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

Here’s What It Really Means To Study Humanities In India

By Pallavi Priyamvada:

I am a humanities student and the answer disappoints me!

“beta tum toh ache student ho, fir arts kyu le rhe ho”
“arts field me koi career nhi h”
“ ache students ke liye science stream hi sahi h”
“ mann lagakar padhai karo, wrna arts lena pdega”
“itne ache number lane par agar arts loge toh log kya kahenge”

timthumb

These are not famous quotes from the yellow pages of wise philosophers, but very profoundly quoted by those who claim to be so. If the student is bright, he/she must study science. If the student is weak, humanity would serve them best. If the bright student is a girl, she will have to deal with biology and if that bright student happens to be the boy, he cannot insult his intelligence by taking up anything besides technology and engineering. These are not my words, but the common understanding of the society in general or rather should I say, the stereotypes attached with the division of subjects where:

The interest of student – does not matter.
The ambition of student – has to be monetary profits.
The aptitude required for a particular subject – is all about higher marks.

And if somehow neglecting (this is not quite possible), accepting or confronting these labels, a student sticks to his/her guns and studies humanities, he/she is always reminded of their apparent inferior position. Their dignity is often attacked because of their own choices of subjects, or rather dumbness. But what enrages me is the whole perception which is building these nonsense notions. How can the two subjects be compared when the entire method of approaching them is different? Why is your choice of subject, instead of showcasing your interest and aptitude, used to judge your intelligence quotient?

In India, it’s a common belief that pursuing humanities limits the careers options and is not beneficial monetarily. And if this is true in the current scenario, why should they pursue a passion for classics even if it might not guarantee returns in the job market? After all, one does not want to be doing what they love and be homeless. India has numerous languages, a rich historical, ethnic and cultural background and so can offer a number of course in humanities to Indian as well as foreign students. But this is not happening as the subject is not being encouraged the way it needs to be. Every day we come to know about the new IITs, IIMs and AIIMSs being founded but how many of us actually know about the best humanities institutes in India. It seems even the government is oblivious to the importance of studying humanities and so promotes only Science and technology related subjects.

Through exploration of the humanities, we learn how to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask questions. In science, mathematics and engineering classes, one is given facts, answers, knowledge, and truth. The professors say, “This is how things are.” They give you certainty. The humanities give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism. The humanities are subversive. They undermine and question the claims of all authorities, whether political, religious or scientific. They do not just correct your wrong pair of glasses via which you look at the world but also provide you multiple lenses with multiple perceptions. Humanities make you question absolutely anything, even science. Here, I am not making a point that Science is anywhere less important or humanities are more constructive. But I am arguing against the mindset that categorizes Humanities (or any subject for that matter) as ‘easy’. If calculating electromagnetic induction is strenuous, then researching social relationships and its associated complexity is no cakewalk. But many students realize this baseless ground of differentiation so late in their lives that they end up dwindling in science classes even if they had skill and ability for music, sports, arts or anything ‘non-technical’.

The problem lies in the way we view education. We do not perceive subjects as something worth to learn from but rather see it as stock market where we invest our credentials to get the profits. But at the same time, we fail to realize that the market is changing every day. And in that state of affairs, if ratings are to be done, the scales of measurement could go in reverse any-time soon. But I am not hoping so and neither want Humanities to be honored with superiority (that would be flawed again) but all the subjects to be respected for what they have to offer and honor the education altogether.

You must be to comment.
  1. Prashant Kaushik

    If ‘Humanities’ students are so proud of their subject and their own capabilities, why do they they feel so inferior while competing against students from Science/Engineering background ?
    All what you say here is merely a lip service, a repeat of similar article published here just 3-4 days ago. Same content, same theme, just different words.

    Take the UPSC CSAT row.

    When Engineering/Science students can learn Humanities, why do the converse never happens ?
    A very strong allegation raised against CSAT is that it favour Engineering/Science students.
    How ? Hardly 5-7 questions out of total 80+100 are asked from Maths. The dominant others being Reasoning/Analytical/Comprehension ?
    Don’t these blame games send a signal that humanities students are dumb cards who can only do rote learning and go duck when it comes to anything related to reasoning/analytical/comprehension.

    Now see how we science students never complained.

    See below, even a blind can tell whom does UPSC favors Science or Humanities.
    Paper 1 – Indian Language
    Paper 2 – English
    Paper 3 – Essay
    Paper 4 – History, Geography, Society
    Paper 5 – Polity
    Paper 6 – Economics, Environment, SCIENCE
    Paper 7 – Ethics
    Paper 8, Paper 9 – Optional (subject)

    Science does not amount to even 5 % questions in Mains. (Only some question in Paper 6) We have to prepare the other 95% which comes from Humanites. Still You people keep crying that Exam is biased and keep cribbing why Engineering/Medicine are getting more ranks than Humanities students.

    One more thing, Computer Science/Engineering is not even an option in Mains. Still we never crib or cry.

    Your subjects are a utter joke. It takes 3-6 months of dedicated study for us to prepare for Polity/History/etc as an Optional subject even though we never studied it in our graduation. In other words, Our 6 months are more than your 3 years of full time efforts.

    Can you give a single example where an Arts students can prepare in 6 months, what we learn in 4 years of Mechanical/Computer/Electrical/Civil … Engineering.

    Still everyday I keep hearing allegations that UPSC favours Science/Engineering students.

    1. atreya

      Dude arts are things which require more than plain reading and being a arts dropout in a eagerness to learn sciences I’m saying

  2. Suraj

    Well, Mr. Prashant Kaushik, the author is trying to highlight the stereotypes attached with choosing what to study after Class 10 & the societal and peer pressure that comes with it. It’s trying to make a case that humanities is a valid career option too regardless of what your marks are in any examination.
    The article does not even raise the UPSC issue or anything of that sort. You seemed to have completely missed the point.

  3. shreya

    you are completely right. i have more cgpa than alot of people who have taken up science and i have gladly taken up humanities without math. despite that i am finishing the math course simultaneously for sat. people (like the person who has just commented above) are still living in the era where science was everything. they are yet to evolve. also, the fact that our society is filled with people with archaic views isnt helping. having done better than most of them in my ninth and tenth, i know for a fact that had i chosen any other stream, i would have done equally well. however i choose not to take something i am not interested in. doesnt mean that i am dumb, it only means that i am strong enough to ignorant people like him who honestly feel doing Mechanical/Computer/Electrical/Civil … Engineering make them superior in anyway. if anything, they are cowards who are unable to follow their hearts and succumb to the pressures of the obsolete indian society.

    1. shreya

      pay no heed to *

    2. Prashant Kaushik

      Sorry to say say Shreya, but is this how you draw conclusion ? Your comment, rhetoric, self boasting, and illogical deduction shows how much you have have grown your analytical skills.

      1) Your quote : ” i choose not to take something i am not interested in. doesn’t mean that i am dumb, it only means that i am strong enough to ignorant people like him ”

      Where did u draw the conclusion that I am calling someone dumb because of his/her choice of her subjects.

      Re-read these lines of mines –
      “Don’t these blame games send a signal that humanities students are dumb cards who can only do rote learning and go duck when it comes to anything related to reasoning/analytical/comprehension.”
      I have not made any universal statement, nor targeted the author.
      Morover, The ‘blame game’ refers not to the author of this article, but to those protesters who are spreading rumors that UPSC favours ENgineering students.

      The writer ( and you too) are free not to respond to the observations I brought. But it is disappointing to see you drawing senseless conclusions from my statements and getting extremely personal while attacking. Don’t forget you are indirectly representing the entire Humanities lot and any bad words only spoil image of them all.

  4. Voice of reason

    I agree with Prashant, and to all the ” socially deprived and depressed” ( only you feel so) people who crib about the fact that why are humanities not given importance, i would request you to kindly go to the depth of the matter and then comment.

    What do you want , parents coming and saying ” son/daughter it seems you are an amazing singer, go ahead join the thousand other singers ( some of whom even struggle for a four square meal a day) and who cares if you earn or not, who cares if you have a good life……… just do what ever you want”. This will never happen. Please try and understand that I am not against singers or any one who is in non technical field, nor am i saying that singers or other creative artists do not make a good living. I am not saying anything of that sort. All i want to say is for heaven sake stop cribbing… you will never come across any middle class parent who is not concerned about the financial stability of their kids.
    Please understand the point I want to make, our parents did not grow up in this era, they were not as lucky as we are.When they grew up globalization had not happened, jobs were difficult and private sector was unheard of. There were few successful singers and writers ( youtube wasn’t there remember) and animation, content presentation etc were not even heard of. Number of colleges were much lesser and hence the number of researchers etc. Film industry associates were not respected the way they are now, so obviously it is difficult for them to even fathom the concept of getting jobs in non technical fields. On the other hand, they saw that their peers who had done engineering getting good and respectable jobs, peers cracking UPSC exams ( which was exceptionally competitive even then) leading a comfortable live. So think honestly can you blame them for pressing their child for science. You cant , you cannot blame someone from 20th century for not having the mind set of the 21st century, its wrong.
    Think about a middle class family where the parents are fighting day in and day out to make ends meet, to satisfy the expectations of their kids, to fulfill the aspirations of their kids and most importantly ensure that before they die their kid is financially settled. It is this class that makes most of the noise about humanities and technical branches, and why shouldn’t they. They are in a world where they are witnessing first hand that money is almost everything. Now even though they know that one can earn a lot and lead a more then satisfied life even by pursuing humanities, but they are not willing to take such risk, what if their kid fails in creative field, i mean no one can deny that there a thousands of creative artists who are really struggling to make their ends meet ( again nothing against them ). I know in my native place many students who were never great in studies, they got a B.E. or B.Tech degree ( from completely random and ‘not good’ colleges) and at least got a job in some IT firm or some other start up. Where as the cycle of studies seems unending for a non technical student, a B.A. degree seems to be just not enough, Masters is must and even then there is absolutely no certainty of what is next.
    Once again i would like to say that i do not have anything against students from non technical fields and creative arts. There is absolutely nothing superior about anyone who studies Maths as a subject. The articles talks about the social stigma of Humanities and I tried to shed a light on why i think the same happens. And lastly, to all my friends in Humanities, if you want the situation to change, cribbing about it and posting articles will really not change anything, you need to set examples of successes in humanities, you need to come up with solutions which make these fields financially rewarding to a more wider section of the society, in short you need to create greater job opportunities in these fields, till such a time Science will continue to enjoy superior status.

  5. Arbitqubit

    Yet another article portraying India as the only country with such problems. The same issue exists in most western countries also but everyone likes to do some India bashing: Non-Indians do it because they feel superior, and Indians so it because they concur with this notion and want to be westernized. In the West, parents discourage their kids from doing music or arts or literature because of lack of job prospects. But Indians need to write such biased articles indicating that India is the only place on the planet where people are inclined to look for jobs where they can make money. You’re doing more damage than good by not putting your article in a broader social context.

  6. Ady

    Mr. Prashant Kaushik,
    Your biased statement and the condescending tone with which you address Humanities students is exactly what this article criticizes. The point here is not that science is tougher than arts, but science and arts are equally important fields and since progress in both spheres is necessary for development in general, Arts should be respected as much as science is. The author here is trying to shed light upon the stereotypes that Humanities students, whether brilliant or not-so-brilliant, have to face because of their subject choices.
    People have a habit of judging students on the basis of their stream they choose – “if you’ve opted for arts, you probably couldn’t score enough to get admission in science” and “science student, must be intelligent” – that’s how the perception goes. Some people(like yourself) fail to understand that Humanities(just like any other stream) can be chosen out of sheer interest and aptitude in the subject.
    What upsets me most about your comment is that you not only call our subjects an “utter joke” but also value your so-called 6 months efforts more than that of our 3 years. Most leading politicians today are lawyers, economists and scholars. How many are IITians and doctors?
    Now that you have raised the question regarding the difficulty level of streams, let me ask you this, what is more difficult? Mugging up theorems, formulas, practicing equations and vomiting them in the answer sheet to become the class topper, or to understand, analyse, interpret, articulate and present your own perspective regarding the problems faced by the society? You can conduct experiment in your labs, very well. But if you were asked to give a lecture to a class about the “easy” subjects of humanities, would you be able to? Can you articulate like a journalist? Fight for justice like a lawyer? Go on rallies like politicians & do social work? Can you a write a 1000 word essay on Indian History? Can you devise marketing strategies to earn profits? Can you FACE THE WORLD? I’m sorry to say I can provide no example of Arts students learning engineering in 6 months, but can you perform any ONE of the above-mentioned jobs?
    Even when you claim to be able to be able to study our subjects, you talk about your own mugging up technique. Humanities is not at all limited to rote-learning, humanities is the study of society and people – something you obviously fail to understand. Leaving aside all of that, if only, you would have showed some respect while commenting about humanities, it would have been worth the debate. But your words make it clear that you are the one filled with excessive pride and vanity. Selecting a particular subject does not make a person inferior or superior, but you probably won’t understand this. It is because of mindsets like these that such stereotypes prevail in the society even in the 21st century. Still, I hope that someday, somehow your perception will change.
    PS, Do note, English – a humanities subject which is an utter joke, according to you – is also the same language which has enabled you to post your comment in the first place.

    1. Prashant Kaushik

      Your comment doesn’t merit a response because it is irrelevant to what I wrote. You have failed to grasp even remotely what I intended to say.
      Read down my comments again. Keep reading them till you get an idea free from your own prejudice and hatred. You suffer from the same anxiety and self pride which you claim me to suffer from.

    2. Voice of reason

      Mr Ady,

      while obviously all branches of human studies and endeavor are equal but you really need to check your tone in your articles. You think we students of science cannot write a mere 1000 word essay in Indian History ( are you kidding me ), dude we can do much more then that. You think analysis social behavior is more difficult then understanding Heisenbergs uncertainty principals, dude please get a reality check. If you think Science is all about mugging equations then there is something wrong with your mental constitution. Think about it if Science is mugging then what is Humanities (i cant think of a lowly word to describe the same)..

      Ady all fields of studies are equally important, you cannot say one is greater then the other.

      ALSO PLEASE NOTE, SCREW THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH WE ARE POSTING COMMENTS, IF SCIENTIST AND ENGINEERS ( WHO AS PER YOU ONLY MUG EQUATIONS) HAD NOT DEVELOPED MOBILES, LAPTOPS AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB ( INTERNET FOR THE LESS INTELLIGENT), YOU WONT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO EXPRESS YOUR SELF IN THIS FORUM IN THE FIRST PLACE AS THIS FORUM WOULD NOT HAVE EVEN EXISTED…………how about that dude!!!

    3. Suman

      UPSC itself is a bad exam.The British founded it in both India and England called it Imperial Service Comission.It doesnot no longer run in England.In India it runs as IAS. or UPSC.Same for other Indian exams as well all the jees and pmts.Only asks knowledge no practical application.In England now science and humanities go hand in hand.Welcome trust has a medical humanities programme with a medical research program.We keep bashing each other has no solutions.Indian syllabus needs to be modernized.

  7. Tanvi

    I was a PCM student in 12th grade and now I am pursuing philosophy hons. I had economics as my 4th subject too. Frankly speaking the 12th humanities syllabus in India IS a joke, which constitutes of only mugging up, maybe understanding, but it in no way compares to the science syllabus. In subjects like physics, you have to mug up, you have to understand, and you have to solve numericals too. I guess the solution lies in making the Humanities syllabus more challenging and engaging which will lead to the whole society respecting the humanties subjects and not just looking at the students as weak. Truth is I know a lot of people who mugged up last minute and got high grades in Arts, which is impossible in science. I am not saying this in a malicious way but it IS a fact.

    1. Suman

      Physics in the 12th grade requires mugging up.Whatever you learn in physics you need to see it experimentally.

  8. Damien Hanet

    I come from a family where all the siblings have gone to different knowledge categories. My brother is a computer tech, one of my sister is a costume creator/designer for movies, operas and theaters, my other sister is a PhD students in biomedical science (research) and I am a librarian/archivist/information specialist. I am not able to do what they do and they are not able to do what I do.
    I now work in education: I help Indian universities in creating collaboration with Western universities. I also help western grad into finding an internship in India. And lastly I help with teacher exchange.

    I have never felt that science/engineering students were better than me. I don’t feel like engineers are more important than me. The studies I did and the job related to the studies are of the utmost importance especially in developing countries.

    Now I think that humanities studies is a bit like using Word. Everybody knows the basic and it is very easy to learn. Mastering Word to its full extend requires practice and learning. You can learn history in 5 years but you will only be a great historians after you read complete libraries and did research in archive centers, and it takes more than 5 years. And after that it doesn’t mean you will be a good one.
    On the contrary engineering and science requires a lot of learning before being able to produce something. And even after that it doesn’t mean you are a good one.

    As for the Internet, the idea came from a Belgian librarian called Paul Otlet. So the fact that we can exchange is thanks to a great mind of a librarian and the technicality of engineers.

  9. Ishan

    The article points out important issue of the modern Indian society.I graduated as a Engineer from one of the most reputed Institutes of India, and further took masters in management from a reputed group of institutes as well, but to be honest Engineering in India is a crackpot nonsense, people from Arts background might believe that Science and Technology is a definite subject which is apparently true ,yet it is more important to know that technology graduates are lame. They have no idea of what they have learnt. To be honest engineering is inferior to mugging up compared to arts graduate as they do not even know what they are mugging up. They have no idea how and where to apply their core subject Mathematics.What they only know is how to solve a problem as solved in the textbook.If you ask them when and where to use a second order differential equation in practical situation of technology or why the solution to particular differential equation is the way it is, what is the meaning of equation that you are using may it be simple or complex one never gets any answer. If Engineers or Science students would have really known of what they are doing then India would have been much ahead from rest of the world with reference to number of science and technology graduates it produce every year.

  10. Bidisha Dasgupta

    Why all this fight? Is it so hard to accept that all subjects are equally valuable and contribute to the world?

  11. gunik

    i think humanities is increasing in our country over a few decides

  12. Parv

    The things is , all science students have to prepare a lot for their boards as science requires a lot of effort to get good marks so that they can get a college , whereas in Humanities the subjects are mainly mugging up and not learning to analytically think or logically reason.
    Even more , most science students prepare for IIT JEE , which is one of the toughest exams in the world and requires a lot of effort and dedication to crack , and they have to minimize social interactions and outings just to secure a rank , basically sacrifice 2 yrs of their teenage life to get into college.

    Overall , Science students are more hardworking than other stream students , hence they deserve the applaud and respect. Not saying that Humanities or Arts doesn’t , but Science students are definitely a notch above them , atleast in India

    1. Arindam Neogi

      IIT JEE may well be an extremely hard exam to crack, but that doesn’t qualify as an argument for humanities students to be dumb. You are mistaken if you think that zero dedication goes into humanities. That may be the common perception, but the fact is, administering the country, studying the law and practising it, finding relations between a bomb blast in Mumbai and the current situation of a terrorist group are not, in the accepted definition, ‘easy’. Humanities-related lines require more hard work later in life than in school. As for humanities being a stream in which only mugging up works, that is simply a personal perception of yours. That depends on interests. I think you can agree that different people approach life differently and have varying interests. You simply do not get humanities, so you feel that is what everyone should feel. This is exactly the mindset that most science-favouring Indians have, and exactly the mindset humanities students abhor and do not follow. No one subject is ‘superior’. This is exactly the mindset humanities abolishes.

      60% of engineers in India are unemployed. This is because of the headless race of ‘becoming a topper’ and ‘getting your life set’, and failure to do so. This is also because they just can’t cut it. Do they also deserve applause? If yes, I really have NOTHING to say. If no, then what is the point of all that hardwork? Why didn’t they go further in that cricket academy? Did they sacrifice the awesome guitar that they played till 10th grade for nothing?

      I do not say any one stream is better than the other. I feel that they all are equal and unique in their own way. I could come up with a thousand arguments in favour of science as well. But one thing that should not exist at all is that superiority complex that a particular subject is better than the other.

    2. Tannya Kumar

      You see, the problem again lies with the system and not the students who make an informed choice to study humanities. The definition of hard work is so narrow in the country that it is limited to nothing but “cracking an exam, getting marks and getting a degree”. We should not forget that at the end of the day, it is us humans who create technology. So, it is very important to understand humans first. Have you seen and read reports by IISc. Bangalore, India? What is going to happen to Bangalore in the next 5 years because of this mad craze for globalization? Do we realize that subconsciously, we are all into this rat race because of this so called social order in India which does more harm than good? Think about the most fundamental questions in life.

      PS: I am an engineer by the way.

  13. Aishwarya S

    That’s really quite hurting.
    Even I want to study arts. But people say that this field won’t pay me enough , and I would never go above 1 lakh per month in my entire life.

    I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions ?

  14. Hera Ashraf

    Even I have same feelings for humanities! Its just soo underrated stream in our indian society.
    But people really need to change their perception.
    I agree that science students need much more analytical thinking but if we talk about hardwork than its almost the same.
    People talk about tough exams like IIT JEE but I think they forgot to recall the toughest exam ie. UPSE!
    The lengthy syllabus with just too much competition. Its enough people had to wake up and respect humanities students as they r also not doing an easy task..
    All talking about the board exams where science students claim to do more hardwork, I believe that here too humanities students work equally hard because CBSE mostly give twisted nd tricky questions which not only requires cramming but also alert mind and conceptual answers which clearly states that cramming is not enough for an Arts Student .. he/she also requires proper analytical thinking just as the science students require.
    Thus never ever underestimate any stream!

  15. RAVINDER JINDAL

    The reason I feel humanities is underrated because it is the field of a commoner. It involves a comprehensive study of general topics. Even after studying the topics for five years, a student may remain unaware of plenty of problems and solutions in the real world. Therefore, what is recommended is that a person specialises in the field oh his interest – science, research, engineering, architecture, finance. Later on, when he get a hold of a prominent position in society, he can continue to be an activist or a person with power to make a change. Humanities as such is not a subject. It is a feeling which only occurs to sensitive beings. Studying humanities just make it easy to fulfill the desire to serve the collective consciousness.

    1. Minakshi Mishra

      You said that this is a normal field and blah blah but you are completely wrong and your thinking is even more wrong, and for your kind information Mr. ,it is not the generation of 80’s or 90’s , we are living in 2020. And one more thing,
      If you are able to type here, that’s also due to humanities because English is also an art subject and there is not any high profession like doctor engineer , is valuable without English, foreign is very far away even not in India. you said that it involves a comprehensive study of general topics and yes you are write but not totally. You know what due to the thinking of people like you ,India is not able to do progress like US, UK etc. If you think that a person who takes science and commerce can mostly or only built his or her career then i think i should salute your thinking, bhaiii agar aise hi sochte aage bdhte rhoge tou pta nahi aane wali generations ka kya hoga aapki. By the way i have some guidance for you and that is below:-

      Lawyers
      Judges
      IAS,IPS,IFS
      Fashion designer
      pshycologists
      Media specialist
      military officer
      archaeologist
      college professor
      consultant
      cultural anthropologist
      editor/writer
      geologist
      historian
      linguistic anthropologist
      museum curator
      park interpreter
      physical anthropologist
      oceanographer
      statistician
      travel agent/guide

      see, how many options you have after humanities,I think every career needs equal hard work even if it is science commerce or arts and lastly one thing, yeh jo kharabi hai na wo subjects me nahi hai, wo aap logo ke dimaag me hai jo aap log kabhi change ni kr skte i think aapse socha bhi nahi jyega change krne ke bare me . Anyway, leave , what can i do with you minds huhh seriously its very funny. i cant control my laugh seriously kuchh logo ki thinking itni ghatiya kaise ho skti hai in the time of 2020.

More from Pallavi Priyamvada

Similar Posts

By Namrata Vijay

By Sneha Banerjee

By Silca

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below