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What is it that we as Indians are collectively doing wrong?

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“I’m not a feminist with thoughts for radical change, nor am I chauvinist with narrow minded ideologies.. I’m just a silent observer like the billion other Indians who waits for someone else to start a revolution” – Self

“India”

The word in itself holds so much weight..

“Mera Bharat mahan”

The slogan in itself hold so much integrity..

But what about Indian or Bharatiya??

Do we have that valuation or Integrity??

Sadly “NO” we do not have the right to be called a part of this ancient civilization of India.

Why??

  • A country known for its diverse religious practice since before the time of Mauryas and Mughals, has Hindus and Muslims fighting over lands, rituals and idiotic sense of pride.

Why??

Because each one of us think that my Religion is better.

  • A country known for worshiping women as Goddess, has them beaten ,raped and degraded in the name of power, dominance and customs.

Why??

Because , these days it is the girl’s fault for instigating and provoking the men. Because it is the girl’s job to bend, compromise and be degraded.

  • A country which produced Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, has the largest black money offshore Swiss account Holders in the world.

Why??

Because paying tax is a waste of my hard earned money. Many of us consider extortion and bribery as hard earned money too!! Why pay them to the Government, if I can hide it.

  • A country that produces largest number of doctors and engineers also is the country that has more than half the population below poverty line.

Why??

Because education system is yet to reach 35% of the country.

Because awareness about the importance of knowledge is not reaching them. Because we, the doctors and engineers are too busy learning and earning to spend time for free amidst the darker and illiterate parts of the country.

  • A country that houses the most expensive home in the world (Antilla, Mumbai – USD 1 Billion) is also the home to the largest slum in the world (Dharavi, Mumbai)

Why??

Because we like our life in the unhygenic Jhoparpatti. We are saving the money for our children.

Because we like to spend the money on the locally fermented wine available just adjacent to the the area police station.

  • A country that is the home to some of the best known child prodigies like Tathagat Tulsi, Kautilya Pandit and Akrit Jaiswal is also the home to one of the largest batch of child labors.

Why??

Because even though we preach against child labor, we all at some point had someone below 18 working somewhere near or at our place yet we never protested.

  • A country known for Equality has Gender and Caste bias at every step of the way.

Why??

A Dalit’s son scoring cent percent makes into the news. We have this bullshit invisible radar that pops up once in awhile to differentiate between us. We still have separate vessels at home for the servants, drivers and gardeners. Because they are below us.

  • Nirbhaya’s Rape was a national news but how many of you know about the Gurgaon pizza boy’s rape where a 24 yrs old male was raped & left for dead by 6 Engineering girls??

We fight against discrimination yet male rape is laughed at and house husband called a joker”

  • A country that boasts of Unity in diversity has a spectacular golden section called, “The Seven sisters of the North East” which we often do not even consider as apart of India.

Why??

North Eastern Indians accounts for some of the most talented and educated people of the country. The spectacularly pristine and clean states of NE India are worth being role models for the rest of the country. The organic farming, matriarch society, promotion of hygiene and education are just a few aspects of this part of the nation.

and what do we do? Refer to them as Chinkies/Nepalese/Chinese and laugh about it.

  • A country known for being the largest democracy is also the country known for the largest scams and corruptions

Why??

We vote and elect the most corrupt politician and wail and cry about it. But we do not have the guts to stand up and fight ourselves. We love being the spectators rather than the leaders.

  • A country known for producing Mary Kom, Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal is also the one known for ridiculing them.

Why?

A women who surpasses legends like Bhupati and Peas and has titles in both ATP and WTA is told not to wear skirt during matches. During IPL matches we love to sit in those sections where the cheerleaders are the closest.

Short skirts and dresses are signs of being provocateurs of ill thoughts and immoral ideas.

..

..

..

The list what we are doing wrong is endless and the solution is far fetched idea.

I’m not finding faults and trying to prove a point.. I’m just saying that these are the things that Me, You and rest of the so called Well versed Indian Society is Seeing, Following and Doing wrong.

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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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