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10 Important Pictures From Recent Indian History – The Horrifying And The Inspiring!

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By Amrita Roy:

The Horrifying!

nido

A few weeks back, Nido Tania was brutally assaulted by shopkeepers and locals in Lajpat Nagar. Ethnic discrimination is rampant in our country, at least implicitly. People from the north take jibes at people from the south of India and vice versa. It is even more saddening that every panelist on every debate on every news channel says that tolerance of differences must be increased. Being ethnically diverse is not a negative that needs to be tolerated. It is a positive that must be accepted.

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Kedarnath_Destroyed_Reuters

The Himalayan tsunami destroyed most of the Kedarnath valley turning it into a “ghost town”. Homes, schools, roads, bridges, livelihoods, everything was snatched away from the local residents in a matter of a few days. The Kedarnath temple was one of the very few structures that withstood nature’s wrath. Experts say the damage was aggravated due to the unscientific and unplanned development that has happened over the years. For the profits that some private companies reap from these projects, thousands of lives are put at stake. Especially after a disaster of such massive scale, the government needs to realize the importance of all inclusive growth and development which ensures the welfare of the people and the environment along with the benefits of the corporations.

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india-gang-rape_ap

Call her Nirbhaya or Damini or simply refer to the tragedy as the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, none of us are unaware of the atrocities she was subjected to. As expected, soon we saw politicians condemning the gang rape and promising a better future for the women of the country. However, every now and then a politico comes up with a sexist and misogynist remark. Marital rape is still not a crime under the law. The police has time and again proved its ineffectiveness. The system really needs to begin treating women as humans too, whose lives and rights are just as important as men’s.

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2611-terror-attack-suspects-lawyer-claims-evidence-is-sham_251113051329

26/11 is possibly a terror attack that is still fresh in our minds. While civilians were being killed and held hostage, the politicians of our country fiddled in their seats trying to conceal their ineptness. Soon after, both the State and Central government implemented measures to increase security. But are the sea borders of our country safe? Will the newly equipped police and armed forces be able to save the city against another terror attack? Well, they were unsuccessful in the 2011 blasts. Maybe the government is waiting for another few hundreds of civilians to fall victim to terror attacks before it reevaluates its decisions.

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OB-RZ222_iansar_G_20120227225748

And this list would be incomplete without a mention of the photo that was splashed across Indian and foreign media in 2002. Clicked by photojournalist Arko Dutta, it became the face of the Gujarat riots. Qutubbudin Ansari, a tailor, is seen pleading for his life. The bloodstains on his shirt are a reminder of the horrors of one of the worst communal riots in the country. But maybe even more shocking than the riots itself are the reactions Ansari received from people. He was ridiculed for crying and begging with joined hands for his life. This kind of apathy is the germ of intolerance that leads to more heinous crimes like riots. Every human life is worth the same, and until we understand that, we won’t be able to put a stop to such crimes.

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The Inspiring!

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But not all is bad with the country either! There are people like Narayanan Krishnan who work day and night to help the people of the country. The award-winning chef gave up an elite job in Switzerland to be able to feed the mentally disabled and homeless. He founded the Akshaya Trust in 2003 which serves three meals a day to over 400 people. The chef-turned-social-worker also was selected in the Top 10 in the CNN Heroes of 2010.

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On 5th April 2011, Anna Hazare went on an indefinite hunger strike in an effort to pressurize the government to free the country from corruption. The movement struck a huge chord with the aam aadmi and thousands of people turned up to show support. While political agendas kept the formation of a strong Lokpal Bill at bay, a new political party was formed — the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The fledgling party fought the Delhi elections and won a surprising 28 seats. A new political page is being written in the history of India. Let’s hope it’s for the betterment of the people.

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Mangalyaan_PSLV_launch_630new

India launched the Mars Orbiter Mission, commonly known as Mangalyaan, on 5th November 2013. Just days after, NASA sent off MAVEN to Mars as well. Both ISRO and NASA will coordinate their actions once both the satellites enter the orbit of the red planet. However, Mangalyaan cost only $ 75 million which is less than the amount spent to make the Hollywood sci-fi movie Gravity. And the MAVEN cost NASA a whopping $ 671 million. This establishes India as the global center for low cost effective innovations and technology. If successful, ISRO would be the 4th space agency to reach Mars.

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sachin-tendulkar-640-wicket

Sachin Tendulkar, the god of cricket, retired after playing his 200th test match at Wankhede stadium last year. He scored a 74 and bowled a few overs in his last international match before leaving the 22 yard field for the last time. As the match ended, Team India formed a guard of honor and the crowd erupted in a chant reverberating “Sachin, Sachin”. With his retirement, the baton was officially passed on to the younger generation of cricketers. But for many people, cricket will never be the same again.

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Satya-Nadella-Microsoft-CEO-Candidate-635

With Satya Nadella being named the new CEO of Microsoft, Indians have many reasons to be proud. Indian talent is being recognized at the international platform. Nadella is an inspiration to the youth of the country that seeks to establish itself as an intelligent, thought-provoking and capable entity. While the resources present may not be the best, the sheer hard work and dedication will definitely put the youth of India on the world map.

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You must be to comment.
  1. Prashant Kaushik

    Without de-recognizing the efforts author put in to compile the 10 pics, I want to say that, when a reader like me clicks a link on a website like YKA, he has an expectation to find something new , something unheard, something he might have skipped in his thoughts. This collection fails to satisfy that urge of a reader and all the pics are very trivial in nature.

    5 of the 10 most defining moments of last 12 years which you selected are taken from just past 5-6 months… I think as a writer, you should have gone deeper and further than just picking up and highlighting the recent popular thoughts which are already in news.

    Eg. India’s Stunning near 9% GDP growth in mid of last decade, was definitely more inspiring than a one individual becoming CEO of a software firm. Indian firms taking over some of the biggest Global giants eg Tata steel taking over Corus was very much symbolic of arrival of India inc on a global stage.
    Team India’s winning the Cricket world cup of 2011, after a gap of 28 years, was again a moment more historic than the Master’s last match.
    Same goes with those first Gold medals which we won in the century old history of Olympics in individual category.

    Similarly 2002 attack on Parliament, Economic crises of 2008-10, Mega scams such as 2G and besides many other incidents, had they not been there, history and future of our current generation as well as the whole India could have been very different than what it is today.

    ~ Just a feedback

    1. Amrita Roy

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I will definitely keep what you pointed out in mind next time I do something similar. Yes, I too had thought of many other defining moments in India’s recent history but unfortunately these moments did not have significant photographs for me to include. The point here was to select the defining photographs from recent Indian history, not just defining moments. And hence I couldn’t include many defining moments such as 9% GDP and TATA steel taking over Corus, or for that matter TATA motors buying Jaguar from Ford Motors. I had thought of including India’s World Cup victory here too, and it definitely had many defining photographs as well. But then I thought that more than winning the World Cup, the fact that India has a cricketer as great as Sachin Tendulkar, who is considered to be God by the cricketing world, is a greater achievement for the country. The photo from his last international was to highlight the inspiration Tendulkar is to the country rather than the fact that it was his last international.
      But I will definitely keep your feedback in mind and work on it and come up with photographs that will hopefully bring out events that might have passed through people’s minds without having created an impact. Thank you once again! 🙂

  2. Amit Roy

    Well selected and nicely written. You could have selected demolition of Babri Mosque as also one of the most horrifying incidents though this heinous crime was not done recently.It was an incident which shook all of us not only because of unruly mob’s disrespect to one religion but this notoriety was led by an elected government with the leaders from one political party present at the site clearly violating the constitution. Alas, the same party talked about protection of constitution when Jan lok Pal bill was being tabled at Delhi assembly!

  3. Mehul Gala

    If anything, this article has put a lump in my throat.
    Very well written Amrita.

  4. Nikita Goel

    Amazing Amrita 🙂

  5. pawan kumar

    Smartly selected issues and incidents. Some felt us proud while some put in thought for while. We indians need to have a positive vision. This is the thing that can indeed encourage us to brighten india in the nearest future and this is what we dream for.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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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