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

How ‘Udta Punjab’ Shows That It’s Not As Easy As Blaming The ‘Hooked’ Youth

More from Shraddha Nyati

By Shraddha Nyati:

So it is the morning after ‘Udta Punjab’ and needless to say the rang-de-basanti mind is speeding furiously. I am hoping the movie is an exaggeration of the state of affairs in Punjab. Because if it isn’t then it’s a very sensitive issue to be handled (and not discussed or made a political issue) as soon as possible.

Having stayed in Delhi for a long time, Punjab for me has been a state with lassi and sarson da saag. I have known about the drug addiction problem for long and I never believed that it is confined to only one state. I always knew that it is something that spans the entire world. But never did I think that the problem infiltrates almost every strata of our societies and mind you, it has nothing to do with just one state. The problem may be grave in Punjab but it is there everywhere.

The youth which is the fuel of this developing country is actually lying half-dead with injections in some gutters and corners. The jugaad that always has been a catalyst in the Indian scenario has been working in the best possible ways driving drugs into the hands of the vulnerable youth. The big size of families probably makes it all the more difficult to pay attention to any strange activities by kids. And the stress faced by the youth at every level makes them weaker and drives them towards this heaven of ecstasy.

Aisa bhi kya stress, you ask. Well, to start with, the very question is stressful making the youth believe that their tensions are baseless and they are useless shit. Right from the start, a child is faced with constant struggles; some of which the elders never realise.

Padhai nahi karoge toh kamaoge kaise? Duniya kaise ijjat degi? (How will you earn if you don’t study? Who will respect you?)
You have to score good marks in 10th, because it will decide your career.
Score well in 12th, that will decide your life.
College me padhai nahi karoge toh naukri kaise milegi? (If you don’t study in college, how will you get a job?)

Even after you have settled down in your job, there is the consistent stress of achieving targets and appraisals. Even at a personal level, we seem to have grown dissatisfied with our achievements and always aim for our passions, our calling. This wait of a call from our calling has driven the youth into restlessness. They are not content even on their comfy beds because there is always that nagging sound from within the heart to do something better. And this growing discontent has made them turn towards these secondary addictions which may not make them overcome their problems but at least make them forget them for a while.

But the important question is whether we can put the entire blame on the youth? I believe that the demand for a particular thing sustains itself only if there is a supply. Here comes the role of security personnel especially the police officers. While watching the movie, the attitude of police officers at the toll booth gave me goosebumps, especially when they were trading for nights to be spent “on” the petite girl from Bihar (Alia Bhatt). If this is the state of the people who are supposed to be the guardians of our society, then I feel really scared being a girl. I may start questioning my existence.

The movie may be a work of fiction, but it is high time that we address these issues irrespective of the state.

The movie also depicts the role of higher officials in this dhanda. If this is how it actually is then it is something to worry about. And, moreover, we cannot totally ignore the fact that every now and then scams and ghotale are laid bare in front of the people. We keep questioning the tours and travels of Modi, our very own Prime Minister who won by a majority. But in a democracy where we have the right to choose our own head, isn’t it our responsibility to be honest in our own dealings? When we are ourselves corrupt and take to unethical ways to achieve selfish motives, how can we point fingers at someone who we have elected ourselves? And these officials fail to realise that they are leaders of a growing India, the youngest country, and are spoiling its growth for their selfish motives.

Next to be taken into account is the ease of access to drugs. India is located at the most fertile place for drugs, being sandwiched between the ‘golden crescent’ and the ‘golden triangle’, the areas with the highest opium production. It probably becomes easy for drug dealers to traffic drugs through porous borders. Almost all the modes of transport have been actively used for transportation of drugs concealed in various ways. These are then made available to the local people through jugaad as we all know. And those who don’t, visit Goa, you will know! Such easy access makes the drug abusers more active and they sustain their habit.

Let us face a hard fact, the victims aren’t just these drug abusers. The real victims are the families who lose their children to these drugs. A few bundles of currency is enough to buy a kid’s life. This is not the society our forefathers might have dreamt about.

How can we blame only the youth for something that they get hooked on to due to larger forces operating in society? And it is a matter of concern that people here, including me, find it difficult to see the truth. It’s not who we are, it’s what we end up as! Let’s make our lives beautiful and work towards making someone else’s life beautiful as well. If not the whole world, at least one person’s life.

Featured image is a still from ‘Udta Punjab’.

You must be to comment.

More from Shraddha Nyati

Similar Posts

By Myra Rolston

By Adivasi Lives Matter

By Samaira Guleria

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, 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below