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“The More I Travel, The More I Lose Love For My Own Country”: Why I Am Tempted To Leave India

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Growing up in Bombay, and then moving to Delhi, I’ve spent my whole life in India. I love being Indian. I learnt English as a first language, grew up in cosmopolitan Bombay, travelled to many places in India, and like some lucky Indians, have travelled throughout the world.

fisherman

I don’t know if its cynicism that comes with age, or the fact that I travel more now. But India is becoming more and more difficult to live in.

I understand population. I understand that there are more people than can be easily taken care of. I understand how each state having its own personality makes it difficult to frame laws that work across the country. I understand that there is a generation of uneducated people who are forced to live on the peripheries of the society. I even understand that I am not the person that the laws are framed for. I am but an innocent bystander, living in a small part of India that can afford a decent lifestyle.

But what’s happening is unfair. I am not going into depth about rape and basic women’s safety, which should be a given. These have been publicized enough. I’m talking about how simple experiences, which should be a given, become a difficult task here.

For example, I spend anywhere from 2 and a half to 3 hours every day just to get to work and back. Work is 30 kms away from home, not so far by international standards. But the traffic easily makes it take double or triple the time it should. With so much time spent in my car, I often get asked why don’t I just shift closer to where I work. Well, because that isn’t a safe option. Where I live is safer.

When we had to move from Bombay to Delhi, most people said the same thing – “Oh Delhi’s great, you’ll get a larger home, and wider and better roads make travelling around a bit better, but be careful with timings and going out alone, make sure you choose a really safe area to live in”. I was confused, and I still am – why should I have to choose between safety and a better quality of life? These are basics that can be controlled by people.

Simple things like working weekends and working unreasonably long hours make me feel that we sacrifice our quality of life to make money. I have colleagues who take pride in never taking holidays from work. I don’t get it – you put in a whole year of work so that you could work some more? You earn more money, but have fewer ways to enjoy it?

The Indian mentality of saving money so that you have money leads us to sacrifice enjoying the best years of our life. And what for? To win the rat race of buying a home, keeping money for your children’s future, and your own? Its because the government doesn’t secure old age. You give up the best years so that you manage to survive old age!

And then there are larger issues, like corruption, which exists in every step of the system, from bribing cops to black money held by so many Indians just to avoid high taxation. Well, in spite of high taxation, we see limited results – potholes that never leave our roads, power and water shortage in the capital city, high inflation; so much so that trying to avoid taxation does seem to be the norm for many Indians.

It’s sad, considering how this country has so much to offer. A journey from North to South, or East to West, shows diverse people, vegetation, climate, food and culture. It’s a fascinating melting pot that could have easily been a number of different countries. We have cultural and tourism opportunities that can be multiplied. We have so much potential, there’s no reason not to use it.

I never wanted to leave the country. Till a couple of years ago, I couldn’t imagine a better life than being surrounded by friends and family, those I grew up with. With no language barrier, with people who looked like you and where you aren’t foreign. Now, I feel moving away wouldn’t be so bad.

The more I travel, the more I lose love for my own country. And this is not travelling to the USA or the UK alone. The rest of the world is advancing faster. Be it any nation in developing and semi-developing countries of South East Asia, South America or the former USSR.

Indians abroad do fantastically well. Growing up in a country with so many people, always saving and fighting to reach the top, Indians are naturally ‘jugadu’. We can think through difficult solutions, are usually successful communicators, and have talents, that once given an organized way of working, can be streamlined into making Indians some of the best people to run any global organization.

As I see more people choosing to move to Singapore, Thailand or Australia, I have only one thought – We need to be careful as a nation, lest we should continue to lose our precious resources!

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  1. shubham srivastava

    mam at some point i agree with you but just think a while America and other european countries became free much much earlier than INDIA , when you compare the development made by those countries in 67yr from their freedom with our country you will see we are far better than them with all these problems you mentioned above . one thing I want to say is escapism is not a solution till the people like you are not going to stop leaving INDIA , INDIA can’t be going to be like AMERICA and other countries, and every country faced these problems but americans never opt to leave their country they make their country like this so today’s generation of Americans can proud over their country. same thing chinese russians japanese did for their country. stop thinking of leaving this country agar aap- 20 logo ko bhi sudhaar doge to vo bhot nhi but thoda to effect karega . 🙂

  2. Prateeksha

    Why do fortunate people like us, who have had access to education and other resources think about leaving the country, just for having a lavish lifestyle abroad? Do we ever think of bringing the change ourselves? We need to be careful as a nation- So who is exactly that ‘we’?
    Rather than losing love for our country from foreign experiences, we should be empathetic towards our nation, not to leave but live and bring change. Its not necessary that everyone of us can bring a huge and noticeable change, but even a small step will matter to that person, who is blessed with that small effort of ours.
    Actually we boast of being ‘Jugaadu’ but we forget that we also have that ‘chalta hai’ attitude and we expect others to feed us. Why do we have to wait for Govt. for everything. Real jugaad would be when we succeed to bring betterment in the society, with whatever we have, instead of crying, ‘Look what western countries have and we don’t’.

    1. Pratik

      Thank you for writing. I really appreciate your thoughts.

      I feel really sorry for all the problems that the country is facing especially related to womens’ safety. but if we educated people are not doing something, are not protecting eachother then who will ? Afterall the country is made up of us – people. so it is our shared responsibility.

  3. Rishabh Kumar

    I love the first world problems (in, by many accounts, a third world country) of people who start life in an Indian metro and shift to another metro and pretend to know this country. That’s what happens when you forcefully try to draw parallels between India with a nation like the US, by assuming that India is a melting pot. It’s not. It’s more of a salad bowl than a melting pot. It’s definitely not perfect. But I do feel like punching the faces in of people who complain about driving to their job from a lush gated society in an expensive car. You people should be the last people to whine. That lower middle class Oriya kid tucked away in a rat-hole PG simultaneously preparing for NET, while doing a job and a distance education course for an MA degree should be complaining. Not you oh Miss World Traveller. It’s annoying.

  4. Rishabh Kumar

    I love the first world problems (in, by many accounts, a third world country) of people who start life in an Indian metro and shift to another metro and pretend to know this country. That’s what happens when you forcefully try to draw parallels between India with a nation like the US, by assuming that India is a melting pot. It’s not. It’s more of a salad bowl than a melting pot. It’s definitely not perfect. But I do feel like asking those people to shut it, who complain about driving to their job from a lush gated society in an expensive car. You people should be the last people to whine. That lower middle class Oriya kid tucked away in a rat-hole PG simultaneously preparing for NET, while doing a job and a distance education course for an MA degree should be complaining. Not you oh Miss World Traveller.

  5. Soumik

    Such a piece-of-shit article!

    1. jk

      Seriously shit

  6. Karan

    Miss Lalwani
    I just have one question for you. What about the foreign people and families you meet abroad? I’m sure they dress better and are way more modern than the measly Indians that you have the ill fate of having around you. Does that make for your ‘the more I travel, the more I lose love for my own people/family’ theory?
    God bless 🙂

  7. Shreyes_J

    I can relate to what you’re saying. I’m planning on pursuing a career in music, specifically playing a sub-genre of Metal called Progressive Metal, which would be difficult, if not impossible here in India. The other commentors are incorrect in blaming the OP. If an individual is experienced and talented in a field and is unable to live off of it in his country, he faces no blame in leaving.

    To prevent brain drain, India needs to make measures fast.

  8. Maneesh

    Yes, with that attitude please leave India.

  9. HC

    Well OP, I want to move to another country as well.. But the reasons you put forth are pretty situation specific. For example:
    1) Travel time is high even for people in New York. It depends on the city/job/where you stay. I work in Mumbai and stay a 10 min walk away from my workplace. So the traffic argument is totally invalid.
    2) Regarding having to stay far away from your work place.. Well, safety is an issue in many top countries as well depending on where you stay. Certain states in the US have a real crime problem and there too you have to choose wisely on the location of your home. If it is so much of a pain you can change your job/city in India.
    3)Criticizing the ‘Indian mentality’ of saving money is kinda off-topic here. Why do you care if Indians save money or spend money. You are free to do what you want. Spend all your money on travel.. No one is going to stop you. Actually, the saving habit of Indians is one of the reasons which holds India in better stead. A credit based economy like the US where people spend money which they don’t have is not the best way to live. In any case, what other people do doesn’t matter at all. Useless reason to move to another country.
    4) Corruption etc are real issues which are sort of prevalent in most emerging economies. Its a pain, no doubt about it. But I am not sure if through general vacation travel we will be able to figure out the actual experience of living in other emerging economies.. I know the situation in certain South American countries is not too different.

    Anyway, my point is that your wish to move to another country is fine. Anyone would like to experience a better standard of living if given a choice. But most of the reasons you have specified are immature and not valid. I am not a huge believer in ‘nationalism’ or ‘patriotism’ as I feel the whole world belongs to all human beings, so I support your desire to move. Maybe, you don’t need to justify it so much. And maybe, its just because you want better comfort/facilities in life.

    1. Kronos

      I totally agree with you on most points, I too believe the whole world belongs to all humans. But think about it if India was like the US or other European counties in terms of quality of life. No-one would want to leave India. Everyone wants a good life maybe not a luxurious one, but as of today in India most have to strive for a decent life. That leaves them no time for community service. And those who do, don’t have the means or if they have the means the Government doesn’t support them.

  10. Nitin

    Nice written thoughts, worth reading and knowing the pains of being a women in a country obsessed with mafia dynasty and totally eaten by corruption in the last 60 years. However, I have a different thought process. Rather than getting frustrated and feeling strongly to move to greener pastures, if we all can collaborate and weed out the evils from our society, it would ensure that the no one else faces the same harassment and stigma that women face even in a metro like Delhi. As such grass always looks greener on the other side, who knows else where there might be discrimination on some other basis !!

    1. Kronos

      Absolutely right about collaborating and weeding out evil. Why don’t you start? I am with you.

  11. Varun Kabra

    All the points above define the way Indian society is today. But what I fail to understand is why are you dojng exactly the same things in this article. Are you also a part of the rat race. If not, you shouldnt be bothered about how ithers save money or work more hours. How does it change your life is unanswered by your article!!

  12. Akhil K

    Poor article playing to sensationalism. You can choose to do all the above in India. Move to lets say Hyderabad or Pune where you can live close to work quite safely. Don’t join the rat race – take up a easier job. It is a myth that everything is easier in the US. Having worked there 10 years I can assure you if you want to have an accelerated career there it is the exact same race you will be joining. Granted you can slack off and do a 9-6 much more easily there.

  13. Krishna

    Hi Natasha,

    I understand your thought process, but I do not agree with, perhaps, your final decision of moving abroad. Be the change you want to be, take people along with you.

    Because of my father’s job, I have lived and traveled throughput the length and breadth of India – Delhi to Kanyakumari, and Mumbai to Guwahati. For education and work I have been to US and Europe. What you see on the top is all glittery and shiny. All Indians living out of India in good positions definitely give you rosy picture (which is true and better compared to India).

    But, have you ever asked them about ground reality – what happens to the lower middle class and lower middle class, the farmers, the people in small service industries or menial jobs in those countries ? I have met Americans who are so disappointed with their country’s leaders and capitalism that given a chance they moved like to move out.

    Lot of people living outside India are there to earn money. And always keep talking about missing Indian culture, living together, the ‘apnapan’. Yes, there are definitely people who do not want to come back.

    Have you ever asked a question – Why these countries (that you would like to move to) are the way they are ? There are different reasons for each country’s or city’s success. It’s the people who belong to that land who toiled hard to build it. What have we done ? Have we to our fullest potential contributed to Making India, Have We ?

    Nobody can stop you from living wherever you want. Live where you love, Do what you love. But, knowing the answers the above questions is important.

    All the best.

    Best Regards,
    Krishna

  14. Utkarsh

    With all due respect, i find this article cynical. They are plenty of places in India that you can roam about and you will fall in love with them and not want to leave India. I agree there are many problems that loom large in our country, but if we don’t wanna change it who will and leaving the country means running away from the problems. Also we are way better than many countries. We are most tolerant country ( check the history), The need of the hour is to change the things we want changed and not disparage and leave the country. Try and Introspect

  15. Babar

    The author cites a lack of a ‘good lifestyle’, corruption, and rape as contributing factors for her decision to settle abroad, without realizing that these are global epidemics, not reserved for India alone. Furthermore,it is Indians who have and are working hard to build economies in the U.K. and the U.S. A large contribution in the progress of western countries is the blood and sweat of Indians. Also, always remember, ‘all that glitters is not gold’.

  16. Supriya Sarkar

    May God provides you time for this kind of Bullshitting…May your dumbassness makes India a funny place to visit ; at least some foreign currency is on the verge of coming..

  17. Raushan Kumar

    Miss Natasha Lalwani, I seriously pity your dumbness and cowardice, please bear with me for my detailed explanation:
    Your statement “The More I Travel, The More I Lose Love For My Own Country” is a proof of your dumbness. When you are in love with someone or something, you accept its positives and negatives both. If you love your mother and she starts developing some kind of deadly disease, would you start losing love for her ?….No, right ?…So, it may be that you used to “like” India (not “love”) when you had a comfortable living. But, once you have been pushed out of your comfort zone, you started disliking it.

    Your second statement “Why I Am Tempted To Leave India” is a clear proof of your cowardice. What do you do when your mother starts developing some deadly disease?…You are not tempted to leave her, you put all your efforts to cure her, right ?…Why don’t you do the same for this country?…If you seriously think that there is so much problem, make an effort to solve it. Isn’t it very easy and cowardice to leave the country ?

    And, even if you are tempted to leave or leaving or whatever, don’t publicize it like this country made you do so. Accept that you are coward and just leave the country.

  18. Kronos

    Very interesting reply. You love India and all Indians it seems. Tell me do you feel bad for the people on the streets?

  19. Kronos

    Natasha, you have spoken my mind. I too feel the same. I love India because I was born here, grew up here, am surrounded by family and friends, love the geographies. But I hate India for the selfishness of it’s people. Here it’s always ‘I’ not ‘We’. Talk bad about India and their blood boils and awakens their latent patriotism. But ask what have they done for the country and it’s people and they have no words. Everyone can’t be a Mahatma Gandhi. Yes the quality of life abroad is better because most people there abide the rules. Here if someone intervenes a wrong doing we are told ‘Tere baap ka kya jaata hai’ or ‘Jaanta nahi main kaun hun?. Mind you all this ‘desh prem’ is very hunky dory till it starts affecting you. Mr. Raushan Kumar said if you love your mother you wouldn’t leave her, well Mr. Raushan let me give you another analogy if your leg has gangrene and has to be amputated to save your life, would you give up your life to save your leg? I don’t think so. You love your leg but you would be forced to sacrifice it. The author loves India but it’s become like that gangrene for her. Your first duty is always to yourself, then to your loved ones, then to your society where you live, then to the country. That’s how nature has made it. I am sure all the people who have commented against this post are the true patriots who have sacrificed all their comforts and good life for the betterment of the country, that’s why they have the right to say such things.

    1. Jyoti

      Dear Kronos

      I absolutely agree with you that if your leg has gangrene and has to be amputated to save your life you would rather get rid of your leg than give up on your life. If your country has a problem, you contribute towards resolving the problem and not abandon your country…unless you decided that your country is your leg and not your life! And you really contradict yourself. First you say that in India it is all about “I” and then you say ‘Your first duty is towards yourself’. My friend, it is people like you who bring the ‘I’ element and then also complain about it. And before you ask others, please ask yourself what have you done for your country besides writing on a public forum that you “hate India” for whatever reasons.

  20. Rahul

    Well said !!! .. I share the same felling about India. We already have started loosing the best who really could have changed the country. Half my Facebook feed is filled with friends who no longer live in India, nor do they intend to comeback.

    The few that are left are just clinging to this hope of a better India. Someday !!!

  21. Amit

    Natasha, I TOTALLY agree with you.. I was born and brought up in Delhi.. travelled quite a lot in India.. I also feel the same that I am wasting so much time travelling around and I would have done a zillion things… I am also leaving India for EXACTLY same reasons… Becos I feel I have a right to live a better life than I am living here and if some other country is providing the same, I will readily move there… And I dont know why I shouldnt… There is lot of bullshit about bringing change in society… but exactly when the time comes to give an example, a certain cowardice take over Indians about what people and society would think… We celebrate independence but one cant marry with independence and couples are butchered like animals… I pity this country now and FULLY agree with you.. And who dont either they lack vision or experience how life is outside India… Thanks for giving words to my feelings…

  22. Pratik

    I am surprised how can YKA publish such a shallow article. There are thousands of problems in India but that does not mean there are absolutely no problems in other countries.

    I am living in Europe for the past one year and I know people here are utterly dissatisfied with their government and leaders. They do not have satisfactory jobs and their personal lives are strained. Of course, in comparison with India, they do have a higher standard of living and social security benefits. That does not mean that you are free to compare India with any other country.

    Each country is unique with its own sets of problems. India is no exception. Therefore do not give baseless arguments (your personal opinions) and keep them to yourself. Thanks.

    1. Arjun Shankar

      So let me get this straight: You’re saying that somebody living in a country with reasonable social security, a meaningful public transport system and low crime rates is dissatisfied with what they have. And *therefore*, another person living in a country with poverty, starvation, all-permeating corruption, lack of basic sanitation for all, and where women have absolutely no safety should STFU and keep their opinions to themselves?

      Okay. Makes sense, I guess.

    2. Pratik

      Thank you for writing. what I am saying based on my interaction with people here is that there are problems here (in developed countries) too. Of course, the nature of the problems is different.

      The problems that you mentioned that are there in India but because there are problems, one is hating one’s own country and leaving it only because s/he has that privilege. They can of course do that. but can it be the solution? Certainly not.

      I am not asking those people leaving the country to care for their fellow citizens and stay back. of course, they can leave the country because they can. For the majority of the population, it is not an option.

      They are living with a hope.Being hopeful and trying to bring change and being part of that change is always better.

  23. Gagan

    I see many patriots bashing the author left and right. Personally I do not see anything wrong in what she has written. These are the exact feelings that I too share.

    I belong to a small town in Maoist infested Odisha, and anyone if taken the pain of travelling to those remote places, would know what lives people lead after about 70 years of independence. Transportation, roads, safety, police behavior, school infrastructure or teachers quality, good hospitals.. you would not find a single thing that is perfect or even good. But yes, cherish for being an Indian!

    Talking about the cities, I live in Bangalore the Garden City! I am yet to see a decent garden though. Lal bagh ? It takes me minimum 1 hour to sustain painful traffic and pollution to reach there. I go out of my home and land up in heavy traffic. I am forced to stay indoor all throughout the weekend. Just thinking about the traffic drives me nuts.

    I cannot take my bicycle out. There are no bicycle tracks! People drive their motor cycles on foot path. And no public transport or footpath (or anything for that matter) is disabled friendly. I cannot imagine what ordeal a blind person or a wheel-chair-bound person has to go through in his life.

    It is a country that still doesn’t have efficient public transport in its top cities. You see the public transport of Munich or Frankfurt and you will puke on this indian system. 60+ years, and we are still developing.

    Most people cannot even afford good schools. State run schools are pathetic and private schools are way too expensive. Even if your kid manages to shine till class 12th, He/she probably cannot get a seat in DU or JNU as cutoffs are insanely 100%. Most patriots shouting here, would readily send there kids to EU/USA for higher studies.

    Here is a country where health, education, holidays, a stroll in a green park, calm noiseless walk on the footpath, a clean well maintained bus/train.. everything is a luxury. Yet, cherish for being an Indian.

  24. Ricky

    All of us can do that but solutions ??

  25. Shubha

    Hello Natasha!

    I wanted to move out some years back not because of population or corruption or pollution but just for the heck of it. But now I do not want to move away. The more I visit places in India the more I am falling in love with with my country.Yes the cities are crowded but can’t help it. Our country is doing well and we are going to progress a lot more soon.Yes I do want to visit many other countries but come back home again back to India.

    Regards,
    Shubha.

  26. Vipul Gupta

    Dear Co-patriot,

    There are times when your views here find resonance with mine and frustration with the system gets the better of me. Its only human to want to move to greener pastures and relocating abroad also does not mean turning your back on your country. I am sure outside of India any Indian would still add value to their mother land some way or other while they will not be overly missed in India for their place would be gladly filled by someone else in us many. But I do believe that if birth is a chance, then I did get lucky. Out of 190+ countries in the world and only 20-30 places I would rather be born, I do think it is a happy chance that i was born in India. Imagine yourself being a girl in Iraq right now or unemployed in Greece or Paris or being from a tribe like bushmen or a stripper (pardon me) in America to pay for tuition. In short, we owe our being to our country. There are people worse off and we should count our blessings and try being a part of the solution.
    Wish you all the happiness in the world!

  27. Kaustubh Rajnish

    This is a common misconception. Doing tourism and living in another country are two very different things. From a business perspective there is nothing more exciting than India and China right now. People work on weekends abroad too. More people are getting back to India than ever before. The author overlooks the cheap manual labour without which are lives would not be functional at all like the bais, cooks and drivers. He also overlooks that living in any big city you have to choose between safety and proximity to work. Be it London, Paris or New York. And travel times across these cities is average 2 hrs everyday.

  28. Kaustubh Rajnish

    This is a common misconception. Doing tourism and living in another country are two very different things. From a business perspective there is nothing more exciting than India and China right now. People work on weekends abroad too. More people are getting back to India than ever before. The author overlooks the cheap manual labour without which are lives would not be functional at all like the bais, cooks and drivers. He also overlooks that living in any big city you have to choose between safety and proximity to work. Be it London, Paris or New York. And travel times across these cities is average 2 hrs everyday. Medical help is a nuisance across most developed nations. I recently spent 5 hours in a French hospital just to be checked. And I was not alone…one french boy with a broken hand waited more than me. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side Also India does have its share of problems but they are lesser for the affluent class which the author seems to belong to.

  29. mike

    this is just the usual rant by upper middle class of a transition economy. The same can be heard from china, vietnam, hong kong also has this theme of nation going to the dogs and how if something is not done soon, the nation is doomed to the dustbin of history. the same theme is common in any number of transition economies and more importantly societies transitioning from a feudal set-up to one with higher social mobility.

    Or maybe i am being too harsh on the author. Maybe it is just a matter of perspective. Where the author experiences impatience with change, i rejoice that we today have a generation that is in a position of demand change, where the author sees people willing to sacrifice joy and compromise on life, i see a a new gen that is today capable of questioning this situation. Change is a multi-generational phenomenon. To expect a nation and a society as deeply scarred as India to be concerned about quality of life and the higher pursuits of life without first taking care of roti-kapda-makan is being blind to the realities of life.

    the author might see the laid back life and excellent quality of life of western europe or USA, basically the NATO nations and conclude that India compares poorly to the same. But its unfair comparison as what we see today is the product of 2-300 years of continuous social, political and economic churning and evolution that has resulted in the ideal welfare state model that makes EU and other developed nations what they are; India has to chart its own road with regard to provision of a good life to its citizens. It will take time. To randomly chant that 60 years have passed since independence and then expect for change to happen is being short-sighted. A process which attempts to change a 1000 year old playbook cannot happen in half a century. It happens through you and me and out kids and so on.

    On a lighter note, with the world becoming so connected its crazy, is brain drain any longer a concept with relevance. When we can accept cross border movt of capital and industry, why cannot labour trans-nationality be normal too. in my experience brain drain as well as over-population stink of white racial fear projection imposed on he world at large.

    Okay that is the end of my rant :P.

  30. Spandan

    The article written by miss selfish is really funny. I agree that India has countless flaws regarding the security and safety of the citizens. Being a small town boy, it was my dream to see the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the metro cities of india. I moved to mumbai as I got admitted to one of the most prestigeous IITs in India. In a short period of 4 years, I totally fell in love with the chaos and fast moving city. I have been to many countries around the world. I have got enormous opportunities to earn in dollars. But I have chosen to live in my own country.
    I sincerely ask miss selfish, what she has done for others. What she has done except earning money and spending them for visiting some countries and eating in some cafeteria. Its easy to earn money and have a so called peacefull life. And what do you know about India? If u have talent, you will earn much more than you need in this country honestly and spend that extra money for others. Money and comfort are not the only things in life. Look beyond that and you will forget about leaving ur mother. Thank you.

    1. Pratik

      100% agree and support your comment especially the last sentences. She need not to justify but giving such reasons is not okey. If you cannot do something to change the situation then going away and saying it aloud , justifying it , is not okey. because it is not justifiable. I do not claim to be nationalist/patriotic but do believe in nation building and being hopeful.

  31. Gaurav

    Excellent article. The writer has explained in simple language the reasons why Indians want to leave india. I can relate to the author as an Indian. so many indians have wasted their life doing nothing. we are simply wasting our lives here.

  32. sathya

    I think just the opposite! More I travel, I really want to get back to India sooner. Few countries outside are clean, safe and economically good. But it is still not India. It is always good to travel and explore the nature, culture and people of other countries, but it is hard to make living! Indian culture no matter of any religion or state is so close to heart. Of course there are lot of flaws in a country like India, but I feel no country is the best! And I don’t think just escaping and going to a flawless country will yield any peace of mind! Life will be boring!
    And countries the author has mentioned! I’m sorry, it is obvious that there have not been any living in many places! South America? – Out of all the theft and shooting just common everyday! USSR – Seriously? There is no place to cry for democracy! South east Asia – did you mean Malaysia, Indonesia? – they are very poor countries.
    Singapore – work alcoholic, and no life! Australia – other than nature, how bad is the job market and racism – talk to the people living there. Thailand – a place definitely to travel around as a tourist!
    And I love to travel!

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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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