Raising your voice matters. Sharing stories that are important to you matter. And at Youth Ki Awaaz, each story you share matters.
In July, hundreds of stories were shared on the platform, and these stories – by new and regular users – deepened our perspectives, challenged our stereotypes and taught us something new. Here are the top 8 issues raised by users this month:
For anyone even slightly vocal on social media, trolling has become an accepted part of sharing your opinion. Most of us choose to ignore it. Most of us choose to ignore it, but violence, rape and even death threats continue to grow online.
When Simran Keshwani spoke up against the rising violence against minorities in the country, her post received violent responses. However, instead of handling hate with hate, Simran decided to engage in a rational and logical manner. She wrote another post to call the haters out and made it clear that she won’t take it lying down. Soon after, Simran started a petition calling for stricter laws against cyber bullying and also carried out a protest on July 30 in Delhi. What started with a story has now become a full-scale campaign to counter online hate.
Ad hominem attacks are nothing new these days. I am the girl, ” who should be shoved in Pakistan because she’s Sindhi and they’re traitors”, ” who was molested by a Padre on a sickular visit”, ” who is a Starbucks latte sipping ugly LSR feminist”.
Follow Simran on Youth Ki Awaaz.
Religion, caste, class and food preference have today, unfortunately, become factors that decide your love for the country. But is this something new? Have we always had an environment as hostile as this? Looking back at a similar period of time in the late ‘90s, early 2000s, Arastu Zakia shared what it was like to grow up in a Muslim family in Ahmedabad.
From all communities living in harmony to the slow segregation of colonies based on religion, leading to the 2002 riots, Arastu reveals his family’s journey through this communal tension and his own strife with a religion he didn’t identify with.
This is the story of my relationship with religion. I was in class two at an excellent Jesuit school in Ahmedabad, when my class teacher, Mrs Sinha, asked, “How many Hindus in this class?” It was for some government count, as far as I can remember. A majority of my classmates raised their hands.
Follow Arastu on Youth Ki Awaaz.
Almost every story we hear from Kashmir is about conflict, militancy, political manipulation or unrest. What the mainstream media won’t tell you are the amazing initiatives locals have taken to ensure that their future generations get the best chance. One such heartening endeavour is Haji Public School in Breswana.
Rachit Shah, who recently completed his volunteer work at the school, shared a touching narrative of his experience of living in a village in the mountains, cut off from the rest of the world. Looking back at his three-month life experience, Rachit says, “What comforts me in all this chaos is the knowledge of the fact that I now have a home in the mountains, where I know people with ocean hearts and they know me.”
On November 12, 2016, during the lunch break of Converge 2016, the annual flagship event by Youth Ki Awaaz, I went up to one of the speakers of the day, the Sabbah Haji (Director, Haji Public School) and said, “I would like to volunteer.”
Follow Rachit on Youth Ki Awaaz
It is shameful that many Indian women have had to internalise sexual harassment to such an extent that name-calling, groping and men publicly masturbating do not surprise us anymore. We seem to have accepted it as a part of being a woman, reporting it to the police doesn’t even become a consideration. Who will take us seriously anyway?
But writer and photographer Isha Chitnis refused to remain silent. She caught a man masturbating to her and her colleague at the CST railway station in Mumbai and was horrified. After recording a video of the man, Isha reported the incident to a police officer on duty. Unsurprisingly, the officer told her to find a seat somewhere else. Left with no other option, Isha posted the video and wrote about the incident on Youth Ki Awaaz.
Within hours, the post went viral and the Mumbai police finally took note of it and the culprit was caught.
Isha’s bold move is proof that even a single voice can make a lot of difference.
Two days ago, I posted an article on this very platform about how a guy masturbated at me and my friend at CST Mumbai, and how the police havaldar I went to for help just walked away from the scene. Since then, things have been wild.
Follow Isha on Youth Ki Awaaz.
Adoption in India, in many ways, is still seen as a taboo. As recently as last week, actor Sunny Leone was trolled on social media for adopting a baby girl. Things become worse when a single, unmarried woman decides to adopt a child. Her character is questioned, she is slut-shamed, the child is bullied.
Shattering all these notions is Antara Mukherjee’s story. Adopted by a single, unmarried woman – both Antara and her mother did not have things easy. Constantly questioned about the existence of her father to allegations against their ‘character’, both women stood strong and battled the stigma like heroes. Antara’s story is truly an inspiring one!
“Where have you come from?” “Yes, you have come from my heart!” This is how my mother told me that I’m adopted (or different). She didn’t use the word ‘adopted’ until a few years ago when I faced bullying in school for not having a father.
Follow Antara On Youth Ki Awaaz
A majority of the workers employed in Assam’s world-renowned tea gardens are women. In most places, the management has divided the labour based on gender and the tasks given to women, like plucking, have been termed as unskilled labour. In reality, plucking requires a level of knowledge of the leaves since the quality of the tea depends on it. But because their work has been tagged unskilled, the women are paid a lot lesser as well as forced to work longer hours. This exploitation is leading to increased health risks and a constantly deteriorating living condition.
In her detailed report, Juri Baruah explains the systematic exploitation women workers face and the impact it has on them.
The Sivasagar district of Assam is dominated by tea gardens, which are locally known as bagan s. Historically, this district has always had tea gardens and tea garden companies. My interest in Sivasagar district stems from the stark class difference and thereby the relationship of subordination and superiority that is visibly noticeable within the borders of the tea garden.
Follow Juri on Youth Ki Awaaz.
Till the 1960s, in Nagaland’s Konyak Naga tribe, a young man’s rite of passage to manhood was to bring back the heads of the enemies he killed in war. They would then get decorated with tattoos on the face and chest, which were the mark of a warrior. The more enemies they killed, the more intricate the design of their tattoos.
But now, the old warriors smoke opium. The heads of enemies in their homes have been replaced by the skulls and bones of wild animals.
Suman Das brings us a glimpse of the last remaining warriors and their lives today with stunning photos.
The headhunters belong to the ferocious Konyak Naga tribe in Lungwa village on the eastern edge of Nagaland. In the village, you won’t be able to find a hospital, police station or even a panchayat office. There is only a man known as ‘chief’, who administers this village along with some other villages in Myanmar.
Follow Suman on Youth Ki Awaaz.
The sex ratio in India is on a dangerous decline, with reports predicting that the sex ratio could go as low as 898 women to 1000 men by 2031. Society’s unreasonable obsession with sons is dangerous to a point that families are willing to give up their wealth and endanger their own lives. An example can be seen in rural Madhya Pradesh, where men and women are refusing to get sterilised because they want to have more sons.
In a well-researched and very well-written on-ground report, Bikash Sharma reveals why families in rural Madhya Pradesh are refusing to get sterilised because they want to have more sons.
Thirty-year-old Ramsakhi Adivasi doesn’t want to be sterilised unless she becomes the mother of another boy. Ramsakhi, who lives with her husband in Teehar village of Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh, has four daughters and a boy. She still hopes that the next child will be a son!
Follow Bikash on Youth Ki Awaaz.