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बनस्थली विद्यापीठ यानी लड़कियों का जेलखाना

More from Nikhil Anand Giri

निखिल आनंद गिरि:

छठ के मौके पर बिहार के समस्तीपुर से दिल्ली लौटते वक्त इस बार जयपुर वाली ट्रेन में रिज़र्वेशन मिली जो दिल्ली होकर गुज़रती है। मालूम पड़ा कि दिल्ली से कहीं ज़्यादा बिहार का ठेकुआ जयपुर को जाता है। उससे भी आगे। राजस्थान के टोंक ज़िले की बनस्थली विद्यापीठ (यूनिवर्सिटी) में कम से कम हज़ारों बिहार की लड़कियां हैं जो छठ में किसी तरह घर को आती हैं और फिर वापस फटाफट भागती हैं। वो दिल्ली के लड़कों की तरह छठ के बाद जैसे-तैसे वापस नहीं भाग सकतीं। उन्हें अपने पिताओं के साथ जयपुर आना पड़ता है। वेटिंग की टिकट के सहारे। टीटी के साथ पिता सीट की सेटिंग करते हैं और टीटी के चेहरे में बेटियों को वनस्थली की वॉर्डन मैम का भावशून्य चेहरा दिखने लगता है। इस छठ के बाद उन्हें घर (बिहार) लौटने का अगला मौका अप्रैल-मई में मिलेगा।

रास्ते भर उनसे हुई बातचीत में जितना बनस्थली विद्यापीठ को जान पाया, उससे ज़्यादा पहले से इतना ही जानता हूं कि मेरी एक-दो अच्छी दोस्त वहीं से पढ़ी हैं। इस लेख को लिखने के लिए बनस्थली की वेबसाइट को गूगल किया तो वहां पंडित नेहरू के ‘मन की बात’ लिखी मिली कि ‘अगर मैं लड़की होता, तो अपनी पढ़ाई के लिए बनस्थली को ही चुनता’। काश! पंडित नेहरू मेरे साथ जलपाईगुड़ी-उदयपुर एक्सप्रेस की स्लीपर बोगी में होते जहां लड़कियां अपनी बातों में यही दुख जताती रहीं कि वो लड़कियां हैं और वो भी बिहार की। वो बिहार जहां कॉलेज की पढ़ाई के सबसे बुरे विकल्प मौजूद हैं। जहां लड़कियों की पढ़ाई से ज़्यादा उनके पिता इस बात के लिए ज़्यादा चिंतित रहते हैं कि शादी की उम्र तक ‘किसी तरह’ लड़की ‘बिगड़ने’ से बच जाए। और ऐसे में सिर्फ लड़कियों के लिए बनी बनस्थली यूनिवर्सिटी उन्हें कमाल की जगह लगती है। जहां उनकी सुरक्षा में 850 एकड़ दूर तक का वीरान कैंपस है और हर फ्लोर पर एक वॉर्डन जो उन्हें आठ बजे के बाद बिना परमिशन के बाथरूम तक नहीं जाने देतीं। जहां लड़के दूर-दूर तक ‘पर’ नहीं मार सकते।

ट्रेन में सवार लड़कियां बनस्थली से बीटेक और बीबीए जैसे बड़े ‘कोर्स’ कर रही थीं। पता चला कि आईटी (इन्फॉर्मेशन टेक्नोलॉजी) जैसे कोर्स के लिए भी उन्हें लैपटॉप या मोबाइल या इंटरनेट चलाने की आज़ादी नहीं है। टीचर (जिन्हें वहां शायद ‘जीजी’ बुलाते हैं) उन्हें रोज़ पीपीटी बनाने को कहती हैं मगर कैंपस में हज़ार लड़की पर एक कंप्यूटर है! इंटरनेट के बिना उनकी ज़िंदगी ऐसी है कि अगर घर से कोई चिट्ठी आती है तो पहले वॉर्डन मैडम उसे खोलकर पूरा पढ़ती है और फिर लड़की को देती हैं। कैंपस सिर्फ लड़कियों का है मगर उन्हें सिर्फ खादी के कपड़े पहनने की ही इजाज़त है। कमरे में आयरन तक नहीं रख सकते। हॉस्टल से क्लासरूम की दूरी कम से कम पैदल बीस मिनट की है जिसके लिए सिर्फ एक बस चलती है। अगर बस समय से नहीं पकड़ पाए तो पैदल जाने के अलावा कोई रास्ता नहीं। अगर तबीयत बिगड़ी तो चालीस रुपये देकर एंबुलेंस सेवा ली जा सकती है। ऐसे में सहेली का साथ होना ज़रूरी है।

मगर बनस्थली की उन लड़कियों ने न तो अपनी सीनियर्स का मुंह देखा है और न ही उन्हें दूसरे डिपार्टमेंट की टीचर्स से मिलने या बात करने की इजाज़त है। पिता के अलावा कोई भी मिलने नहीं आ सकता। अगर पिता भी छुट्टी में बेटी को घर ले जाना चाहते हैं तो ये ससुराल से बिटिया को मायके लायने से ज़्यादा मुश्किल है। बिहार के गांव से आपको एक चिट्ठी बनस्थली डाक से या फैक्स से भेजनी पड़ेगी। उस चिट्ठी में आने-जाने की तारीख और पिता के सिग्नेचर ज़रूर होने चाहिए। फिर पिता लेने आएंगे। सिग्नेचर मिलाए जाएंगे। मिले तो ठीक वरना बड़ी मुश्किल। आने-जाने की तारीख से लौटे तो ठीक वरना बड़ी मुश्किल। हर ‘अपराध’ के लिए बहुत जुर्माना है। पिता खुश होते हैं कि लड़कियां इतने अनुशासन में हैं मगर लड़कियां ऐसे में क्या सोचती हैं, कोई नहीं पूछता।

मेरे पास इसका कोई आंकड़ा नहीं कि बनस्थली में अब तक कितनी लड़कियां सुसाइड कर चुकी हैं। यूनिवर्सिटी से ऐसे आंकड़े जल्दी बाहर भी नहीं आते। मगर जिन पिताओं या रिश्तेदारों को ये लेख पढ़कर बनस्थली की अपनी बेटियों की चिंता हो रही हो, उन्हें राहत की एक बात बता दूं। यूनिवर्सिटी की तरफ से सुसाइड रोकने के लिए हॉस्टल के कमरों में छोटे वाले टेबल फैन लग गए हैं। तीन लड़कियों के कमरों में अगर इससे गर्मी बढ़ती है तो बिहार से पापा हज़ार रुपये की टिकट लेकर बनस्थली आ सकते हैं और पांच सौ का अलग टेबल फैन खरीदकर अपनी बिटिया को दे सकते हैं।

मैं ‘बेटी बचाओ, बेटी पढ़ाओ’ के इस शानदार नमूने विश्वविद्यालय के लिए फिलहाल आलोक धन्वा की कुछ पंक्तियां पढ़ना चाहता हूं और चाहता हूं कि ये चिट्ठी भी वहां की वार्डन मैम पहले पढ़ें –

‘’ तुम्हारे उस टैंक जैसे बंद और मजबूत

घर से बाहर

लड़कियां काफी बदल चुकी हैं

मैं तुम्हें यह इजाज़त नहीं दूंगा

कि तुम उसकी सम्भावना की भी तस्करी करो

वह कहीं भी हो सकती है

गिर सकती है

बिखर सकती है

लेकिन वह खुद शामिल होगी सब में

गलतियां भी खुद ही करेगी

सब कुछ देखेगी शुरू से अंत तक

अपना अंत भी देखती हुई जाएगी

किसी दूसरे की मृत्यु नहीं मरेगी

कितनी-कितनी लड़कियां

भागती हैं मन ही मन

अपने रतजगे अपनी डायरी में

सचमुच की भागी लड़कियों से

उनकी आबादी बहुत बड़ी है’’

(ये लेख कुछ बनस्थली में पढ़ने वाली कुछ लड़कियों से बातचीत पर आधारित है जिनकी आंखों में सच्चाई दिखती है)

(फोटो साभार- बनस्थली विद्यापीठ फेसबुक पेज)

Youth Ki Awaaz के बेहतरीन लेख हर हफ्ते ईमेल के ज़रिए पाने के लिए रजिस्टर करें

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  1. Abhiruchi Chaurasia

    U might have been misguided sir… i have completed my graduation from banasthali….have never faced such problems there… u should visit banasthali once… its a very nice place… a place where we have leartnt so many things aapart from studies… its one f th best place to study in india… nt even a single thing is right u hv written….kahi suni baato pe vishwas karny se pehly ek baar khud jaaky aapko dekhna chahiye tha….

    1. Shivangi Gargsaya

      This article is complete absurd.
      Getting train ticket can not be considered a problem of University. Other than this, other things which you have written are false ! I have taken education from Banasthali and trust me, none of the information given above is correct. Many girls are from Bihar so similar amount of girls are from Delhi (Capital of India) and UP or Rajasthan or any other state like Asam and all belongs to good families. all have very nice communication with their seniors and teachers who are always ready to listen you and guide you. Infact much better as I have ever heard from other people doesn’t belong to BU. Who told Warden doesn’t allow to go washroom lol, and you trusted this ? without having an idea to verify it once ? nobody calls teachers as “JIJI” out here, and not only computer course students, infect others too are allowed to access internet here- we are given computer systems in each and every room, for laptops too you need to get the permission but allowed. Other things are too are unbelievable for any student of BU.
      Sir, you should not blame like this to any institution this way nothing will happen to it but for sure many will start doubting you- One should believe and support the things which are actually true. Freedom like words one must use when you literally understand its meaning. In short, I will advise you to visit officially BU once- Girls are happy and learning as like other universities or even more (I feel) !

  2. Richa Gaur

    U are misguided sir… a very wrong picture of Banasthali University has ben presented Before you.. I have completed my B.Tech from Bansthali in 2013 and trust me never such incidents happened. yes we were not allowed to move out of the premises gate, but we never felt the need of going out.. Visit that place and u will fall in love with it.. we contacted our senior whenever it is required. the girls you met were frustated ones so just don’t protray the image according to them…

  3. Shivangi Gargsaya

    This article is complete absurd.
    Getting train ticket can not be considered a problem of University. Other than this, other things which you have written are false ! I have taken education from Banasthali and trust me, none of the information given above is correct. Many girls are from Bihar so similar amount of girls are from Delhi (Capital of India) and UP or Rajasthan or any other state like Asam and all belongs to good families where their parents are not at all eager to see them married instead asking for placement and preparation for higher degree and ready to support them at each and every point in life like a wall like parents of students in other institutions.
    All have very nice communication with their seniors and teachers who are always ready to listen you and guide you. Infact much better as I have ever heard from other people doesn’t belong to BU. Who told Warden doesn’t allow to go washroom lol, and you trusted this ? without having an idea to verify it once ? nobody calls teachers as “JIJI” out here, and not only computer course students, infect others too are allowed to access internet here- we are given computer systems in each and every room, for laptops too you need to get the permission but allowed (You must read the brochure for complete process). Other things too are unbelievable for any student of BU.
    Sir, you should not blame like this to any institution this way nothing will happen to it but for sure many will start doubting you- One should believe and support the things which are actually true. Freedom like words one must use when you literally understand its meaning. In short, I will advise you to visit officially BU once- Girls are happy and learning as like other universities or even more (I feel) !

  4. Akanksha Kaushik

    Its really sad to read this article. You seriously have no idea about Banasthali. Because the Banasthali University, I know is way better than your imagination and the description you have given in this article. It is one of the best universites with all modern day facilities. I did B.Tech from there and apart from studies, I got to learnt a lot of things including flying an aircraft (I have a pilot licence without spending any money). So please dnt call Banasthali a Namuna. Visit Banasthali once and then consider writing a better article about it. As they say Incomplete knowledge is really dangerous.

  5. Saumya Jha

    There are some rules which are necessary for students (as every university has!!)
    That doesn’t mean it’s prison or something bad!!
    I am Banasthalite & I never suffered any such kinda problem. The people who meet me want their child to be a part of Banasthali!!
    It depends upon students, how they portray their university!
    Bottom line is- It is the best university of India & will always remain (with its difference)
    – Present student @Banasthali University

  6. Rricha Chaturvedi

    It hurts me to see how misguided people are in India. How can you judge a place or person based on a piece of gossip you pick up from streets. I’m an alumni of Banasthali. I’d completed my Post Graduation this year in July. I’ve been working as a part time content writer since last 6 years, even when I was at Banasthali. How does it justify this ‘one computer per 100 girls’ ratio. Being a writer myself I know authors are socially responsible for propagating facts. The entire world accepts what you write. so, please don’t promote baseless rumours that could affect a person or an organization’s credibility. I’m sorry but it’a biased piece and I’ll have to report it. It’s a matter of pride and self respect. I just can’t compromise when it comes to my institution’s reputation.

  7. Madhuri Shreya

    Sir, u would be surprised to know a better bansthali only if u had a talk with few more people from Banasthali. The views u came across are one side of a coin, that too partially correct. There is a better brighter side too which holds much more worth to be mentioned..!!

  8. Anish Semalty

    पता नही लेखक ने ये स्टोरी किस आधार पर लिखी। न ही मुझे मालूम है कि सच्ची है या झूठी! लेकिन कमेन्ट सेक्शन में जाकर पता लगता है कि बनस्थली की ही लडकियों ने (जिनका हवाला लेखक दे रहे हैं) ही लेखक को खरी खोटी सुनाई है। और जहाँ तक मुझे ज्ञात है तो मेरी ही एक सहपाठी बनस्थली के द्वितीय वर्ष में है और घर अकेली आती जाती है। ये बात इसलिए की लेखक ने लिखा है कि पिता के अलावा लडकी किसी के साथ नही जा सकती ऐसी बंदिशे हैं।।
    ps. लेख लिखने की भी कीमत मिलती है क्या?
    #JustAsking

  9. Chakshu Jain

    I am a third year student in Banasthali. In your knowledge you would surely find a girl connected to Banasthali. Just try to ask once about their views , you would surely get to know the reality. If you believe this article based on a gossip then you are too far from reality. I don’t say that this institute is is perfect but then which is ?? In these 3 years I never felt like a prisoner here . The concern our faculty and wardens show for us ,I guarantee you it would not be seen in any other hostel. Being educated go for actual facts not on the gossip taking place around you.

  10. Aditi Singh

    Dear writer,
    It seems like you wrote the article just for the sake that people view it multiple times and comment upon it for support or for criticism.
    Well, “Banasthali jail for girls” – my personal experience says, you’d get 15,000 varieties of Banasthalite girls unique in terms of Behavior+Personality – regardless of their opinion either in favor/against their own institution – might be their personal point of view/reasons I agree .
    I still can’t figure out why you need to be stereotypic with your own perception for the University with Difference. By the way every college or university had their rules/norms; for Banasthali – you’re partially correct.

    As per your jargon, some things aren’t correct:
    Jijis – you mentioned are hostel wardens, not professors/teachers.
    Students are free to use cell phones since past 3 years.
    We actually had no boundations while interacting with our seniors from same/ different department or courses normally/during fests/ special occasions.
    Only schools students, are not allowed to leave without parents/guardians.
    FYI beside father, family members are allowed to meet and even stay in Banasthali.

    I insist/recommend to make certain changes within article above (along with some I already mentioned).

  11. Amrita Pargaien

    Lekhak mahoday apka ye lekh kafi purana hai ab tak aapne banasthali university ke bare me shayad sahi research b kar li hogi …..aapse nivedan hai ki kuch b likhne se pehle ya itni badi sanstha ke bare me kuch kehne se pehle usko pramadit awashya kare…. aapko bina research kiye is lekh ke liye banasthali se mafi mangni chahiye….

  12. Diksha Gupta

    So…Mr. Giri…I’ve completed b.tech (C.S.) this year from Banasthali University.

    Please mere comment ko pura padhie….I want u to know truth of banasthali!

    One by one aapki bato pe ate h…

    First of all …mere parents Abhi tk 4 years me kwl 1 bar mujhe hostel chorne k lie aae h…Aisa Koi rule ni h ki student k parents ko use drop krne Jaipur ana pade…

    2nd…in every college…there r some no. Of leaves…Jo har student ko milti h…yhi rule yha v h…. student ko jb bhi leave chahie Hoti h..use milti h…

    3rd…Jo Apne train ki problem ki bat khi hai..Bihar ki students k lie..to usme banasthali Wale Kuch ni kr skte …wo apni ‘private train’ to ni chala skte! Aur Ha..apko Bihar ki lie Jo itni sympathy h…for ur kind information mai bta du..ki ‘Banasthali me Bihar ki sbse zada girls h’….bahot sari girls k parents une islie yha bhejte h ki yha achi education k sath safety bhi milti h Nd extra activities me participate krne ko bhi milta h Jo ki India k most of the colleges me ni milta…

    Apko ko thank ful hona chahiye ki hamare country me 1 aisi girls university h jiski wjh se bahot sare parents girls ko pdne ki permission dete h.. otherwise wo une ghar pr bitha kar rakhte ya unki shadi kar dete…

    4th…Jo Apne Bihar ki girls k lie Kha h ki wo islie une Banasthali me bhejte h taki wo ‘bigadane’ se bach jae…so.. being a girl ..mujhe ye bat khne me Koi Sharm ni ati ki ..Ha…Kuch girls aisi Hoti h aur banasthali me hai Jo yha ni Hoti to wo ‘bigad’ gyi Hoti…ya unke sath kuch Bura ho gya hota…
    Ek taraf ap kahte hai ki hamari girls aj ki society me safe ni h…itne rapes hote h…aur dusri taraf agr uni rape se bachne k lie ladaki k parents use banasthali bhejte h to apko usse problem hai!!
    Ap pahle decide kr lijie ki ap karna Kya chahte h aur kahna Kya chahte h…

    5th… parents Apne bcho ko yha islie ni bhejte ki une ye veeran jagah ‘kamal’ ki lgti hai…wo yha islie bhejte h bcz yha ka environment study ke lie , health k lie , extra activities sikhne ke lie, campus placements k lie best h…
    Banasthali me ragging system completely khatm ho Chuka h…yha juniors and seniors family ki tarah rhte h..

    Now 6th … funniest…ye Apne Jo 8 bje k baad ‘bathroom’ tak Na Jane ki bat khi h…to Mr. Funny writer…yha girls 2 bje tk pdai krti h..Nd wardens 10 bje so jati h…to Girl Kya toilet Apne room p karegi!!
    Likhane se pahle soch to Lia kro ek bar ..plz…
    Aur ek bat aur …agar yha par boys ka ana allowed ni h ..as u said ki ‘ yha boys par bhi ni mar skte’ …to isme problem Kya h???…this is senseless..

    7th… being a C.S. student Mai bta du ki yha mobile, laptop, computer SB KUCH allowed h…
    I am sure ki ye sari bate ya to kisi aisi ldki ne btai h Jo banasthali me frustrate ho chuki h…qki wha boys allowed ni h and wo Apne man k kapde ni pahan skti…
    Har university ke kuch rules hote h…yha v hai…Aisa Koi rule ni Jo apko admission se pahle Na pta ho…fir bhi Apne yha admission Lia! Bcz rules me Koi problem ni h… problem ye hai ki ap yha adjust ni kr Pa rhe…So ..plz… don’t blame Banasthali for the rules…
    Yha teachers ko ni wardens ko ‘jiji’ Bulaya jata h…bcz banasthali 1935 se girls ko education provide kra ri hai…agar apko warden ko ‘jiji’ bulane me bhi problem hai…to mujhe apke soch me aur dimag me Kuch problem lgti h…
    And yha daily ppt bnane ko ni bola jata h!! Kuch bhi likha hai means Kuch bhi…smjh ni aa rha..hsu ya gussa kru!!

    Apko ‘khadi’ k bare me to Kuch Na ni kahie…bcz apki bato se ni lagta ki Banasthali me khadi ki importance and respect ko smjh paege…
    Now about bus …3-4 bus h yha…itna bda campus Jo hai…aur ye to har jagah hota h ki ek bus Nikal jae to dusri ka wait Krna hota h…
    Rahi bat Ambulance ki to agar Raat k 2-3 bje bhi kisi student ko Koi medical emergency Hoti hai to warden ko bol kar Ambulance maga skti h…but apko ye chiz ni dikhegi …apko to ye dikhega ki 40 Rs dene pdte h…

    8th …ye baat to bilkul hi galat h ki yha seniors Nd teachers se milna allowed ni!! Ap meri profile pe jakr farewell ki pics dekhna…itna superb and emotional farewell milta h….ki normal Insan ka khushi se Dil bhar aae…itna pyar hota h seniors junios k bich…
    And yha particular timing Hoti hai jisme ap teacher se jakr mil skte h..and apni query solve kr skte h…
    Yha leave Milne ka ek procedure hai…agar wo procedure follow Na Kia jae…to girls ullu bnakr bhag jaegi …ghar walo ko bhi and faculty ko bhi…sachhai hai ye…bhale hi apko kesi Lage…yha Jo bhi rules h..wo soch samajh students ki bhalai k lie hi bnae gye h…

    9th …about suicides in banasthali…ek baat btaie agar koi bccha kisi park me khelte hue gir jae…kisi bhi wajah se …to ap us park ko blame kroge??..Ni Na?
    I think apko ab smjh aa jaega ki Mai Kya kahana chah rhi hu…

    So..Mr. Giri …Maine itni bate kwl gusse me ni likhi…Mai apko ye btana chahti hu ki plz kisi frustrated student ki bato me aakr ap Kuch bhi mat likhie… banasthali kwl ek university ni h Jha mne apni graduation complete ki hai … it’s an emotion….So..plz… respect someone’s emotion….

    Thank you!?

  13. manpreet bhamrah

    Check your facts Mr Giri….what a baseless and rubbish article…have your ever been to that place..just on a random chat you wrote a awful article…you should apologize for this stupidity…shabdon ki azadi ka Matlab yeh nahi ki Kuch bhi likhoge..wait somebody is definitely going to file a defamation case on you.

  14. Ankita Jain

    बहुत ही गलत लेख है यह। मैंने बनस्थली में 4 साल बिताए हैं। क्या ये लेख लिखने वाले महोदय खुद बनस्थली कभी गए भी हैं ? शर्म आती है ऐसे लेखकों पर जो अधूरा ज्ञान झाड़ते हैं

    वेबसाइट संभालने वालों को एडिटर्स रखने चाहिए ताकि इस तरह के झूठे लेख प्रकाशित ना हों

  15. Gaurishanker Deora

    So Mr. Giri, how should I describe you? I think ‘stupid’ will be absolutely correct. What made you assume the suicides? Now, I ask you the pertinent question. What is your ultimate aim in writing this post? My daughter is a student here, and education is absolutely fabulous here. There are values inherited in the girls and become so self-dependent and confident. You must tender an apology immediately.

  16. Pallavi Gaur

    False Alarm !

  17. Shanu Joshi

    This is a LOL post ….. How stupid can one be ????
    Get ur facts checked before publishing ’em buddy….. I ve spent 10 yrs there…ur post is not even 0.00001% true

    1. samrita gahlot

      Hi i want to know about this institute.actually i am thinking to send my daughter there.what type of school it is

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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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