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

‘The Government Can’t Make Decisions Governing Morality And Traditions On My Behalf’

More from Jahnvi Desai

By Jahnvi Desai:

In light of the recent Bombay High Court order, dismissing nine separate petitions to temporarily stay the ban on beef for the festivities of Bakri Eid in Maharashtra, I decided it was imperative for a young adult like me to voice my opinion on the nauseating trend of banning, that has somehow found its way into routine Indian governance.

censorship, bans in india

I completely comprehend and respect the concept of ‘Hindutva’ along with its ideologies and beliefs, however what I absolutely fail to understand is why an ideology followed and approved by one sect of people has implications and bearings on another, in what is probably the largest secular nation of the 21st century. It has been assured to us time and again by way of a plethora of judgements given by courts of different statures, that every individual holds the right to profess a religion of his/her choice. Yet this right seems to be restricted Why does a Muslim or Christian person not hold the right to eat beef? Is it simply because he/she lives in a country predominantly populated by Hindus? Since when did the foundation of democracy become so weak as to allow the majority will to crush that of the minority?

censorship-in-india

Just to highlight recent events, meat sale was prohibited for four days in Maharashtra to honour the Jain festival of Paryushan, but ten days later when a petition was made to temporarily lift the ban on beef to honour a Muslim festival, such a petition is not admissible. Whatever happened to Article 25 of the Constitution, that guarantees every individual the right to freely practice religion?

However, the question of pertinence here is not that of religion. The real question is why the Government believes it is justified in imposing such restrictions on the common regime of people. Is it because it believes the an easy solution to any hindrance is to simply ban it? Does the issue of child pornography really get resolved by banning porn all together? Will men not be sexually incited because a certain scene from a movie has been edited by the Censor board? Does the drug issue get resolved by videotaping foreigners attending parties in Karnataka?

Another possible argument could be that of Indian traditions and morality, but who is to decide what falls within the parameters of such traditions? Is it the MPs who were themselves caught watching porn amidst the parliamentary session or those charged with involvement in scams worth thousands of crores? Do our traditions really expect us to not watch a documentary depicting the ideologies of the Nirbhaya rapists, or do they prohibit us from indulging in sexual humour like that of the AIB roast?

My contention here is simple. The Government does not hold the right to make decisions governing morality and traditions on my behalf. We as a class of citizens, have developed a rather tolerant attitude over the years, and constitutionally speaking, we ourselves hold the right to make these decisions. But then again, I’m just a young adult who doesn’t follow the ever so glorious traditional Hindutva philosophy so what do I know?

You must be to comment.
  1. Suraj Godiyal

    See miss, your argument holds no legal power to give it a position in front of what is known as law. If you look back more than a decade ago, a law was already passed in majority of the states for not slaughtering cows that are healthy and this law was passed not on the basis of your so called concept of Hinduism but purely on rational and economical reasons. So, it is the Hindu majority that has always been tolerant. Try eating pork in Pakistan and Gulf nations to see the effect. Well coming back to the point, if you talk about religious right, we as majority of Hindus have the religious right to protect gau sampada as mentioned in gau purana. And you can see they wrote down a whole freaking book on not killing cows. I dont think it is a part of any kind of right in any religion of the minorities in this nation to slaughter cows right??

    Seeing the fact that you are a law student, you still got to learn to make statements that can win

    1. indian muslim

      You see, the kind of argument you present is exactly what she is trying to address. You can’t have pork in the gulf countries and Pakistan, true. That is because they’re not secular countries. Ours is, whether you like it or not. By banning anything because of “religious rights” of the majority, we are just becoming more like the countries we mentioned- intolerant undemocratic nations. And we as Indians need to be better than that.
      If you think India should be a Hindu country, just come out and say that outright.

    2. Suraj Godiyal

      Nope, I just want to be clarified how does the food habits of a certain portion of a population, be it anybody, outweigh the religious sentiments of the majority. I am not intolerant but just curious to know. Well, talking about secularism – The western and Indian secularism are entirely different. In the west it is a concept where religion and state are separated, here it is about equal religious freedom. But how is eating beef a religious right??

More from Jahnvi Desai

Similar Posts

By pratyush prashant

By Ritwik Trivedi

By shakeel ahmad

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