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

We Saw Two Agitations Last Month, The Govt’s Response To Both Reveals A Scary Truth

More from Pillai Vishnu

By Pillai Vishnu:

jat_jnuIn the span of less than a month, our country has experienced two agitations. In one of them, some students (maybe not) were chanting objectionable slogans. No violence, no destruction of public property (or private). Just screaming. Plain screaming.

The other one was the agitation for Jat reservations in government jobs. One may look at it as an extension of casteism and it gave a chance to politicians to further indulge in vote bank politics. In this agitation, they didn’t just scream, but destroyed public property, stopped public transport (road and rail), and even disrupted the water supply. They continue to attempt to do so. So uncontrollable was the situation that the army had to be brought in.

Now, I want you to see the contrasting reactions by our government to these two agitations. In the Jawaharlal Nehru University crisis, the students were branded traitors, terrorists, and anti-nationals. Their students’ union president was arrested on charges of sedition, for which it seems there is little supporting evidence. The Home Minister himself says they have ties to terrorists (presumably, his source is a tweet from a fake twitter account of Hafeez Saeed. I hope not). Kahnaiya Kumar was manhandled in the court premises, journalists were beaten by ‘nationalist’ lawyers. The family of the some of the students who have been charged are being threatened with rape and murder. A situation where some students had to go underground has been created. For this, we may also thank some sections of media who played judge, jury and executioner so they can boast of high TRPs!

On the other hand, there are the people that rose up in revolt. Their actions might take India down the path of a more strongly entrenched casteism. These people have disrupted the normal life of the rest of the people. They’ve cut water supply for a section of Delhi and brought the country to the verge of civil war. Some were killed, many were injured, and women were raped.

As far as I know, no one has been charged with sedition for this agitation. None of the agitators were held and none of the ‘nationalist’ lawyers care about this. What is most disappointing is that the government has gone on their knees and assured the Jats that they will get their reservation. These protestors have been assured their problem will be discussed in the legislature and they would be given their quota.

In one case, the government is on the offensive. It is aggressively defending its actions in the JNU row. But what they actually did is that they used a sledgehammer to kill a small fly on the wall.

The reservation protestors, on the other hand, made a Syria out of Haryana. One only had to see the visuals on TV of burning vehicles, mass scale destruction of public and private property to believe that.

The fact that the government’s actions differ so much on these two issues makes me wonder if it is violence and muscle power that the government values? Do you need to be a bully to make the government succumb to your demands? Did the government come down so hard on the JNU students only because they are ‘just students’? By behaving this way, is the government condoning violence?

I’ve tried to put facts about these two situations side by side to show you the contrast between the two agitations and how our government and society responded to both.

You decide which was peaceful and which was not. You decide which was more mature and which was less. You decide if the government values the youth in this country based on their reaction to these incidents. You decide if the ‘nationalistic’ lawyers are selective (because helpless students are so much easier as targets). You decide who should be called traitors, anti-nationals and terrorists.

You must be to comment.
  1. AS Hegde

    The fact is that the agitation in Haryana didn’t attract importance because there were no people from minority community involved.

    There were none for the so called intellectuals and paid media to show support and stand with.

    The gang rape was also an opportunistic and planned one by the brother in law of the victim and disconnected to the agitation by far.

    Things are not as simple as they are seen by the naked eyes.

    While I appreciate the articulation to the fullest, and hope to see more, I wish you concentrate on non political issues, for now.

  2. Vishnu Pillai

    Firstly, thank you for your comment sir.

    My intention of writing this was to show how the government of the day responded to both incidents. The JAT agitation had caused much more trouble to the lives of normal citizens. Even though this was the case, the state and central governments was more than ready to placate to their demands. On the other hand they went with all their might on the JNU issue even though it didn’t disrupt the lives of normal citizens and there was no violence. This observation made me think, is it violence and muscle power that the government values?

    My intention of writing this was not about the lack of media/political/social furore the JAT agitation had compared to the JNU issue as you have put it due to the prejudices of the various groups you mention.

    Yes I do understand things are not as they are seen, especially in politics, but this is how I see them, and youth ki awaaz gave me a platform to express my opinion.

  3. AS Hegde

    What I appreciate the most in a writer is, his belief in what he writes.

    Come what may, one should stand on his words.

    I Wish you all the best.

More from Pillai Vishnu

Similar Posts

By Vanshika Bhatt

By Mushin No Shin

By Rafia khan

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