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

Is Intolerance And Bigotry On The Rise Among Keralites?

More from Ranjeet Menon

I am a bit late in writing about this incident because I was waiting to see if it’s outcome turns out to be as I was expecting. Kerala was in the news on June 6 (surprisingly) for discrimination, intolerance and bigotry. S. N. Krishnakumar Nair, a Keralite working in Abu Dhabi in a construction company, went on a ranting spree against the CM of Kerala on Facebook Live. He claimed in the video that he was a member of the RSS cadre and he was going to return to Kerala to kill the CM. He also abused another minister before targeting the CM’s caste and making abusive remarks in that context. Unsurprisingly, before the enormity of what he had done dawned upon him, the video had gone viral. Taking heed to the advice of his friends, he posted another video in which he appealed to the CM for his forgiveness claiming that he had made the first video in the heat of the moment in an inebriated state. But what he had done was too big to let go off lightly. As soon as heat built up around the video, his employers terminated his work contract. I was thinking that he would get deported immediately but no new updates followed. Finally, on June 19, the Delhi police acted on a lookout notice issued by the Kerala police and arrested him from the Delhi airport as soon as he landed there.

It is true that sometimes we have to repeat the same mistake again and again to learn something, like walking, but that’s in our childhood. When we grow up, the most important aspect we learn about making mistakes is never to repeat them. The worst type of mistake I believe we can make is to have a precedent or example before us, and we still end up making the same mistake. In April 2017, a Dubai-based company had terminated the employment contract of a Keralite employee for abusing Rana Ayyub, a well known Indian investigative journalist on social media and also for making offensive comments against Islam. In spite of knowing about this incident and it’s fallout, Krishnakumar Nair chose to go ahead with his abuses and that too against a person occupying a chair empowered by the Constitution of the country. He has also stated that he tried calling BJP leaders in Kerala for help after the incident, but none of them bothered. This is the difference between true leaders and political leaders. True leaders sacrifice themselves in the interests of the people. Political leaders sacrifice people in the pursuit of their own agenda. He made himself an outcast in the society with what he had done, and no political leader would ever want to be associated with him even remotely.

There are two major outcomes to the incidents. Both Keralites were in a foreign country to make a living to support their families back in Kerala. It is not at all easy to get jobs in the Middle East, and now it is even tougher to hold on to the jobs people have in hand. In this circumstance, losing jobs that too over such incidents is beyond common sense and comprehension. Abuse against prominent people or people in authority will evoke a swift response, and they will look to make an example out of such people and incidents so that no one ever dares to abuse or go against them again. This is why Krishnakumar was waited upon and hunted down from Delhi. Moreover, it is a known fact that Kerala government has excellent relationships with all Middle East countries. Even worse would be hurling abuses in the name of religion. Making abusive comments about a particular religion while residing in a foreign country where that religion happens to be the most prominent one is nothing short of insanity.

I believe the biggest mistake Krishnakumar made was to attribute his actions and choice of words to his inebriated state and tried to deflect the blame on to alcohol. People who turn abusive under the influence of alcohol are those who do not have the mental makeup and confidence to be themselves and do not have the courage to express their feelings and emotions in the sober state. The added advantage of this is, society largely tends to forgive or ignore what transpires under the influence of alcohol. I believe he had a better chance of deflating the situation if he had taken the onus to inform his employer immediately about what he had done, came back to Kerala the very next day, met the CM in person and begged for his apology.  I do not understand why he chose to stay back, get his employment terminated and then return.

But the biggest fallout is what the families of these two will have to suffer for their respective moments of madness. The stigma that must have got attached to them in the society will stick to them for a very long time. The financial setback will be the added salt to their wounds. In the case of Krishnakumar, the police will definitely hound his family and friends as is the case with how all criminals are treated. How bizarre is the logic of abusing Islam and espousing Hindutva ideology from an Islamic country which was providing them bread and butter? I never expected Keralites to go down the road of intolerance and bigotry. I fervently hope all Keralites abroad have learned their lessons from these two incidents.

 

You must be to comment.

More from Ranjeet Menon

Similar Posts

By Prabhanu Kumar Das

By Ankita Marwaha

By Soumita Sen

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 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below