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The Majority Knows They Can Get Away With Their Oppressive Behaviour

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Funny how I never noticed the majority-minority division while growing up and now it is just too hard to ignore. Is it because of my social circle and restricted view of the world, or because it now has a hand behind almost every other conversation, I am not sure. Not only are these divisions getting increasingly noticeable, but the people behind it are also getting bolder.

Recently, when a classmate, I had known for about for a couple of weeks, approached me and asked me why I don’t have a ‘Ghar Wapsi’, since my ancestors were once Hindus and I have a Hindu god’s name for a surname, I was surprised rather than insulted. Insulted, because how easy it is for some people to assume that the commitment they have for their faith, other cannot have for their own. Surprised, because one doesn’t always have to face the consequences for their speech, a privilege that I, as a minority, have forgotten.

Media is called the fourth pillar of democracy and is thus ideally expected to be unbiased. In recent times, however, its credibility and loyalty to the nation and all its residents are being questioned repeatedly. In a series of sting operations, Cobra Post revealed how easy it was to buy off and influence country’s leading media organisations.

To study in a journalism university and see how people are unafraid to impose their opinions on you and imply that their community is superior to yours, you understand how it is easy to corrupt the most significant influencers of a democracy. Media is an institution that asks you to separate your job and your opinions because of the power it wields to influence the masses. But when the people who have this responsibility do not hold back on their bias, it becomes clear why the integrity of the institution is being criticised. This reflects the culture of the majority. The majority’s oppressive and controlling nature is not a result of a ‘threat’ to their culture from the minorities but of a sense of superiority and the knowledge of power they hold. It is because they know they can get away with it, while others can’t.

Although the dissection of the issue at hand is possible to quite an extent, I find it hard to answer that why are people so afraid and insecure? Why do they undermine their commitment to their faith, and fear that the minorities can control them? Whose fault is it that they fear to falter? Why are they so opposed to thinking for themselves and questioning the authority of their communities? Only if more people asked themselves these questions, then we would at least be a better people, irrespective of our ability to answer.

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  1. Krishna Singh

    Yes, this “minority” problem or in wider sense, discrimination due religion, caste, region, colour, gender, nationality, etc is not in itself an independent issue, but is related to many other social, political, legal and economic issues!
    If we look back into the history, since capitalism became world wide phenomenon, these issues became acute when the ruling class, here capitalist class, is in distress.
    Ist & 2nd WW occured when ruling or elite class of different countries were in distress, that is there were deep contradictions in them. It was basically loss of profit and rise of labour revolt, which was due rising unemployment and poverty.
    Later, everywhere in the world, such wars, unrest, protests by the working class & farmers in millions, terrorism are visible. When employment is relatively more, purchasing power of the people is better, the profit rate rise, we have calmer society, that is these discriminations are hidden and the political parties, that get mandate to form governments are not far Right Wing parties, like Congress in India, Republicans in US, etc!
    These discriminations, or here in your article, “minority” issue is a chronic problem of any society, which is divided into classes, even earlier in Feudalism. They are made to fare in acute conditions, when the economic and political disease flare. This is plotted by the capitalist class with the help of its political parties, whom they fund, their goons, state power and its machinery, “pillars” of the “democracy”!
    This is Fascism, which is nothing else but an another form of capitalism, but the most rotten and violent!

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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)’.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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