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The Other India Vs Pakistan T20 Match That Went Completely Unnoticed By Most Indians

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By Annesha Ghosh:

women_s_india_pakistan_matchIf the hellish pitch at the Eden Gardens made life difficult for both the Pakistan and India batsmen here in Kolkata on the 19th of March, the Feroz Shah Kotla wicket unleashed its own demons during the ‬match between their female counterparts earlier. But not so much, perhaps, as could be made out by the uncharacteristically clueless strokeplay on the part of the India Women batting line-up, compounded by some tight bowling and sensible field-placements from the Pakistan Women’s team. Case in point: India were 7 for the loss of 2 wickets in the powerplay while Pakistan scored 39 for 1. Put to bat by Pakistan’s captain Sana Mir, juicy full-tosses were only jabbed at for a run, and easy singles were never converted into definite twos during India’s innings which ended at 66-7 at the end of 20 overs.

However, with their proven track record of having successfully defended similar low totals against Pakistan on previous occasions, the Indian eves came back strong in the latter half of the game, and quite dramatically so, with skipper Mithali Raj taking a superb catch at cover and wicket-keeper Sushma Verma effecting two stunning run-outs within a matter of just 10 balls. At 77 for 6, with their inexperienced lower-order exposed, the pressure was clearly telling on the visitors. Pakistan still needed 20 runs off 24 balls when it suddenly started pouring heavily and refused to cease until the cut-off time to resume play was well past.

Had the game reached its natural conclusion, the result would have been imminently different, for at the fag end of Pakistan’s innings, the momentum was clearly with the Girls in Blue. But, to the dismay of Raj and her girls, the rain-gods robbed the Indian eves of the chance of getting those two crucial points ahead of facing group toughies England and West Indies this week.

In light of the aforementioned things, the events that preceded my first live stadium experience of an India versus Pakistan ICC World tournament face-off at the iconic Eden Gardens on Saturday seem to bear some import.

Earlier at 11 a.m. on Saturday, when my friend and I had gone to the Mohammedan Sporting Ground, right opposite Eden Gardens, to collect the two tickets I had won through the online lucky draw, we were greeted by a platoon of journalists from leading national and international media houses. They went about interviewing many an individual from among the 500-strong crowd of people that had queued up to collect their tickets to the historic encounter.

At one point during our wait at the counter, an English journalist from the BBC, followed by his team of Indian camerapersons walked up to us and asked if we were willing to answer a few questions regarding the much-anticipated ‘clash of the arch-rivals’. While we did go ahead with the interview and spoke for about four minutes each, both my friend and I were disappointed at the fact that all the questions were invariably centred on the game between the India versus Pakistan Men’s teams. It almost appeared as though there wasn’t any acknowledgement, let alone, the importance that the ‘Other(ed)’ ‘clash of the arch-rivals’ at the Kotla deserved to have been accorded to.

What panned out between the two teams led by M.S. Dhoni and Shahid Afridi, needs no recounting. Following the celebrations that accompanied the night’s heroics by Virat Kohli and company at the Eden Gardens, I woke up next morning reminiscing the memorable scenes that I was fortunate enough to have been able to witness live at the iconic stadium in Kolkata amidst 65,000 odd spectators. The feeling, admittedly, is one of joyous disbelief and is likely to linger on until…I don’t quite know when.

However, somewhere within, I could not help but mull over India Women’s ‘undeserved’ loss, courtesy the shenanigans of the ever-unreliable D/L method. A little mercy from the heavens above could have helped them fashion what most, if not all, ‘Indian cricket supporters’ were praying for, as occasions like these are rare and possibly the only realistic shots for some at making the world take notice of their existence.

A fan’s journey from anxiously sitting before a nondescript television set at home till as late as 6:45 p.m. and watching 11 cricketers donning the blue jersey and fight it out before an 8000-strong crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla, to rushing to the Mecca of Cricket minutes later, where the gods themselves had descended amidst great pomp and passion, was so close to being the kind of perfect she was praying for it to be. So close.

And yet, she’d be cheering her team on when they come out to play against England Women’s team on Tuesday, March 22, at the HPCA Stadium. “Go for glory, India Women! Win it for yourselves, your fans and the generations of women cricketers to follow. Praying for your triumph this World T20 over the best teams in the fray and over all the discrimination you’ve ever had to contend with.”

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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 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.

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