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

Dear RK Laxman Ji, I Am Happy You Aren’t Alive To Celebrate Your Birthday Today

More from Ankita Mukhopadhyay

By Ankita Mukhopadhyay:

Dear RK ji,

Today is your 94th birthday. And I am happy that you aren’t here to celebrate it. I am happy you didn’t live long enough to see the start of the new administration, priding itself on its agenda of ‘economic prosperity for the nation’. Nowadays, when I open the newspaper each day, I wonder how your Common Man may have reacted to dalits being lynched and people being killed for having beef. Less than 8 months since you passed away, the India the Common Man wanted to create and envision has also died, in such a short span of time.

common man image
Image Source: Google+

I have realised that we have gone back to having secular discussions which were debates post-independence. We have gone back to discussing whether India should be a ‘Hindu’ swaraj or not. I have realised that dark days have arrived, and had you been alive maybe you too would have been sucked into this vortex of censorship. And this isn’t the Emergency where you can meet Ms. Gandhi on offending her. Here you will simply be uprooted and removed, without any warning or prior notice.

As a child I grew up reading your ‘Common Man’. I eagerly waited to grab the next Times of India just to read what you had to say about elections, censorship, films and politicians. If you belonged to this generation, I don’t think any newspaper would have been allowed to publish your Common Man today. In fact, if you were alive, maybe the Common Man would have been the first thing to be taken off newspapers.

This India, Sir, isn’t anything our creators envisioned it to be. Today, the Common Man has to return his award to protest against killing of rationalists. Today, the Common Man has to hide his sexuality in the closet because the law forbids them to be free. Today the Common Man has to eat what the Government wants him to. Today, the Common Man has to protest for hours outside the UGC office just for a meagre scholarship.

Quietly watching the world, your common man never spoke because he represented the silent majority of India, who have no voice. Now, your cartoons seem more relevant to me than ever before.

Today, one can’t speak, think or breathe. Thinking is a crime, questioning is a sin. Development is the agenda, but democracy isn’t. How would your Common Man survive this, Sir? The country is now in a State of Emergency, that too, without a Gandhi in power.

Do you know Sir, that our PM has a dedicated PR team to showcase all his ‘achievements’ to the public? Do you know that we now have a cleanliness programme to clean the country and dissenting elements in society are being ‘purged’ off? Do you know that we let diplomats who have raped women escape to their country because we want to maintain good relations with our trade neighbours? Do you know that student protests are quelled by the police now? Do you know that this is the INDIA of 2015?

Your cartoons are a painful reminder to me of how we haven’t changed since Independence, in fact, now we have changed for the worse. If you were alive… I don’t want to imagine that possibility anymore. I really don’t. I am happy you aren’t alive to see all of this, RK ji. I hope you rest in peace.

From,

A loyal reader of the Common Man by RK Laxman.

You must be to comment.
  1. Sudeep

    Part time historian says India is in a state of emergency. Does she have any idea what happened during those dreadful 21 months?
    // Gandhi invoked Article 352 of the Indian Constitution which gave her extraordinary powers. She used that power to influence police forces to detain protestors and strike leaders //

    Is Modi illegally detaining protestors n locking up leaders? Well unless u want to use ur brain and defend Hardik Patel.

  2. Sudeep

    Highly opinionated writer n part time historian ( pun intended) says less than 8 months have passed and the common man has already died. As if all hell broke loose in these 8 months. Wow!

    She says students aren’t being allowed to protest. So u mean the midnight hooliganism by FTII guys is all right?

    She says now protester wouldn’t be allowed to meet the PM . What about Hindi poet Mumawwar Rana who is about to meet the PM next week?

    The truth is you guys have are too naive but its not your fault
    Anyways can the writer write an open letter to the PM on ‘How to create more jobs in this country?’ Which according to me is a very pressing situation in these times

  3. Seenu Subbu

    So.. Just one year ago. India was a paradise of economic progress, freedom of thoughts, women would walk around in the middle of the night without a worry. Milk and honey flowed on the streets. Dalits collected this milk and honey and never had a problem of hunger or that of opportunity.
    And then came this man. Narendra Modi. How bad! India is now a fascist Dictator ruled place, ooh, too bad. Migrate to Canada, or Australia, %*&$es!!

  4. Avinesh Saini

    “And this isn’t the Emergency where you can meet Ms. Gandhi on offending her.”

    I had no idea emergency was that rosy.

  5. Avinesh Saini

    “Today, the Common Man has to hide his sexuality in the closet because the law forbids them to be free. ”

    Homosexuality has always been taboo. Nothing to do with Modi.

More from Ankita Mukhopadhyay

Similar Posts

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Survivors Against TB

By હર્બનશ સિંહ ਹਰਬੰਸ ਸਿੰਘ हरबंश सिंह

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