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

Birds Now Have The Fundamental Right To Not Be Caged, But Will Our Conscience Change?

More from Sushant Sudhakaran

By Sushant Sudhakaran

In India, the Delhi High court on May 18th 2015 proclaimed that birds have the fundamental right to live with dignity, and that keeping them in cages is wrong. With this statement, that reconnects one’s belongingness with nature, the judgement has relieved animal lovers throughout the world and has opened the doors for the implementation of similar laws worldwide.

Photo Credit: Muhammad Ahmed/ Flickr
Photo Credit: Muhammad Ahmed/Flickr

One of the biggest causes of strife between man and rest of the universe is the notion that he can own anything. We tend to have this idea that everything out there is created for us to enjoy and exploit, and this pitiable understanding is deepening the gap between man and nature. We really need to cultivate a spiritual understanding of all that is around us.

We need to look closely at this concept of ownership and realize that we are not born to own but to merge and mingle and be a tiny (yet important) part of a smoothly functioning methodology. We need to shed the false pretence attached to our so called intellect and really use the intellect to look at the world with a vision of equality.

The problem is that we have learned and also conditioned the generations that appeared after us, to believe in the supremacy of human existence. We have somehow drawn this conclusion that we exist to act as the centre of the Universe. We think of ourselves as the only being with an intellect that can process information into knowledge and in turn churn out wisdom leading to the ultimate truth.

But can’t we be utterly wrong? The notion of undermining everything and blindly believing in our own superiority doesn’t sound so wise. We can never experience or understand what the consciousness of everything else out there feels like. We can never understand the feelings generated in the hearts of birds, or the emotions dogs create, or the intellectual mechanism beneath the management and planning of ants. Maybe they all are at a stage higher than human consciousness. We cannot deny the possibility that they might be experiencing consciousness in a whole new dimension.

The freeing of birds and understanding that we are not the owners and controllers is a small yet significant step towards building a better connection with the Universe. For people with noses buried deep into political, sociological and economic issues, they might find this step insignificantly small to bring in any change. But I request you to look closer and realize that something which is rewriting the conditioning of the consciousness and is bringing back our understanding to its original, label-free, absolute idea, cannot be a small step.

You must be to comment.
  1. Pacific

    While I concur with the judgement of the court, I think the author has used this opportunity to preach his moral viewpoints without being cognizant of how human nature has come to be. True, we do not have the right to own another living being, but to claim that humans do that deliberately or out of hubris is being ignorant and tad misanthropic. The observance of rights of another living being is the outcome of progress in human living standards and consequently our thinking.

    As an argument I would like to know what you think of consumption of meat? Should this judgement also require us to stop eating chicken? Would you want others to stop consuming meat? Doesn’t consuming meat involves claiming ownership of another animal? I would like to think that those people who eat meat, including me, do not do so out of some misguided sense of superiority. We do it to survive. May be one day people will start synthesizing meat in labs or voluntarily give up eating meat and no animals would need to be killed. But such a day will only come when people have other means of sustenance and are educated enough. We can only be charitable when we can afford to be so.

    From the text at the end of the article below the author’s name, I can understand why he feels this way. It’s a great ideology, but woefully unrealistic. You “take along souls willing to walk the same road”… you are banking on blind faith rather than reason. Such a road, however good the intention will lead to nowhere at best. It would be more fruitful to work towards the betterment of people’s lives than preach them morality. “Prosperity is the best protector of principle”.

    I hope I wasn’t rambling!

  2. Durga

    Very well written. It’s high time we shifted the emphasis on our selves and opened ourselves to the world around.

More from Sushant Sudhakaran

Similar Posts

By Anshul Abraham

By Aditya Lakshmi

By Uday Che

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, 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below