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‘Jurassic Park: The Fallen Kingdom’ Makes Us Question The Selfish Nature Of Humans

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Recently, I watched the newly released movie “Jurassic Park: The Fallen Kingdom” in the theatre. Technically and story-wise, it was a good movie. The usual plot of any Jurassic Park/World movie is almost the same, someone gets greedy and wants to use genetic technology and dinosaurs for their selfish purpose. For example, in the first film, John Hammond wanted to create something amazing with his money and influence so he built the theme park to astonish the world with living dinosaurs. The next part had his son bringing out the T-rex to sell it to a park. The third part deals with adrenaline junkie kids who visit the island for an adventure. Then there is the “Jurassic World” series, where the park is rebuilt and we see two parties- 1) The park’s founding body who think that dinosaurs are just toys to showcase in their amusement park and 2) The military who want to create dinosaur species to hunt a given target. In the end, everyone learns a lesson in their own way.Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdom-Poster_opt

The latest sequel talks about one more problem – the volcano on Isla Nublar is getting more and more active. It has the potential to burn down the island completely and wipe out all the dinosaur species from earth (once again).

This creates a conflict – whether to let mother nature take her course (and let the dinosaurs die) or meddle in her business (and save the animals by displacing them to a new island). Immediately, there are two groups on either side: those who want to save the dinosaurs and those who don’t want to take any additional actions. There is a third hidden group of opportunists, who deceive the first group to track the dinosaurs on the island and capture them for experimentation and military purposes.

2018-06-12
The lone diplodocus on Isla Nublar

There is one incident in the movie where, from the island, military men rescue as many dinosaur species as possible and take them on their military ship. The time is critical and the volcano is at the peak of destruction. Everyone is on board and suddenly they all hear an excruciating sound, the sad cries of a giant Diplodocus who was left behind, standing alone on the deck. As if she was calling for them to come back for her, or saying her goodbyes, no one would know. No one could do anything. They didn’t return for her, maybe because she was just a harmless herbivore, who took too much space and couldn’t be a killer. In seconds, the lava erupts and the poor dinosaur, who was once the crown jewel of the park and an epic magnanimous creature of the planet, was engulfed in flames. This triggers something in the viewers, that they can describe with no locution.

The Senate witnesses a debate between first two groups – whether or not to save Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs from the volcanic eruption. Tough questions are posed – Who has more right to live than others? Who is the better one? Who has the right to decide that someone is better than others? Who gets the authority to decide everyone’s net worth? Is there any measure, any unit to describe it? How many units are good and how many are bad? What is good and what is bad?

SpecialNeedsThis reminded me of another movie, “The Oxford Murders”. Here, the protagonist was Martin, a university student. He unravels the mystery of his landlady’s murder while being fooled by his idol – Arthur Seldom – who is actually, trying to cover for the murderer because of some guilt from his past. Seldom makes Martin believe that the serial killer is challenging them by giving them mathematical problems. But his puzzles are being used as a cover by a desperate father of a seven-year-old girl in need of a lung transplant and he murders the next few (who are already on the verge of dying).

He plans to blow up the school-bus of differently-abled kids and use one of their lungs for his daughter’s transplant. He dies in the ordeal, but the curious thing is, why did he think it’s appropriate to take the lives of those kids? Because their consciousness was not as developed as ours? Does it make them any less insignificant? Snowpiercer

The French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” (on which the movie “Snowpiercer” is based), shows the struggle for survival of human beings after a failed global-warming experiment induces an ice age. It effectively highlights the class difference among humans and how some lives are considered more precious than others. It reflects the narcissistic nature of human beings – how little we care about each other and other living creatures.

There are many movies and fictional shows that show a similar line of existential crisis. It’s funny how the production houses for such movies (which are mostly Hollywood-based, like Marvel or Warner Bros, etc.) keep their own countries at the centre of the decision-making in these films and still make money on an international level. Even the kid’s cartoon, “Doraemon” shows the world from a Japanese perspective because that’s where it is made. Whereas, the Potterverse mentions and acknowledges the magical population only from Europe. This is, of course, obvious. Everyone favours their own troupe. We naturally feel safe in a familiar environment with people we know. This natural instinct – a characteristic feature representing our animalistic lineage – is interpreted by the human population as a license to berate the unfamiliar.

In his book “Sapiens – A Brief History Of Mankind”, Yuval Noah Harari has beautifully given an account of the socio-psycho-biological evolution of mankind. There were more than six species under the category of ‘Humans’ (under the genus Homo) one of which is us, the Homo sapiens. What made the others decline to make us the only human species? Or the question should be, what is so special about sapiens that they are the only lasting members of the said genus?

evolutionThe answer is cognitive evolution, which involves more than just communication skills. Many animals and humans (other than sapiens) could say “Careful! A lion!”– to make others aware and run for their lives. But a modern human-sapiens-can tell their friends that this morning near the bend in the river, they saw a lion tracking a herd of bison. They can then describe the exact location, including different paths leading to the area. With this data, they all can discuss whether they should approach the river, chase away the lion and hunt the bison.

This cognitive revolution also allows Homo sapiens to acquire the ability to say, “The lion is the guardian spirit of our tribe.”  Only us sapiens can construct and believe in a world based entirely on fiction. This enables us to cooperate on a massive level. Using one faith system, we just have to believe in the guardian spirit of the lion – without forming an intimate bond with each other, which is crucial for other animals to trust each other. This is our secret behind the dominance over other species. But this comes with a great responsibility because we live in a world that has a huge number of elements connected by webs intermingled with each other in a complicated fashion. It needs to be intact because we can’t afford any single thread in the web to be broken.

I’d say in accordance with the cognitive revolution theory, our current behaviour showing favouritism towards those who are useful to us and thrashing others – is very ‘un-sapiens-like’. We are supposed to be cooperating with everyone so that the web of life is not disturbed. Looking at the history of evolution, that’s the ultimate purpose of our existence. If everyone understands this, even in a fictional world, it’d be easier for us to decide what to do with the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar.

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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.

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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.

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.

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