This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by ISDM. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Our History Of Wars Shows How Rigid Ideologies Defeat Us

More from ISDM

By Koushik Hore, student of PGP in Development Leadership at ISDM:

“[…] The people of India resolved to constitute India into a Democratic, Republic and to secure to all its citizens ‘Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and opportunity’, and to promote ‘Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual’.  […] The right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to form associations and unions, the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. […] Everyone is entitled to his thoughts and views. There are no barriers. Our Constitution guarantees that.”

The following are parts of the historic judgement delivered by the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of the “State of Madhya Pradesh vs Ramashankar Raghuvanshi” on February 21, 1983. The judgement was delivered by Justice Fazal Ali, who was believed to be a ‘card-carrying communist’. The recipient, a municipal school teacher, Ramashankar Raghuvanshi, had been dismissed by the Madhya Pradesh government in 1974 for having ‘taken part in RSS activities’ – after which he had appealed to the SC.

My awakening from the classes at ISDM concerns the actions based on our ‘isms’ (which indicate the body of principles, practices and ideologies we believe in), in comparision to those based on values we are all born with as human beings (the universal values). I have understood why I shouldn’t take a stand based on my ideology or ‘isms’ – and instead base it on my values. In a way, instead of focussing on ‘what’ to achieve, I need to put my attention on ‘how’ to achieve.

In our day-to-day lives, we all carry certain biases based on our ideologies – and our tendency is to simply go with that initial reasoning and start judging the ‘others’ or the ‘opposites’. In a way, this tendency makes us blind and stops us from listening to and understanding others. The stronger our conservative beliefs, the firmer our convictions – and this is precarious.

We start thinking that the ‘others’ or the ‘opposites’ get what they deserve. We all remember the shocking images of the drowned Syrian boy and those showing the tragic plight of the refugees, or the tragic news of the Rohingya refugees of Myanmar, or news of the assassination of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh – all of which spread on social media. Often, these convictions lead to large-scale devastation. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, we have seen devastation on mammoth scales, based on the maddening fights between ideologies to prove which one is a panacea! One ‘ism’ trying to prove its supremacy over others has often lead to holocausts, mass annihilation, world wars and religious, political, ethnic and cultural fanaticism.

People round the world have been killed and displaced because of ‘ideological reasons’. That’s why we need to focus on universal values again.

India, on the other hand, through her pillars of democracy and modernity, spoke of a different world view which supported peace and human values. In 1893, at Chicago, Swami Vivekananda proclaimed the message of universal tolerance and internationalism. In “The Story of My Experiments with Truth“, Gandhi pointed out that his path is based on two ideals – ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (search for truth). He also stated that truth is not rigid, fixed or static – it is ever changing. Another pillar of modern India, Rabindranath Tagore, developed the concept of “Viswa Bharati”, which considers the whole universe as a teacher. None of them claimed any ‘ism’. Rather, they spoke of values like oneness, agency, dignity, freedom, equity and fraternity for oneself and others.

Based on my reflections and learning in the past few weeks, I feel that the way forward for us as humanity has to be based on kindness, healing and making peace. I find affirmation in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message and words which convey the same thoughts for the world. This can only be achieved by embodying the values of the inner being and their appropriate manifestation in the outside world.

Embodying the values is synonymous to feeling the greatness within oneself. Acceptance of the self is the foremost step towards being more accepting and spreading oneness in the world. We can then accept the same greatness within each human being and recognise that there is no difference between people. We are all made up of the same consciousness and our needs and values are completely similar. Until we do this, we won’t be able to empathise with the ‘other’ and connect with the ‘opposite’.

Empathy is the key to the new world order. Through value-based learning, we can connect deeply to the needs and feelings of the other, empathise and have a dialogue. The future of the earth is critically clinging to this ability for dialogue and making way for peace and harmony, instead of separating and fighting.


Featured image used for representative purposes only.

Featured image source: Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
You must be to comment.
  1. Akshay Mankar

    The whole idea of superiority over any other person, ideology or nation defeats the idea of Equality. If we cannot wholly accept the concept of equality, we cannot implement it even partially.

More from ISDM

Similar Posts

By ED Times

By Dhruvika Sodhi

By Ranjeet Menon

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’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.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below