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Weekly Campus Watch: TN Bans Cellphones In Colleges, DU Student Activist Attacked And More

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The past fortnight has particularly been grim for students of higher education in India because of three murderous assaults. First, JNU student Umar Khalid was shot at outside the Constitution Club; second, Sanjay Kumar, an Assistant Professor in Motihari, Bihar, was subjected to an organised mob assault; and third, Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist, alleged that she and three of her friends were harassed and beaten up by goons in Vijaynagar area in Delhi.

Here is a brief roundup of everything that happened in the last two weeks and you haven’t already read on Campus Watch.

Delhi Government Introduces New Subject On Critical Thinking

The Deputy CM of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, who also holds the Education portfolio, took to his official Facebook account on August 16 to share pictures of the event “Launch of Curriculum on Critical Thinking for Transformative Learning” aimed to develop a critical approach in future generations of teachers. The new subject is for B.Ed & DL.Ed programs under SCERT/DIET.

Historian Audrey Truschke’s Hyderabad Lecture Cancelled

Audrey Truschke, assistant professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University, Newark, recently in news for her book “Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth”, was supposed to deliver a lecture titled “Unpopular Stories: Narrating the Indo-Islamic Past and Navigating Present-day Prejudices” in Hyderabad on August 11. The historian took to Facebook to share the news, writing “The organizers took this decision after being informed by the Hyderabad police that several individuals had written letters protesting my appearance. I saw only one such letter, and it was from an individual with self-admitted connections to the RSS, BJP and BJPM.” Expressing dismay over the current state of affairs, she further wrote, “Today is a sad day for the pursuit of knowledge and academic freedom, and it is a happy day for proponents of the Hindu Rashtra.”

IIT-Hyderabad Student Placed At Google

The success stories of students from IITs are well known and well circulated. However, almost always, these success stories more often than not belong to men. There are two reasons: the disproportionate number of men in IITs and discrimination faced by women and other genders in unofficial recruitment policies. Breaking away from this norm, Sneha Reddy, a student who graduated from IIT-Hyd this year has been offered a ₹1.2 crore pay package per annum by Google, the highest ever for any student of IIT-Hyd.

Ordinance For Reservation Policy In Varsity Hiring

In another post on Campus Watch, we reported that Prakash Javadekar had reiterated the current government’s commitment to the reservation policy. Under pressure from socially marginalised sections, according to a recent report in The Telegraph, the current government is “considering a proposal to promulgate an ordinance to nullify a court order” that had called for centre or department wise reservations.

Tamil Nadu Government Bans Cellphones In All Colleges

According to a circular issued by the Director of Collegiate Education to all Regional Joint Directors, the use of cell phones by students on campus is to be banned in all colleges coming under its purview. This is going to affect all the government, government-aided and self-financed institutions of the state. According to a report in The Hindu, even though no deadline has been set as of yet, DCE officials have said that the colleges were expected to comply with it as soon as they receive official communication regarding the same.

DU AISA President Kawalpreet Kaur And Her Friends Harassed And Assaulted

Kawalpreet Kaur took to her Facebook account on August 19, at around 1:21 a.m. in the night, alleging that she and three of her friends were “harassed and beaten up” by “goons” 7-8 in number in Vijaynagar area of North Campus. She also alleged that one of the assaulters flashed a pistol and that the police were uncooperative when informed about the same. She also shared pictures of her friends hospitalised, with blood oozing out of several gashes on their faces.

Scientific Misconduct by IIT Dhanbad Faculty

In a very important move for higher education and research in India, an investigation by IIT-Dhanbad (Indian School of Mines) looking into the allegations of scientific misconduct by two faculty members has been completed and the report is set to be sent to the board chairman for further action. According to a report, the two faculty members “have 14 papers that have been retracted and two papers have been corrected for image duplication.” No one from IIT-Dhanbad was a part of the fact-finding committee.


Image source: Ramesh Sharma, India Today Group/Getty | Flickr
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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, 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.

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