If You Give A Damn About These 8 Issues, You Know What It Means To Speak Up

Posted by Anugraha Hadke in Staff Picks
September 7, 2017

Have you ever been bothered by the world that you live in? Do you ever think of raising your voice to start a change? What stops you?

All of us want to live in a better world. Some of us find the courage to do something about it. But here’s the thing. Each one of us, in our own little way, has the power to bring about change. It doesn’t have to be nuclear power level change. Maybe it’s just about getting a street light in your colony fixed that makes people feel safer. Or standing up for a total stranger being harassed on public transport. Or even speaking up about issues that matter to you. It seems like a small thing, but it makes a big difference.

In August, these are the issues that top users at Youth Ki Awaaz raised their voices about.

1. What Privilege Looks Like In India

In our country, if you are a Hindu, upper-caste, wealthy, able-bodied, heterosexual cis-gendered man, the amount of privilege you possess is unparalleled. There is little discrimination you would face, oblivious to the stigma faced by minorities on the lines of caste, class, gender, sexuality. Breaking down all these privileges and recognising the responsibility that comes with it are The Savarna Files. This month, in a series of posts, they spell out small and big things we often take for granted in the spaces we occupy.

Buzzfeed’s Quiz On Privilege And What It Actually Means

You might have taken this quiz recently through the Buzzfeed website which asks the question ” How privileged are you? “. It is essentially a checklist of 127 points. You get to know how privileged you are in society based on the number of points you check.

Follow The Savarna Files on YKA.

2. Blind Faith For A Convicted Rapist

The violence and destruction that followed the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in two rape cases show the dangerous levels our faith for self-styled men and women of God reaches. Over 30 people lost their lives, many states in North India were put on high alert, media vans were torched in an attempt to limit the coverage of the violence. What does it say about us as a society that mindlessly follows criminals in the garb of religious leaders? Is our faith so weak?
Shobha Rana Grover’s powerful story questions this poison that has spread way too far amongst us.

जब बलात्कार के आरोपी बाबा के पीछे लोग बौराने लगे तो समझिये सब ठीक नहीं है

दो राज्यों में हाईअलर्ट… भारी-भरकम सुरक्षा के इंतजाम… ज़िला प्रशासन की निगरानी तेज़…इंटरनेट सेवाएं बंद… स्कूल-कॉलेज बंद… ट्रेनें रद्द! लेकिन ये सब किसलिए? क्या कोई पड़ोसी देश हमले की तैयारी में है? या फिर खुफिया विभाग को किसी आतंकी हमले की संभावना है?

Follow Shobha on YKA.

3. The Damage Caused In Assam Floods That Could Have Been Avoided

Every year, Assam gets ravaged by floods. Every year people are killed, livelihoods are lost, families are uprooted. And yet, this disaster never seems important enough for the mainstream media to cover or the government to pay attention to.

A majority of the damage done during the floods could have been avoided by only paying a little more attention to how cities are being developed. Throughout the month, Kumar Deepak has covered the floods in Assam and Bihar, and the havoc that they brought.

Flash Floods In Guwahati Are A Warning Sign That The City Is Heading Towards Doom

The government and civilians of Guwahati have blood on their hands for the brutal and shameless killing of river Bharalu due to corrupt, blind and aberrant development in the city. The expanding population and mass immigration in Guwahati stems from depleting livelihoods and a lack of employment opportunities in Assam and the rest of the northeast Indian states.

Follow Kumar Deepak on YKA.

4. Travelling In India As A Person With Disability

Making travel plans can be unnerving. Finalising a place you want to visit, fixing the dates, getting leave from work, booking tickets, packing, and then making sure you catch your bus/train/flight. A lot of us also spend a decent amount of time in looking at hotels to stay in, fixating on the details. Will it include breakfast? Does it have a hot shower? Are the rooms sea facing? Is there an elevator?

But what do you do if you reach the hotel and find out you can’t even enter it just because you use a wheelchair?
Sharing details of an RTI filed by her, Abha Khetarpal reveals how hundreds of hotels in the country claim to be ‘disabled-friendly’ but don’t even have a ramp in the name of access.

Despite Govt. Guidelines, This Is How Hotels Make Provisions For People With Disability

In 2009, the Ministry of Tourism issued guidelines for 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotels, stating that all hotels must have specific facilities for persons with disabilities. The hotels had to comply with these guidelines for classification and reclassification, and for getting star certification. They had to make the hotels disabled friendly by 2010.

Follow Abha on YKA.

5. What Travelling Solo Means For An Indian Woman

Discussions around women’s safety are never-ending, and much needed because cases of violence against women are still on the rise. As a daughter, I have seen my parents stress over my safety every time I step out of the house. How I travel, who I go with, when I’m likely to return, they fuss all the time. Imagine then, what it means for a woman to travel all by herself, to the isolated Himalayas, or an overcrowded Goa.

Snehal Wankhede shares her experiences and challenges of being a female solo traveller.

थैंक्स पापा, आप स्कूटर चलाना ना सिखाते तो आज अकेले इंडिया ना घूम पाती

ट्रेन में एक बच्ची के पापा को उसको अपर बर्थ पर चढ़ाने की प्रैक्टिस करवाते हुए देख अपने पुराने दिन याद आ गए। जब सारी लड़कियां स्कूटी चलाना सीख रही थी, पता नहीं कहां से मुझे बजाज स्कूटर चलाने का शौक चढ़ा। शायद इसलिए क्यूंकि घर पर तब वही गाड़ी

Follow Snehal on YKA.

6. The Dark Realities Faced By Children Living On The Streets In India

Over 20 lakh children live on the streets in India, with little access to education, clean water, sanitation and nutrition. A major, and very dangerous consequence of this is an addiction to drugs. To avoid feeling hungry, or cold, many children are made to sniff glue. This soon turns into an addiction, forcing kids to spend whatever they earn on the drugs. Highlighting a similar scenario is Joyeeta Talukdar’s story on children outside the Sealdah railway station in Bengal.

Drugs And Prostitution Are Ruining Lives Of Kids Outside This Kolkata Railway Station

Editor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour.

Follow Joyeeta on YKA.

7. Cinema That Challenges Patriarchy And Religion

Weaving the issue of open defecation with a love story, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was received with enthusiasm by the masses. Riding the wave of socially responsible cinema, following the likes of Pink and Lipstick Under My Burkha, the Akshay Kumar starrer brought in various aspects of challenging patriarchal norms that force women to conform. Naman Singh shares how he found subtle rebellion in the film. In his review, he narrates how the film’s concept aligns with the Swachh Bharat Mission and slams the use of religion to oppress.

Toilet Ek Prem Katha’: A Subtle Rebellion Against Oppressive Patriarchy And Religion

“Maine aisa kya maang liya, ki tum mujhe de nahi sakte? (Did I demand something impossible for you to give me?)” This sole line has all the depth to evoke an exciting thought in me. But, what is exciting here is the need and want for a toilet in the house.

Follow Naman on YKA.

8. Women’s Right To Family Property

For way too long, women have been told that they are “paraya dhan” – a liability that needs to be passed on. This has also been used as an excuse to deny women their rightful share in the family inheritance. After all, her husband is going to take care of her needs, so will her brother. What does she need a house for when her husband is giving her a house to live in? Slamming this sexist tradition is Roki Kumar’s engaging story.

बेटी को पराया धन वाला ज्ञान नहीं अपनी संपत्ति का हिस्सा दीजिए

बचपन से ही मेरी बहन को सिखाया गया कि वो पराया धन है और जो भी कुछ है वो उसके भाइयों का है। धीरे-धीरे मेरी बहन को भी ये लगने लगा कि सच में वो पराई है और शादी के बाद पति का घर ही उसका अपना घर होगा। धूमधाम

Follow Roki on YKA.

Featured image source: Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Every month, thousands of users share stories on issues that matter to them on Youth Ki Awaaz. If there are stories you want to share, issues you want to talk about, log in and directly publish now!