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After Sailing Through The Modi Wave, Will AAP Deliver?

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By Ishan Marvel:

Riding the Modi Wave

The country is being tossed about in a terrible and almost ridiculous play of forces, and this is just the surface view. The one we get from the numbers, words, and pictures. Imagine, actually being at the myriad ground zeroes . . . you thought you’ll be fine as long as you’re not Muslim? Well, they are on to churches now.

Photo Credits
Photo Credits

“Can one build a Hanuman mandir in Vatican?” asks Surendra Jain of VHP for his million clicks of fame. The trouble is that we actually have enough citizens who’ll take such words seriously. The communication channels too are prone to push these idiocies for a quick cash-in.

The heartening thing, however, is that the Modi-BJP bubble, at least in the mainstream, is beginning to burst. Be it the infamous suit or the unique ‘Defecate on the Land Acquisition Bill’ protest, the laughter is growing; and laughter, of course, is powerful. For in the times of the ‘Lord Internet’, no matter how much you try and manipulate things, it is difficult to keep on lying and not being called out for it. But, for each individual who bothers to research all the facts spewed about, there are probably thousands who don’t. Worse, most believe whatever’s being said. Thus, the lies spread; all the fundamentalists know this.

On Opposition

Amidst all of this, the Rajya Sabha has, for once, gained a real significance in the legislative sphere. Right now, it’s the closest to what we could call an Opposition, and on that account, it seems to be doing well. On to the Congress then, which meanwhile, is meandering after a decade of seemingly-not-so-bad-but-at-the-core-rotten reign. Perhaps, now, when we talk of Manmohan Singh’s honesty, we should attach the prefix ‘technical’ before it. One: you were the PM, even if you were really unaware of everything – this is still no excuse for the way you have behaved.  Two, and this seems more likely to have happened: you chose to keep quiet, in which case, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t dip your finger in the pie .

Nonetheless, the Congress trundles on. The BJP tried to rub in the ultimate symbolism by asking them to vacate the Akbar Road headquarters but let’s see how that turns out. Yet, in the able absence of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress is rallying once more. Perhaps they smell the blood in the air, because as of now, it seems that the one way they could come back to force would be if AAP disintegrates. Remember, everything begins from the capital – case in point: the 2015 Assembly elections.

Everyone knew that the Congress was out as we approached the voting day. The intensity soared, as things looked set for a David and Goliath narrative — and for once, it happened! An Oscar-worthy script: a wet-behind-the-ears underdog managed to make the cut once, but failed in the main elections due to the pressure. He worked hard after that — this was emphasized by the intense, sweaty close-ups. (Remember Kejriwal’s back-of-the-auto pictures?) He even apologized to his supporters, and in the end, came back with a sweeping victory! However, life doesn’t end at the perfect the-end moment (complete with a triumphal procession and a celebratory snapshot with the missus).

Now: An appeal to the AAP

Even, your otherwise apathetic friends – and you — dragged yourselves to the polling booth on election day just to press that blue button next to the jhaadu. And then, you celebrated with joy on the 10th, after the victory. The sabziwallah and the society guard dancing drunk to celebrate the AAP’s victory. Job well done! We, the people of the capital, did our part.

Feels terrible, then, now when things seem to be falling apart. Maybe it’s just a false alarm, a shaky beginning. It better be, for here’s the thing Mr. Kejriwal and company, you can play the forgiveness card only once. And if you really end up doing a repeat of the last time, you’ll lose the one thing that works for you: Credibility. Already, the drama has begun to chip at it. Don’t let us recede into cynicism once more; all that murdered hope shall not be easily forgotten.

Thus, in conclusion, to the people of AAP: We gave you what you asked for, so it’s time you sort yourselves out and get back to the task you volunteered for and made promises on. Otherwise, it won’t be long before the whole structure collapses, and we are back to square one: the Sangh Parivar and the Gandhis taking turns on the grand snakes-and-ladders board of Indian politics.

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  1. chakradhar bandaru

    Blaming Manmohan or accusing him will lead to no future solutions. Coal and 2G . There were 545 selected by whole Indian People. Who were behind the Prime Person MS. Whole people for 545 and the States Chief members are to be blamed for state who used 2G and have mines. Any way it seems . Whole population stands accused before accusing highly literate Manmohan ji who lead as prime person for such public. Dr Manmohan who decided to lead the ill 545 by not speaking any thing because he knew 1000’s of lies are waste to speak. And lead ill selected 545 for sake of protecting selectors as much as he can. And now all left him for their own wrong selection.

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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.

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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)’.

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

Bidisha was selected in’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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