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Dear BHU Administration, Why Are You Afraid To Face Me?

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बाजीचा-ए-अतफ़ाल है दुनिया मेरे आगे,
होता है शब्-औ-रोज़ तमाशा मेरे आगे.

The world is a child’s playground before me,
Night and Day, this theatre is enacted before me.

BHU has been my playground. And it will remain so all my life. The grass of the playground is vermin-infested today. They have barraged me with lathis. They are wearing full armour (I don’t know why) and are pushing me back to my hostel. I am branded a leftist and a lot of other things just because I am protesting. If you don’t believe me watch the videos.

Some people have asked questions as to why this protest coincides with the visit of an MP from Varanasi. And the judgments have been passed, which declare that I am a left-leaning and anti-national person without dignity or character. I am being called names by certain people who look just like me.

I am an 18/19-year-old person and I don’t know the difference between right and left. I don’t know what it means to be an anti-national. I don’t know what political ambitions I could have or how a simple student protest demanding very fundamental rights could affect my great country and its statesmen.

I wonder – why is nobody listening to me? Will we need more ‘Nirbhayas’ for people to understand this? Will I have to ignite the Bhagat Singh in me? Is there a Gandhi in me? Is this a democracy? In today’s age of WhatsApp and Facebook, the ‘telegram’ has been delivered to those at the helm? What will I have to do to fit the definitions written in their books?

What I do know is that I should be safe! What I do know is that I should not be judged by the clothes I wear in and around the campus!

I should not be sexually harassed when I walk in the lanes/streets personally curated by Malaviyaji, at night. I should not feel unsafe on my own campus. I should not have curfew timings as to when I leave my hostel. I should not be thrown out of my hostel because of my sexual orientation. I should not be hit by lathis if I refuse to go back to the hostel while I am peacefully protesting. Your definitions should not be forced down my gut.

I am angry today. I sometimes wonder – Mughalsarai can get its name changed so swiftly. We can commemorate Malaviyaji with the Bharat Ratna, despite him being greater than any such commemoration. There can be speeches and promises made from the top of Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Yet, nobody hears me out. Why?

Are you afraid to face me? I am not a politician. I am not a philosopher. My orientations have not yet formed. I learned the definitions of freedom in the class 9 history book. I read about my fundamental rights on the opposite page of the preface of the NCERT coursebooks. I come and sit at the BHU gate because the same was done by Gandhiji when he wanted to ‘right’ some wrong. My father has taught me to stand up for myself. The stories of my grandmother had lessons like these. I am only doing what I have been taught by society.

Do correct me if I am out of bounds.

Nevertheless, I am not going to take your decisions, silences, or judgments without question. And I don’t care and refuse to listen to you if you don’t solve my basic problems.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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