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10 Things About The Telangana Struggle You Should Know On The Day Of Its Birth

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By Mayank Jain:

“What we need is not more distrust and division. What we need now is acceptance.”Tom Daschle

It was 7th December, 2009 when an all party meeting called by the government set in motion the process of carving out a new state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. The decision was taken in the light of a fast-unto-death by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao.

KCR, as he is known over the country with his party Telangana Rashtra Samithi, has just taken the oath as the first Chief Minister of India’s newest state and it marks the end of a long drawn movement that spanned over 60 years. Telangana has become the 29th state of India but the process has not been as simple as it looks on the surface. Here are the 10 major events in the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh:

1. BJP’s Yatra: BJP led by State party president Kishan Reddy started the 22 day Telangana ‘Poru Yatra’ across 88 constituencies to stress the importance of creation of Telangana. TRS however, did not support the state party and the rallies failed to create the desired impact across the state.

2. All Party Meeting: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde called an all party meeting on 22nd December, 2012 to discuss the Telangana issue and he remarked that this would be the last such meeting on the issue. Around 8 parties attended the meeting but it failed to reach any conclusion due to opposing views from the Congress leadership itself.

3. Intensified Protests: In January, the Home Minister announced that the consultations on the issue were still going on and the protests intensified. Later during the year, two congress MPs joined TRS because of their support to the creation of a new state and senior leader and politburo member Kadiyam Srihari quit TDP and joined TRS.

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4. Chalo Assembly: A call to lay siege at the Hyderabad Legislative Assembly in May 2013 was given by Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) to press the formation of Telangana. The police in effect, made pre-emptive arrests of suspicious people and over 25,000 policemen were deployed to monitor the situation. Osmania University became the centre of action as police had to use tear gas shells to keep the agitators away.

5. Congress’ Acceptance: Congress hosted a public meeting which was attended by over 1,00,000 people to show their continued support to the formation of Telangana as the internal survey showed lead for the party in polls. The party put the proposal to the Central Working Committee and the committee unanimously supported a resolution to form the state within a stipulated timeframe and resolved to pay due attention to the concerns over water sharing and other issues between the two states.

6. Gorkha Demands: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha reacted to the approval of Telangana by calling on an indefinite hunger strike for the formation of Gorkhaland. Protests erupted around West Bengal with calls for the formation of state. Moreover, calls for new states like Bundelkhand also gained momentum.

7. Cabinet Nod: Cabinet approved the formation of Telangana state on 3rd October, 2013 and also recommended the setting up of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the issues of both the resulting states and resolve them prudently.

8. State Formation Begins: After incorporating the inputs from the state assembly, GoM cleared the Telangana Bill. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha amid protests and an unprecedented use of pepper spray by Seemandhra MP, Lagadapati Rajagopal in the assembly which caused some of the members to be hospitalized. After the clearance of bill from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the President gave his assent to the formation of Telangana and 2nd June was determined as the Telangana Formation Day.

9. Telangana Is Born: Amid celebrations, drums and a great display of firecrackers at midnight, the 29th state of India has come into being. Hyderabad will be the combined capital of the two states for the next 10 years.

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10. KCR Takes Oath: After the prolonged struggle, KC Rao has become the first chief minister of the newly formed state after taking oath at 8.15 AM. The first meeting for the Telangana Cabinet is scheduled for today and the first decision KCR is expected to take as the CM is to clear the release of funds for the families of those who lost their lives during protests and agitations.

Further reading: The Historical And Cultural Context Of The Struggle For Telangana

To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter @Mayank1029 .

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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 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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