things and so many stuff.. there r many fellowships in Christianity like methodist, baptist, lutheran, catholic, penticost..n each have adapted according to their whims n fancies.. n obviously no one follows everything trully written in the scriptures n these have just become a mask to shield the man as n when he desires ..there is no discretion of what is right or wrong..I say all this is crap

    2. adya00

      Kanishk, thank you so much for pointing that out. I am reading The Mahabharat now, and in its been 200 pages and I swear I have read at least 500 names, no exaggeration! I goofed up!
      I’ve sent a mail to for this to be corrected.
      Once again thank you so much!!!!

  4. Madhuri

    Ignorance and the lack of questioning spirit is one thing which condemns people to be naive..n many people chose to be so even after being educated.. I am happy that this issue has been brought up as this is the prfect time to create more awareness about LGBT community among the people in a holistic way. We need to stand upright n support our fellow countrymen at this very crucial moment because life is a gift and love is the essence of it and no man can deny another man’s love or life.

  5. priyanka bansal

    I must appreciate the writer, as u convinced well giving some most relevent examples. The problem with our country is that we do have culture and heritage of thousands of year, which was done in the most intelligent manner be it in logics or science but the problem lies in the generations which passed it. Half discovered, half preserved, and then more importantly badly perceived. i am little apprehensive on the thing that when lower court passed on such idea and news was well accepted, Indian media showed it in positive light ( mentioning this because media is an opinion setter for most of us) then why did jurisdiction took such step. is it some politics which is beyond my logics?

    1. adya00

      Don’t we all wish we knew the answer to that? :/

  6. RAJ ALWAR

    Wrong and fake proofs . . .

    1. Sahithya

      Very insightful!

  7. RB

    Although I agree with almost everything about the article, I have something to add. The article did mention but did not emphasize enough that just because something was in a culture does not mean it needs to be followed forever. Moreover, there is no way to define what is Hindu culture, or any culture in that matter. Where will we draw the line? 3000 BC? 1000 BC? 1500 AD? It is ridiculous. Suppose homosexuality was banned in Hindu culture back in the days (it probably was sometime in the past, who knows?)! So what? It does not mean that the modern human beings have to follow that ancient moral code! Anything that violates human rights, the way we constructed it in modern times, has no place in our current society, whether it was in the culture or not. Yes, knowing the culture is fine, but that does not mean we have to be the slaves of that culture! Incidentally, we generally are not the slaves of our culture, whether we know it or not. But we sure love to say that we are, particularly when it comes to sex, consensual adult sex! Its not just the problem of the Hindus, but of every conservative society. It makes no sense.

    1. adya00

      I absolutely agree with you, in fact that is what I meant when I said “Do we really want to be forever stuck in the past?”.

  8. Arun

    Sorry, I couldn’t read your article to the end; because a lot of it was not even relevant to what the title was intended to discuss. What do abortion, Shiv Ling and Love Marriage have anything to do with Homosexuality and the subsequent discussion? The picture that you’ve used is also irrelevant because it shows a foursome and not a gay intercourse. So, get focused when you write your articles and be more specific about what you want to convey.

    1. adya00

      In that case I can only ask you to read the whole thing. 🙂

  9. bigApe

    Hi, I agree with most of the stuff here, a few clarifications:
    Idol worship: It is a popular misconception that the Vedas prohibit. The shloka often (mis)used is ‘Na Tasya Pratima Asti’ which translates to ‘There is no image of Him’. It’ll take too long for me to explain here. Do you mind removing those lines? And while swayamvara is wonderful ,it’ll be better to quote from a book other than Manusmriti , its treatment of LGBT, women and the ‘so called’ lower castes is quite frankly appalling. Kindly remove this comment after changes have been made.

    1. adya00

      Multiple sources have confirmed that idol worshiping was prohibited in Vedas. Manusmritis’s treatment of women as well is appalling. I’m not making judgements on what’s written in these texts, these are facts. And I have very clearly said that we should not be stuck in the past. What I could add is that these texts also have in them things that our humanity has outgrown. And thus we should outgrow the fear of homophobia.
      Since you seem to have knowledge about this, do you know of any temple or remains of it that are from the Vedic Period. I have been trying to find out but haven’t been able to.
      I do get what you are trying to tell me about that line ‘There is no image of Him’. It could be translated as we can’t have any image of him or we shouldn’t. How do we decide which is it?

    2. Ollivian Fiedrantes

      read the shrimad bhagwatam some time…

      u can see clearly mentioned der dat… God is worshipable in six forms… one of them is the Archavatara… and is generally a form of God made up from metal, soil, jewels, ink, wood, mind..

      and about homosexuality… its prohibited for those who are bramhins and kshatriyas (by qualities not by the family name or title…)

      So i hope its clear for people…dat dose who wish to homosexual’s can be vaishyas and shudras…

      So Vedas dont prohibit it…

      At points Vedas even declare that sex should be only there for creation of an offspring only… It is not meant for enjoyment…

      Does the court that gave this decision stop the heterosexuals for having intercourse where dey do it for their enjoyment ?

      NO

      then it shouldnt rule out sex between homosexuals as well…

      Ders difference between the do…

      SEX / PHYSICAL INTIMACY whether between man-man / women – women / man – women is considered and treated as the same in the Vedas as long as they do not do it for procreation.

    3. adya00

      I am reading The Mahabharat right now, haven’t reach Gita yet. But then Mahabharat is believed to have been written at the last phase of the Vedic Period or even some time after Vedas. So there had to be some discrepancies between the two. Both the texts as I understand contradict each other more than once.
      And thank you for the point about homosexuality in the different varanas. Will definitely read up more about that! 🙂

    4. bigApe

      Srimad Bhagvatam not Bhagavat Gita 🙂 BTW , you probably know that Gita means ‘Song’ or something similar and is usually associated with spirituality . Some of the other popular Gitas include the Ashtavakra Gita , Avadoota Gita etc. Just as the Bhagavat Gita is a part of the Mahabharat , many of these other Gitas are parts of various puranas and stuff ( 😛 ) . Check out the awesome answer by someone here: http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101118184612AAHm96J Many of us don’t know about a lot of stuff because well the Brahmins(not all of ’em) were too busy oppressing people and suppressing knowledge rather than letting it spread . Sad how greed can ruin people .

    5. adya00

      Well, many parts of Mahabharata are quite old too. And yes the Brahmans did cause many many issues.
      I saw the link, but I’m guessing the Bhagavad Gita is just one? And can you tell me the difference between Srimad Bhagvatam and Bhagavat Gita?

    6. Ollivian Fiedrantes

      The Bhagavad Gita is a part of The 100,000 versed Mahabharat written by Ved Vyaas
      It is The Message Given by Bhagwan Shri Krishna to Arjun when he was in depression on knowing that he had to kill his relatives….

      The Shrimad Bhagwatam is a Purana which is discussion between various munis like Saunaka and Suta Goswami etc…
      It speaks of many things… about various forms of God, About all Incarnations of God, The Universe its creation, devotees and their lives, Life of Bhagwan Krishna…..
      it mainly consists of numerous prayers on God depicting his form and about his qualities.

    7. manas

      there is no image of him. << is written. But how do you say, there shouldn't be?
      you said, I’m not making judgements on what’s written in these texts, these are facts. then how do you make the judgement?
      I am just asking neutrally how do you say that there shouldn't be an image?

    8. adya00

      No no you got me wrong. What I’m saying is how do you interpret that?
      Secondly as I said before a lot of sources say that Vedas prohibits temples. Isn’t it curious that we have no temples from that time? In fact Nehru in Discovery of India said the same thing.
      I’m not saying what I have written is beyond doubt right, but I’m going to need more evidence to know that its wrong. If you have time you can email me. Would that be okay? I’d love to talk!

    9. manas

      Did you delete my comment?

    10. adya00

      I can’t delete any comments.

  10. yashy

    totally agreed..

  11. devikagandhi

    Brilliantly crafted Already a fan 🙂 you have presented it so execellently with illustrations and what not…Your opinion comes out to be starkingly clear and makes the reader actually question his very knowledge about his own culture.
    For majority of us culture is something inherited from the penultimate generation.There are billions who follow blindly without even actually knowing the reason behind a particular notion and then there are few (like u) who actually dig to the root.And this is exactly how things are supposed to be…
    I had written something similar long back..
    http://wp.me/p2wtPg-2J do read if u get time 🙂

  12. Q

    Vedas prohibit idol worship ?! Have you read the Vedas ?

    1. adya00

      No, but what I write has been carefully researched. Do you have any contradictory evidence? I’d love to read that.

    2. Q

      Please don’t take this personally , but I don’t agree with the “carefully researched” part.
      Vedas don’t prohibit idol worship.
      I won’t go into giving you proofs since for every proof that I give , you could come up with another which disagrees with it. In the end any religious scripture is what you want it to be. It is your frame of mind that determines it’s interpretation. After all the guys who wrote it are not around to clarify 🙂
      Anyway , the crux of your discussion is not Vedas , so I won’t continue further. Peace. 🙂
      FYI , I support LGBT rights and am a straight man.

    3. adya00

      Haha. ok. But really, I don’t like to get my facts wrong. And I’m open minded. So how about you do give me that evidence. Research is never and end, its the path to finding the truth, or as close as you can get to it 🙂

  13. Kiran George

    This article is well-written, and you’ve got most corners covered. But I would like to add that in the enthusiasm of citing examples to prove Indians’ ignorance of the actual teachings documented by their culture, you’ve strayed off topic by speaking of far too many instances – idol worship, love marriages, shiv ling. I believe you could have made your point with just an example or two in a few lines instead of numerous paragraphs.
    However it makes for great reading:)

    1. adya00

      Thank you 🙂
      Will keep that in mind for future!

  14. vidhi

    your article is moving and well-written.. why don’t you submit it to some newspaper..they may publish it, that way these opinions can be welcomed at a wider scale. do consider this suggestion

    1. adya00

      I make a lot of grammatical mistakes which are overlooked on the internet, but not in newspapers 😛
      But thanks you!! I’ll try! 🙂

  15. Gunvant Jain

    Really well drafted !!!

  16. i just said it

    A very good and insightful article. I wish people in our society also think in this way and move forward by braking the shackles of age old orthodox ideals and practice. Its time to move forward and focus on other contemporary issues…

  17. David

    You are seeking the truth, and that’s a good thing..
    But answer this question:
    Do beautiful things become beautiful when we declare they are?

  18. swapnil

    Well written and logical

  19. adya00

    Depends on what you think beauty is, right?

    1. David

      Is there objective beauty?

    2. adya00

      I think to quite an extent yes. But it is a conception of the majority of any sect.

    3. David

      It’s either yes or no. But if it does exist then we have a basis for our foundations, which goes beyond the circles of culture.. and that’s what I would like to bring awareness into. 🙂 We are imperfect beings striving for perfection. Hope exists for fulfillment. Let’s all strive to seek the truth.

      All the best and regards 🙂

      P.s I love your blog

    4. adya00

      Well David, we make this mistake too often, of saying its only black or its only white, its only good or only bad. Yes we’re humans, and that’s exactly why we can’t compartmentalise ourselves or others like that.
      As far as perfection goes, I don’t believe in it. Because its an end with no hope. You have to keep growing, as a person and as a species. Perfection means stagnation. Constancy. And as we know, change is the only constant.
      And I’m glad you like my blog. Thank you 🙂

    5. David

      Change to what? Forward and to betterment right? We all have hope in us. There are certain things that are written in our hearts that are constant. For example: it is wrong to murder, whether a society declares it wrong or not. Do you agree?

      Anyway I’d like to have a further conversation with you. If possible. This, I know, doesn’t seem suitable

    6. adya00

      My email should be on my blog. Send me a mail!

  20. Abhinita Mohanty

    The people who oppose decerminalisation of IPC 377 must read this…..

    1. adya00

      Read exactly what? I think you forgot to paste the link.

  21. IfOnlyItWasAChoice

    What most people who are hailing 377 don’t seem to understand is that the problem is about shoving your morals down someone else’s throat.

    When a girl and a guy have sex before marriage it might be morally corrupt for the moral police but they won’t be held as criminals. Their having sex or not having sex does not directly effect you. But if a two gay guys or girls have sex suddenly the world will come crashing down and they will be held criminals. It might still be morally wrong for your sensibilities but was it a bigger crime than the first one. The girl and the guy were also having sex without thinking about procreating why should they not be held out as criminals.

    I am gay but can I ever come out in the country. I really doubt that. For people who think it is a choice, do you think I would choose to the ridiculed. What I will eventually do is to marry a girl and probably destroy her life as well since its a “choice”. Now imagine that girl is your sister or daughter. Would you be happy that now your daughter or sister is stuck in a loveless marriage for life because I just don’t have a choice to come out in the open.

    1. adya00

      No, please don’t get into a marriage that will ruin both your lives. If you can, go abroad.
      In the meantime the fight is still on.

    2. IfOnlyItWasAChoice

      I have no plans of getting married but not everyone is able to handle the pressure from families as coming out is not an option specially after this verdict. I have seen so many of my gay friends getting married to girls. All I can do is but feel sorry for the girls.

      I really wish the girls are daughters and sisters of BJP and Ramdev sympathizers since they think its a “choice”.

    3. adya00

      Well, I wish those guys hell, not their daughters though. And trust me, I totally get you.
      Times will change. Don’t worry. I understand its nearly impossible to come out to parents, but let me tell you something else as well. We often look to our parents, sometimes life long, in search of appreciation and acceptance. It’s not always there. Don’t depend your life on it. Parents and children can be very different, but they are not the end of the world.

  22. anish m

    bullshit article… title says a ‘blast’ of homosexuality from past and doesnt even av a ‘glimpse’ abt it in d article!! d picture is nt abt homosexuality too..its jus a man mating 3 women..hw could youth ki awaaz be so foolish!! n morever has many mistakes,…says idol worship is nt in vedas..fuck dem…dey say ppl av nt studied literature proply…dey av nt…idol worship is very welll prescribed in vedas!!! dis article is nthng but bullshit..!!

    1. adya00

      Are you saying those women did not ‘mate’ with each other?
      Also, how about you give me a quote from Vedas which does prescribe idol worship. Then I might remove that point from the article.
      Oh and pls read the Kamasutra.
      Last, out of curiosity, you are pro LGBT or against?

  23. adya00

    Mr. Kjhkj

    Lets say homosexuality doesn’t exist in the scriptures. Are you following every word of the scripture? Unless you are, you can’t be against homosexuals.

  24. Alistair

    Good stuff..

    1. Alistair

      Add to the above comment..This is simple mindset that all of us gotta think and apply- live and let us live happily. Respect decisions and thoughts of each person, after all we are created in his image. Accept the reality and world will get better. 😉

  25. AruDil

    Very well put article… for those who agree that being Gay is unnatural… I would like to understand this? so I’m citing some hypothetical example…E.g. A boy at puberty age enters the Male changing room the are men changing and with next to nothing on.. the boy feels and erection he tries to calm himself but can the hard on listen to you always.. (honestly mine doesn’t especially the morning glory 😉 ) .. first reaction I would vouch for is embarrassment and then an overwhelming scare…Now my questions 1) Whats the solution? A ‘softdown’ is there such a word too!! how is it done? 2) Another guy sees the boy staring and the hard on… Shouts aloud at him for all to hear “Abeh Saalaah Gandu Kya dekh rahhain?” ( An attempt to translate, ‘Hey Bloody Up The Arse taker what are you staring at?’) Is this name calling correct? 3) Next lets assume if the boy gets caught on his way out of that area in some deserted spot beaten by the guy who shouted at him alonwith some other guys? does he deserve it? 4) When a person is beaten up for the most clothes are torn and genitals are bruised.. so isn’t that boy “gay bashed’ and the boys who attack aren’t they Gay Rapists who have unresolved Gay tendencies within them that they have to tear clothes and for beating that boy hurting his body in that way…5) How many would actually think that the boy who shouted would complain to the authorities saying that he was being stared at and refer to him as a Gandu (up the arse taker)? Thanks for reading…

  26. renegade

    the bible advises against intermixing of different material while making clothes but says homsexuality is a sin, thats the difference between a directive and law,Please do your homework before quoting a source.

    1. adya00

      Okay, I made a mistake between a rule and an advise. Do you, assuming you’re a christian, follow every rule in the Bible? Or do all the Christians who are against homosexuality follow every rule? If not, what right do you or they have to be against homosexuality.
      Further, assuming they do follow rules, what right do they have to impose their opinions on others?

    2. adya00

      Would I be wrong in saying that not having per-marital sex is a rule?

    3. RamBonkth

      Is Homosexuality a Physical Problem or a Mental Problem?

      Anal Sex is Sometimes overrated !!

  27. James

    I am sure the writer is Gay himself and hence all the fuss! 😀 lol

    1. adya00

      Haha, lets leave something to be curious about shall we? 😛

  28. ezio

    Let me begin by saying that I’m pro “Live and Let Live”.
    This is a well thought out argument in favor of the LGBT community, you made some excellent points here.
    However, I’m of the opinion that simply stating one’s view on the matter – as countless other writers are doing – may not be the best way to bring the opposing party on board with your thinking. In a perfect world, they would read this article, reason that this makes sense and change their views, but such is never the case.

    I think it might be more worthwhile in pushing the question as to why the opposing party is still adamantly holding onto its opinion. Keep in mind that the other party consists of people too-it’s important to win them over with rationale, not overwhelm them and force them to give in. If the courts give in under pressure but still believe in the wrong idea, the whole purpose is defeated. Let us assume for a moment their argument holds some water (little as it may be), let’s hear what they have to say and then, patiently and constructively address every concern or misunderstanding they might have – or correct some of our own in the process as well.

    Having said that, I figured I could venture a few of their concerns:
    1) “I’d like my lineage to continue! How am I to do that if my son/daughter is gay?”
    2) “I’m concerned this is a phase, what if he/she is just enticed by the idea of being gay? Like kids being fascinated by new tech?”
    3) “What if (2) is actually correct? How will society let him/her live after they’ve engaged in such activities?”
    4) “Oh man, what if MY son/daughter just got swayed (as in 2)? I’ve got to protect him/her! Il-legalize it!”
    5) “Sometimes I hate my co-workers and want to hit them, but I contain myself. I’m pretty sure homosexuality is just an urge too, no need to act on it”.

    I tried to frame these points in a way that they seem non-threatening; so that we can address them, not attack them.

    1. adya00

      Hi, you’ve brought up good points.

      1. Continuation of lineage is not upon grandparents. Lets take up the example of opp sex marriage, sometimes people don’t want to have kids and are forced to have them because of family pressure. Very wrong. Lineage is a pathetic whim we have due to what a lot of scriptures tell us. So that’s a question not just limited to gay people. And then even gay people can have their own kids through surrogacy, in-vitro and what not.

      2. Well, just as people accept new technology without thinking twice, what’s the issue over accepting something much more natural? Once again, in this case we need awareness and education, like in so many other situations.

      3. This is a sad one, and the only solution is law and education in this regard. We keep forgetting that society isn’t something extrinsic, it includes us.

      4. The ‘protective’ attitude. Once again this comes in for all sexualities. I shouldn’t give my kid a car or a bike, so I can protect them from accidents, not let them get out of the house, not let my daughter ever get out because I’m trying to protect her chastity. By that argument laws will be springing up against women traveling in the night.

      5. We are too controlling as a species right now. We try to contain sex, and it leads to nothing good. Same with homosexuality. And fine if one person seems to think her can control her/his urge, what about others who don’t want to?

      P.S. None of these answers are supposed to be offensive. Just tried to answer them 🙂
      If we see the major issue these parties or people have isn’t any goodwill or concern for their children or society, but intolerance. In this is a major problem in India. Even today I see children of affluent families taking up subjects they don’t want to, jobs they don’t want to. All because the parents think they know whats’ best for them. And intolerance for a lot of issues, has to be taken out.

    2. ezio

      Excellent; I tried to put myself in “their” shoes, read your answers to each of the 5 questions and could not think of a strong rebuttal (at least not rational one – could only come up with “Our ancestors didn’t do it” or “Our religion doesn’t allow it” etc.).

      Having established what we’d like to tell them when they pose these questions, I guess the question would be to find the right means and medium to convey this message. Again, I strongly feel that adopting a “gentle” (for lack of a better word) approach is important.
      Let me elaborate with a for instance: remember when you were a teen and a stern “Don’t do this and definitely don’t do that” from your parent (at a really high volume level) just induced hatred and rebellion in you? You might’ve agreed with them if they’d just been nicer and explained their reasons. In our particular discussion, the roles have been reversed and I’m afraid we’re just telling them to “Accept it, NOW”.
      I’m not saying this is definitely the case; for all I know, some tough love is exactly what’s needed but I haven’t seen it work in the past and can’t really see it work on a sensitive issue like this.

      Assuming you are of the same opinion as me, perhaps the LGBT community could approach TV and radio channels to include “shorts” between their shows. A well scripted “short” which appeals to their hearts. I’m thinking a Taare Zameen Par kind of approach – ignorant parents (through no fault of their own but the way knowledge is propagated in India) started opening their eyes to the fact that their children could not perform well in exams because their children are simply different and they shouldn’t shun this difference, but celebrate it.

      I’m far removed from the struggle geographically so such a task might have been undertaken already but if not, maybe we could appeal to the right people who are in a position to make this happen? Worth a shot, right?

    3. Adya

      Definitely worth a shot.
      And ‘gentle’ was the right word. I tend to get aggressive 😛

  29. Sri

    Well a little knowledge is dangerous. When you pose a question ” but how many of us have actually read even one of these texts?”, I would expect a little bit more research from the author before making claims that are half truths. Without claiming to be an authority on anything vedantic, let me point towards some places where you have not been completely correct. I am also be adding some extra info which may or may not pertain completely the discussion (especxially 1,2 and 3), so do excuse me for that.
    1.Did you know that idol worshiping is prohibited in the Vedas?: Nope, the Vedas in most places (not all!!) are describing a Nirguna Brahmana, meaning a God with no physical attributes. We Hindus are not polytheists but pluralists who pray to the Nirgina brahmana through a physical form (symbols, murtis etc). The Vedas say nothing against idol worship but the upanishadas say that a person who “just” does his rituals (using a physical form) asking for physical gifts is no better than an animal (pashu is the word used). The ritual are not the end but a means to an end, meaning prayer/rituals towards a saguna brahmana to reach the nirguna brahmana. I cannot describe more about this in just a few lines so I would suggest you pick any decent book on advaita sadhana to read more. If you want me to give an example from the vedas where we pray to the formless paramatman (nirguna brahmana) in a saguna form, well Sri Rudram and Narayana suktam are the ones that pop in my head at the moment. Actually Narayana suktam which is said after Purusha suktam explicitly says that Narayana is the manifestation of the formless Paramapurusha. Only when the vedas are talking about the Nirguna Brahmana they often explicitly say that God has no physical form for example: Na tasya pratima asti. Read about Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s views on this topic and things will get a lot clearer.

    2.”No less than 60 women have been identified who spent their lives in pursuit of knowledge and never entered the institution of marriage.”- this is absolutely true, feminism is not a western concept. But you have made a slight error here. You are probably adding this line to suggest that why cant people remain unmarried. Everyone living as samsaris are expected to marry and procreate so that the rituals to your family deity, ancestors etc can continue. This is one of the reasons why Bhishma is called an adharmi by Krishna. Every rule has an exception. Brahmacharis and sanyasis are supposed to remain absolutely celibate. And sanyasis do not have to do any rituals that gruhasta’s do, but this is seen more as an exception and not the norm. A very very very tiny fraction of the population is supposed to become sanyasis ( and sanyasa is usually given by a guru, but again there are exceptions). The right of women to go towards and achieve brahmagyana is absolute. So yes in exceptional cases ppl can stay unmarried (Dr. Kalam’s case comes to my mind), but is to be avoided as a general rule.

    3.” Manusmriti itself mentions eight kinds of marriages, one of them is the Gandharva Marriage”: true but again half baked. Was gandharva vivaha allowed, the answer is yes. Actually if the girl is of the right age to get married and there is not family member taking interest in finding a suitable bride for a few years, the girl is free to choose her own groom. Also we have no concept of “swayamvadhu” ( we only have “swayamvara”, girls gets the right to chose the guy not the other way around). But among other forms of marriage the brahmana type (not to be confused with Brahmin) is said to be the best form of marriage where the ritual takes places with vedic mantras and the the husband and wife take vows to form this union so that both of them can follow the path of dharma. As a guy you are marrying a girl so that you get the right to do rituals (bachelors, sanyasis and widowers have no right to do any vedic rituals, the wife is the person who gives you the right to do so). So our society focusing more on this type of marriage with a pundit for rituals was only because they wanted to make sure that everyone performs/follows their own rituals and yes every varna had its own set of rituals.
    4. The rest of you discussion about Kamasutra, lingam etc is where you (and most others) go wrong. Understand that Kamasutra was a text which no-one in India knew much about until some brit translated it, so it was never a central text for any religious group. Also temples like Khajuraho, kamasutra, lingam-yoni etc all come under the category of Tantra. The origin of Tantra (in its corrupted modern form, the corruption having started somewhere around 1000AD) lies in something called Vamachara or the left hand path. To quote Swami Vivekananda “Give up this filthy Vâmâchâra that is killing your country. You have not seen the other parts of India. When I see how much the Vamachara has entered our society, I find it a most disgraceful place with all its boast of culture. These Vamachara sects are honeycombing our society in Bengal. Those who come out in the daytime and preach most loudly about Âchâra, it is they who carry on the horrible debauchery at night and are backed by the most dreadful books. They are ordered by the books to do these things. You who are of Bengal know it. The Bengali Shastras are the Vamachara Tantras. They are published by the cart-load, and you poison the minds of your children with them instead of teaching them your Shrutis. Fathers of Calcutta, do you not feel ashamed that such horrible stuff as these Vamachara Tantras, with translations too, should be put into the hands of your boys and girls, and their minds poisoned, and that they should be brought up with the idea that these are the Shastras of the Hindus? If you are ashamed, take them away from your children, and let them read the true Shastras, the Vedas, the Gita, the Upanishad”.
    Kindly google the words “Vivekananda and Vamachara” and you will get a better complete picture.

    1. Adya

      Sri, first of all thank you for taking time to give such an elaborate reply. it definitely made me research more and thus know many things I did not previously.
      And before I begin, I also do not claim to be any authority on the Vedas 🙂

      1. The line “Na tasya pratima asti” seems very self explanatory. If a statement is made, that there are no black swans, and then you find one, that is a clear negation of the statement. There is no image of him should ideally mean there can not be an image of him.
      a) You have brought up the Upanishads. They were written after the Vedas, and they differ from Vedas on many points. Advaita also was after Vedas.
      b) I think it was Vivekananda or someone similar who said that idol worship is for beginners, but you have to reach the goal of not using idols. The same way in childhood you need more support, and you outgrow it, you have to outgrow idol worship.
      c) Idols or figurines have been found older than that of vedic times, why not of vedic times if idol worship was allowed? I think at that point it was yagnas and sacrifices that mattered. Or tapasya, not idol worship.

      2. I am wondering why the exception has to be avoided. In a society where the seeming majority goes against the sentiments of a minority, we have to re-think. yes I took up that point to establish that women can remain unmarried if they want to. It was possible then, it is possible now. And I would’ve picked the example of Sushmita Sen, since we were talking about women.

      3. You are right in saying that men married so as to be able to perform rituals, but my question is, who did these rituals benefit? In mahabharata, taking a woman by force while slaying opponents, is considered a very good form of marriage. It describes all eight form of marriages, and all of them are from the perspective of a man. As I’m still reading it, the protagonists keep marrying women of their choice and keep having sons, don’t you think that’s a bit weird and very sexist and quite impossible? Brahamns also turned into very selfish people who twisted the scriptures according to themselves. Read the Mahabharata and you will find them whimsical creatures who change the very laws of the universe and mankind if they are wronged at the slightest.

      4. You say people did not know about kamasutra, may be not now, but they definitely did at some point. Also its a very common misconception that kamasutra comes under the tantric category. Which leads me to my most imp question?
      You by quoting Vivekananda are saying Tantric branch is vile.
      a) Is Vivekananda the infallible voice on this subject?
      b) The Tantric branch may well be older than Vedas, because it is one which gives equal importance to women. The figurines which were I mentioned earlier, there’s something interesting about that. upto a certain point, only females idols or figurines have been found. Male figurines started appearing only around the time when Aryans came with the knowledge of the Vedas.
      c)You must know about shaktism? The creation myth of the origin of the universe from the point of view of shaktism is very logical and the closest we have to modern physics.
      d) We hindus have many issues when someone regards the Linga as a phallic object. This points to the hypocrisy of the fact wherein we worship life but find the process by which life is created degrading. In certain aspects of tantra, sex is used instead of other techniques. What is wrong with that? If a person can fulfill the desire of their tongue with good food, of his skin with satin and silk, of his eyes by travelling, of his mind by reading, of his ears by music, then why not satiation of the physical desire? Why is the union of man and woman considered so unholy?
      d) The worship of natural elements including the ling and yoni, dates back to pre historic times because these were live giving objects. Life was worshiped and what gave life.
      d) Even if Tantric branch did not originate before vedas, it came about the same time as Advaita and Vedanta. Then by what right do you quote one and reject the other?

      5. Vivekanada was a celibate who also said that was the reason for his vitality and energy. What does that say about men who are not celibate?

      6. You mentioned Ramakrishna, are you satisfied with his idea of Maya? Which happens to be a twisted form of what was initially meant by the word maya, it never meant illusion. Then how do we take his other opinion on Vedas?

  30. MrJaxtr

    Nice read. To add to the point, Vedas constitute the class of Hindu literature called “Shruti” or the revealed . These are the sacrosanct among Hindus and Bhagavat Gita though a part of Itihaasa (Mahabharath), is considered widely as a condensed form of four vedas. In that there is a clear description of idol worship and non-idol worship and its effect. Chapter 7 , verse20-25 describes that Idol worship is meant for admirers of demigods and he would get what he crave for , that is materialistic pleasures, but the true devotee obtains him (Krishna) , whom according to Gita is omnipotent as well as has no shape, no body..etc etc.

  31. Mathew

    It is true that some traditions should ‘evolve’ if you will, as circumstances change. As your article points out arranged marriages were spurred on by foreign invasions and unmarried women being carried off to what I’m not sure, sexual slavery or just slavery perhaps. Either way not something to look forward to.

    We should also be careful when judging the actions of those in the past, it’s easy for us to dismiss arranged marriages these days when we are not under the threat of foreign invasion and slavery. But I think if I were single and running the risk of being sold off to slavery in a foreign land or worse, never to see home and family again, I’d be grateful to be married off to remain in my homeland. Off course that doesn’t mean we should still continue the practise.

    I think it is also important to understand that not all traditions are useless and should simply be discarded. There are some traditions that came about for the betterment of society and nations, traditions that strengthen and unify for a common good.

    Take the tradition of monogamous marriage where a man and woman officially get married and remain that way, study after study has shown that children raised in this environment are far more likely to turn out to be successful and responsible adults than those raised in single-parent families or even ones where their mother and father live together but are not officially married. I also know that marriage has a certain civilising influence on men; married men are far less likely to commit crimes and turn to violence as well. Apparently married men also live longer than single men. Then again we also die before our wives, something to think about. Marriage is also healthier for men and women, both physically and mentally.

    There are also other good traditions that are more prevalent in some cultures. Freedom to speak and equality before the law for example in western cultures over the centuries that leads them to be more advanced and militarily powerful in the long run. In Asian and Indian cultures we place a much higher value on education than other cultures which leaves our children far better off in their adult life. Our children when given the opportunity, thanks to this tradition/practise, have adapted and overtaken their western rivals in so many fields.

    So I think tradition has its place, it’s simply up to us to choose wisely which ones to adopt, embrace and preserve and which ones we don’t really need anymore.

    What I would like to know is that, since there is such a history of homosexuality going back more than 2000 years, why did it become taboo? I’m sure people didn’t collectively wake up one day saying – time to hate homos. Perhaps there was a reason(s) why society rejected it and started frowning upon it. And perhaps now those reasons are no longer valid.

    I think therein lies the key to persuading the opponents to your cause.

    1. Adya

      Mathew. I agree with you on the part that not all traditions are bad, in fact I’d say most are not ‘bad’ per say but outdated and have lost their utility, which I think is worse.
      You said ,marriage has a civilising effect on men, this reminds me of something similar that I used to hear in school. People often said boys and girls should be in one class because then they boys are more well behaved. This always irritated me because by saying this we are giving the boys a license to not behave well, the same way when people say, ‘boys will always be boys.’ I often wonder how come women are thought to be civilised. As we we come out in the open more and more, I think we are quite a bit crazy ourselves. Here I think the definition of ‘civilised’ also has to be debated.
      I’m not very sure that our culture gives that much value to education, when girls are still in large numbers not allowed to study, or allowed so as to only obtain a degree to make them seem ‘marriageable’. Further even today, an appalling number of children are forced to take up subjects they don’t want to. As I see it, we don;t really value education, we only want our children to have a conventional, settled job.
      In fact I’d say we have so much to learn from western ideals of education. That being said i would also say that our system does have some better aspects, but they are running out.
      Why homosexuality became a taboo is a question that haunts me as much as questions like why was Nalanda destroyed so ruthlessly. Why are women treated in such a manner? With time, all systems degrade, this one had to as well I guess. At point the caste system was not so rigid or birth oriented, but it became so. Women were not allowed to be involved in many activities of the house and religious ceremonies when they were menstruating so as to give them rest. But even today when we don’t need that much ‘rest, a lot of us are forced to sleep on mats during these times, and are not allowed to even enter the kitchen. We are in fact considered impure.
      As of today, I find my self hard pressed to single out any reason against homosexuality. More importantly, I think even if I don;t like it, it doesn’t mean I have to force my opinion on others. We have to be tolerant.

    2. RamBonkth

      Women are kept out not for Rest n Relaxation during Mensturation, but because the new percieved form of Hinduism considered it unclean

  32. SacH

    well said <3

  33. RamBonkth

    Zorastrian Fire Temple & Jewish Synagogies.
    Just a correction

    1. adya00

      aah yes. Thank you 🙂

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