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‘Questions Must Be Raised Against Abuse Of Power’: Hyderabad Uni. Alumni Pen Open Letter

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By University of Hyderabad Alumni: 

As alumni of the University of Hyderabad, we observed with dismay the reinstatement of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on March 22. We strongly condemn this move and the subsequent police brutality on campus. The shutdown of the university which has followed is unacceptable and unlawful.

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A couple of days ago, a report ranked three departments of the University of Hyderabad among the top 500 university facilities in the world. The education we received at UoH helped us to not only shape our careers, but also to question, critique and analyse concepts such as equality, fraternity and social justice.Upon entering a central university of this size, we were exposed to the sheer diversity of this country. UoH, like other central universities in India, is an amalgam of many languages, cultures, religions and regions.

However, much like the rest of the country, the university campus is a space where systematically oppressive caste structures operate and are institutionally legitimised. Recent events at UoH have left us dismayed and angered at the treatment meted out to peacefully protesting students at the hands of the administration and the police.

Suicides of Dalit students have been recurring in UoH. While such incidents continue unabated across the country, the issue spiralled into a nationwide students’ protest with the untimely death of Dalit scholar and social activist Rohith Vemula on January 17th. Rohith’s suicide note gives us glimpses into the individual that he was — an astute observer of the human condition. His progressive ideas gave hope, especially to marginalised groups, for whom he fought tirelessly. The son of a Dalit mother who makes her living out of a sewing machine, he proudly bore his mother’s identity and fought for the rights of all people regardless of caste, class, gender and sexuality. He was especially vocal about the plight of Dalit students, a 200-million-strong population that has historically been denied fair opportunities to achieve social mobility in Indian society. It is unforgivable that the university administration could not save him.

A grave problem lies, therefore, in the fact that as of March 22, Dr. Appa Rao Podile, who mismanaged the suspension of Rohith and others, leading to his suicide, has been reinstated to the office of the VC after two months of leave. This is despite a non-bailable charge against him under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.

The morning of Rao’s return saw an unprecedented display of violence in the campus. The media reported that the students pelted stones and ransacked the VC’s lodge. But, information from several sources, especially eyewitness accounts from students, faculty and non-teaching staff, contests mainstream media reports. There is ample footage of the police brutally assaulting students with lathis. Some police personnel allegedly threatened to rape students. Even faculty members were not spared.

After the incident, the university has been locked down with no food (14 messes have shut operations), water, electricity (in some parts), and no internet connectivity. This cannot be the reality of a central university, here, as we write this letter, ATM cards linked to student accounts have been blocked barring students from making essential purchases. Students who attempted to cook for their peers were severely beaten up by the police for the absurd crime of ‘cooking in a public place’. The administration has imposed an emergency-like situation in one of India’s biggest universities. Today UoH resembles a surveillance state with students being attacked, and their basic needs like food, water and money being denied to them. As the University and state administration try to starve out its own students by using state machinery and the law to wage war on members of a public institution, the response of the city has been heartening, with residents of Hyderabad cooking and delivering food and water to the students.

In light of these developments, we appeal to all citizens to keep asking the unpleasant questions that Rohith’s suicide has raised; questions about the persistence of caste in our educational institutions, and the present government’s apathy and refusal to hold the university administration accountable. Universities are spaces for understanding our complex social structures where questions are and must be raised against the abuse of power and authoritarianism.

We the undersigned alumni of this university-in-turmoil write to draw attention to the atrocities that the students are experiencing for raising their voices against injustice. We stand with the students and faculty around the country in universities like UoH, JNU, FTII, DU, IIT Madras, University of Allahabad and numerous others that are fighting to uphold the freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution. We stand with Radhika Vemula and her ongoing courageous struggle for justice against a casteist and patriarchal administration. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of students and faculty members who were ambushed and taken into judicial custody on the morning of March 22. We condemn any kind of violence that tries to suppress freedom of expression and seeks instead to spread fear. Let all students and citizens debate to make India the safest example of a real grassroots democracy. Let them speak for a just world where everyone feels safe to just be.

[su_spoiler title=”Signatories” icon=”arrow”]Kalpana Kannabiran, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad Nanditha Mathew,Research Fellow, National Research Council, Italy. 2009, M.A and M.Phil Economics Aabha Sharma,KPMG India, 2014, IMA Political Science RASHAD MOIDEEN, No Affiliation, 2014 Hameeda C. K., Student, JNU, 2014 VG Balaji, Alumnus, 2010 Gopika G G, PhD Scholar, Centre for Development Studies 2014 Krishnendu Adiyat, Student, 2012 Vaishnavi Shankar Instructional Designer 2008 MA English Anu Salelkar Alumni, Student, Hyderabad Central University 2008 Juby George Editor, Higher ed publisher 2010 Silpa Satheesh Student, University of South Florida 2010 Alamuru Soumya Frelane research scholar 2011 Shauhrat S. Chopra Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago 2009 Carmel Christy Postdoctoral fellow, University of California Santa Cruz 2011 Shijo Varghese Asst. Professor, Sacred Heart College, Thevara 2013 A.P Sreeraj Assistant Professor, CUR 2010 Abhigna S Academic Editor 2012 Bestin Samuel Writer, World Vision India 2012 M.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature Maithreyi M R Senior editor, BNHS-India 1997 Ramesh Bairy Associate professor, IITB 2004 Navika Harshe HCU/ alum 2004 Anirban Dey Editor, Cambridge University Press 2010 Bindhulakshmi P Associate Professor, TISS, Mumbai 2010 Shipra Nigam Research Scholar , New Delhi 2000 Jaseena t p Student 2003 Tore Holst External lecturer, university of Roskilde 2007 MA English Diana Gomes Alumni, UoH 2014 M.F.A Painting Tharakeshwar Eflu 2014 Rakesh Nanjappa Student, State University of New York 2014 Priya Vijay PhD scholar, JNU 2014 M.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature Shamsudheen U. K HCU alumni 2013 Aparna R HCU alumni 2014 Samiah Sultana Ex-student, University of Hyderabad 2015 Mahaprajna Nayak CSSSC, Kolkata 2005 Kirti Ajith Varma Independent researcher 2011 Meghana Rao PhD Student, University of Toronto 2013 Faiza Hasan Alumni, University of Hyderbad 2014 Savitha Suresh Student, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore 2014 Merlin Abey Theressa Analyst, Private Firm 2012 Soumava Basu Student 2013 Jithin Mathew Student IIT B 2012 Soumya Balan Student 2010 Nithin M Assistant Professor, MCC 2012 Dhaneesh M P M.Phil Research Scholar 2002 Sreekumar jayadevan IIT Jodhpur 2012 Manjari Student, Central University of Gujarat 2012 Ojas Shetty Independent Researcher 2015 MA Anthropology Sheeja Rajagopal Student, IITM 2002 MA English Abhishek Bakuli Student, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung 2008 Abir Dasgupta Student, TISS 2011 R K Debbarma Assistant Professor, TISS, Guwahati campus 2014 Rahul Deshmukh Student, City University of New York 2012 Gowri Shankar Student, UOH 2012 Nikhila Henry Journalist 2010 Muhammed P Research Scholar, EFL University, Hyderabad 2007 Deepti Chief copy editor, The Times of India 2011 Sujata Mishra Policy Researcher 2010 Rohit Thapa Teach For India 2007 Himanshu Upadhyaya Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University 2014 M Naresh Kumar Student 2003 Tore Holst Recent PhD Graduate/Roskilde University 2006 Shilpaa Anand Assistant Professor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad 2006 Monty Majeed Journalist 2000 Manjari Student, Central University of Gujarat 2011 Vikas Kumar Moola M.Phil Social Sciences, CSSSC 2012 IMA Sociology SALMA ASHRAF STUDENT, University of Hyderabad 2012 Richa Gupta Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta/PhD research scholar 2012 MA English Kevin B. Haynes Student, Western Michigan University 2012 Nandini Chandrashekar Student 2014 M Naresh Kumar Student/University of Hyderbad 2006 MA English Kedar Kulkarni Student, University of Hyderabad 2006 Nikhilesh Sinha Lecturer, Hult International Business School, London 2004 MA Economics Arpan Ganguly Student, UoH/Graduate Instructor, Colorado State University 2004 Tejaswini Madabhushi IIIT 2012 Srinath raghunathan Student 2008 Karteek Kunnala Student 2014 Harshavardhan Student 2014 Knut Aukland Phd candidate, University of Bergen, Norway 2014 Asamol Mohan student 2008 Lijinesh M T student 2010 Ratheesh Radhakrishnan Associate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 2011 Devi G R PhD scholar, Dept. of Physics, IIT Madras 2012 M.Sc. Physics PRITI LAISHRAM Student, DELHI SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS 2012 Laishram Priyanka Alumni, University of Hyderabad 2014 Sharmila Associate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 2014 Yacoub Zachariah Kuruvilla Phd Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai 2001 Rekha Abel Independent Development Consultant 1995 Ph.D. Linguistics Alex M. Thomas Senior Lecturer, Azim Premji University 2011 MA and MPhil Economics K.Srilata Professor, Dept of HSS, IITM 1998 MA, MPhil and PhD English Tejaswini Niranjana Professor, TISS and Lingnan University 1998 Swati Bandi Independent Scholar 1998 – present Faculty Sujith Parayil student 2000 Paromita Bose Assistant Professor, Mahindra Ecole Centrale 2014 M.Phil, PhD English Jayanti K Chhetri Alumni, University of Hyderabad 2010 Suresh Pittala Postdoc at Indian Institute of Science 2010 Sanjeev C M Assistant Professor, NIFT 2000 MFA Painting Jasmeet Sahi Freelance writer 2008 MA English Anupama S Ex Student UoH 2008 Priyanka Das Student, UOH 2014 Sanjeev Routray Sessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia 2001 Shashikantha Koudur Associate Professor, NIT, Karnataka 2001 Amrit Amlan Pattanaik Senior Lecturer, Xavier University Bhubaneswar 2008 Unika Prusty Freelance Journalist & Independent Researcher 2010 Bidyut Sagar Boruah Independent Researcher 2009 Dharashree Das PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, Canada 2001 Gurveen Kaur Independent Researcher, Alumnus 1986 Pridhvi Sabbineni Alumnus,University of Hyderabad (Physics) 2012 Mohsin Khan Economist/consultant – Deloitte Malaysia 2009 MA Economics Sawmya Ray Associate Professor, IITG 2009 Vaskar Upadhyay UoH, MA English, 2001. Currently based IN, US 2009 Kiriti Kanjilal PhD Student, Washington State University 2013 Koshy Tharakan Professor, Goa University 1992 Kushal Deb Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 1989 Navaneetha Mokkil Maruthur Assistant Professor, JNU 2001 TV Madhu Professor, University of Calicut 1996 Lourembam Arnold Student, University of Hyderabad 2014-present Sudeshna Devi Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University 2007 Shravan Kumar Alumni, University of Hyderabad 1997-1999 MA Communication – SN School Avinandan Mukherjee Alumnus, University of Hyderabad 2007 MA English Swathysree PhD Candidate, IIM Calcutta 2013 Akhila M V Alumnus, University of Hyderabad 2011 J S Sam Social Scientist 2007 Sujith SN Artist. 2007 MFA – SN School Uday Bhaskar Sharma Senior Research Fellow, IMSc, Chennai. 2011 M.Sc. Mathematics (Integrated) Madhusudan Nag Research Scholar, Centre for Development Studies 2011-13 M.A in Economics Umasankar Patra University of Delhi, Delhi 2011 MA English Vishal Babu Editor, Viva Books Private Limited 2011 MA English Parvathy Rajendran Student,JNU 2013 Anandavardhanan Associate Professor, IIT Bombay 2002 Vipin Krishna JNU PHD Student 2010 Jaya Peter Student, HCU,HYDERABAD 1996 Rekha Abel Independent Development Consultant 1995 Divyaprabha V J Student 2012 Anita Cherian Assistant Professor in English, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi 1993 Bindu K C Ambedkar University/ Assistant Professor 2004 Anupama Ayyala Somayajala Central University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 1998 Venkatesh babu Student 1996 Pratap Student 1996 Anil kumar Student 1996 Madhumita Biswal Central University, Assistant Professor 2009 Sudarshan Papanna Central University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 2012 Abhishek Shaw Assistant Editor, Economic and Political Weekly 2011 Jomy Abraham PhD research scholar, JNU 2013 Deepak Rajula Student, UOH 2014 Parvathi Cug 2009 Kranthi Nanduri Fellow student, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta 2014 Reshma Radhakrishnan Research Scholar, Delhi University 2005 Parvathi K. Iyer Assistant Professor CUG 2009 Amit Upadhyay Assistant Professor, TISS Hyderabad 2001 MA Sociology Rituparna Sur university of hyderabad 2012 D Parthasarathy IIT Bombay Professor 1995 Ratheesh Kumar JNU/ Assistant Professor 2000 Rajyashree Sen PhD student, Janelia Research Campus, VA 2012 Dr. Robin Luke Varghese Independent Researcher 2015 MA, MPhil, PhD Philisophy Niveditha Kalarikkal Assistant Professor, , Central University of Gujarat 2013 Shamsiya Qosimova Independent Contractor, BBC Monitoring in Dushanbe 2001 Sunitha M Lead Technical Writer, Wipro Technologies, Hyderabad 2006 Saiyora Saimurodova Student, Master of Arts in Sociology, HCU 2001 K.L.Leon Ex-Student,SN School,Painting 2003 Dr.D.Anand Asst. Regional Director , Indira gandhi National Open University 2008 Asmita Chaudhuri Project Fellow, Jadavpur University 2007 MA, Applied Linguistics Samik Malla Research Scholar, IIT Madras 2013 Smrti K.P IxD Architect, Nokia 2007 MPhil English, PhD Translation Studies Dr. Itishree Pattnaik Assistant Professor, GIDR 2009 Phd Economics Naresh S Ex-Student,SSB 2006 Shivali Tukdeo NIAS, Bangalore Milan George Jacob Hindustan Times, New Delhi 2014 IMA Economics S. Anand Publisher, Navyana 1997 MA and Mphil, Department of English Elizabeth Priyanka Ex-student, MA Communication 2013 SN School. Sumanta Thangjam Phd, Philosophy 2013 Thushara Mohanan Ex Student , MA Communication 2009 SN School Pritipushpa Mishra Lecturer, University of Southampton Jasmine Yimchunger Assistant Proffessor, Sikkim University 2007 MA Communications – SN School Balendu Rashmi Bhumika Women’s Collective 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology Nikhila Henry Journalist 2007 MA in Communication Sudha Samyukta PRIA 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology Geetha Krishna PRIA 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology Vinitha Mokshagundam Lecturer, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore 2012 MA, M.Phil, History Ado Kehie Student, IIT Guhati 2005 MA Sociology Ganga Bhavani HCU 2004 Jaishree Ram Mohan Editor, 1994 Thungchobeni Assistant Professor,Alder College,Kohima. 2007 Jyotsna Yedem HCU Alumni 2008 Akshara Ravishankar Assistant Professor, Gargi College 2012 Themeem T Asst. professor, St. Stephens College, Delhi 2015 Vinitha Lecturer, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore 2012 Suresh K Golle student 2009 Vizokhonuo student 2015 Pattela Omkar Nadh Student 2014 Malavika Rao Performance maker 2008 Monica Ex Student from UOH 2014 Sumedha Student,HCU 2011 Minu. A Alumni 2011 Kiran Sikha Student 2012 Naveen Kumar P Student 2011 Deepthi Krisha T Student 2016 Santosh Gurrani Alumni, Hyderabad Central University 2011 Chandra Kiran Katta Communication Specialist/NGO 2006 Queenie Fancon student 2009 Shravan Kumar University of Hyderabad – Alumni 1999 Dhilip Independent Researcher 2012 Aswani RS HCU Student 2011 Monica Nanjunda University Of Hyderabad – Alumni 2013 SN School Of Fine Arts Kedar Kulkarni Research Assistant, FEEM, Italy 2014 IMA Economics Rakesh R. Assistant Proffessor, St. John’s College 2012 MA and MPhil, Department of English Imlienla Jamir Student, Analog IAS 2014 IMA Political Science Ekta Singla Student, UCL-Institute of Education, London 2011 MA Applied Linguistics S Sayujya Alumnus, UoH 2014 MPhil English Anwesha Chakraborty Phd Student, University of Bologna 2007 MA English Ratan Laishram Alumni HCU 2012 MA Economics Sunil Kumar Polamuri IT Professional 1999 MA Applied Linguistics Sukriti Kapur Student, Erasmus Mundus Masters Program 2014 MA Economics Tharakeshwar V.B. Teacher, EFL University 1997 Ph.D. English Madhurima Majumder Research fellow, Anveshi 2013 M B Sudha Rani Media Professional 1999 MA Mass Communications Rakesh Sengupta Post-doctoral researcher, York University, Toronto 2015 Ph.D., Cognitive Science G Naga Sena Rana Media Professional 1999 MA Mass Communications Sopei Joel Rungsung Media Professional 2013 MA Mass Communications Sashikant alumnus 2000 Aravind Parakkot Alumnus 2001 MA English Anu K antony Research fellow, IIT, Bombay MA, Mphil Sociology Anna Mini Freelance writer 2014 MA Political Science Anas Nazar Rajeswari S Alumnus 2004 Yanger Kichu 2007 MA History Asima Jena Assistant professor,Central University of Gujarat 2009 Anuradha Banerji Research Scholar, Ambedkar University 2011 Sreejith T Student 2012 Mrudula Bhavani Ex-student 2015 Anju Christine Lingham Student, King’s College London, University of London 2013 Arathi R Student 2014 Pallavi Student 2017 Lakshmi Priya Student 2013 Pranith Maddirala SN School, University of Hyderabad 2011 Esfandiar Adina (Rahim Rahimov) Student 2002 sukhvinder multani educationist and researcher 2004 Varunika Saraf Artist 2006 Monu Rajan Alumnus, UoH 2011 Shriya sharma Student 2015 Abhilash Augustine Student, JNU 2013 madhav vinodh Student, UoH 2013 Kathi Mahesh Kumar Student 2000 Nagesh Muppavaram Student 2013 Hariprasad R Student, central university of hyderabad 2011 Godwin Student 2013 TINCHU P JAMES STUDENT 2011 Sujatha Girija Alumnae of HCU 2004 Harini Kumar PhD student, University of Chicago 2011 Elsa Oommen Warwick 2011 Mariyam Mumthas student 2015 Anagha Alumni 2015 Anoop Daniel Student 2015 JNANESH R J HCU 2011 Gautami Alumnus/University of Hyderabad 2012 Nargis Vasundhara Student, Ph.D, Delhi University 2011 JOSEPH MICHAEL JOSE alumni 2011 [/su_spoiler]

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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, 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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