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

Dalit Rights Activist Lenin Raghuvanshi Honoured With Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar

More from Shirin Khan

Lenin Raghuvanshi and Bezwada Wilson have been recognised with numerous awards for their work on national movements for the abolition of caste system and untouchability. Daily India Media recognised the contribution of 13 Indian stalwarts from various spheres like politics, business, academics and entertainment with Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar, at the glittering awards ceremony held in New Delhi on 30th August 2018. Those recognised for their contribution to society and championing the cause of equity, humanity, social justice and human welfare include: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Yuvraj Singh, Ashutosh, Bibek Debroy, Uma Tuli, Flavia Agnes, Pramila Nesargi, Anita Ahuja, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Bezwada Wilson, Atul Satija and Pravin Patkar. Each awardee received a trophy, a citation and a cash prize of 50,000 INR. Lenin Raghuvanshi donated his award money for the Neo-Dalit process, and veteran actress and social worker, Shabana Azmi, donated her award money for the Kerela flood relief. ‘For being voice, body and soul of a nationwide movement for the right to a life of dignity, for his lifelong endeavour to eliminate every form of exploitation of children, women and the socially oppressed and his committed crusade for the complete abolition of the caste system’, was a part of citation to Lenin Raghuvanshi.

In his acceptance speech Lenin Raghuvanshi ( )says,“It is a landmark honour for me, my colleagues, think tanks and advisors at the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), partner organizations especially Child Rights and You (CRY), Global Fund Children (GFC)– USA, FK-Norway, INSEC-Nepal, IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council of Torture Victims), FORUM Asia, Tata Trusts, Indo-German Society of Remscheid and associates, Ms. Helma Ritscher from Germany, Shruti Nagvanshi of Varanasi and Ms. Parul Sharma of Sweden, to receive the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar fighting for the dignity of the poor, marginalized and the “untouchables” of India. Thanks a lot to distinguished Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri ji and Power Brand.”

 The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, portrayed an authentic picture of the marginalised, “Political parties and the media ignore the poor and marginalised. When they are victims of crime, they hesitate to report it because they do not trust the police or courts. Corruption is widespread. Poor people are forced to pay for protection and services which, according to human rights law, should be free. The economic crisis only makes things worse, providing an excuse for politicians to blame the victims rather than help them.”

He also said the main problems faced in India emerge from two things: The implementation of a ‘culture of impunity’, which is a shared belief that few can act without being accountable for their actions, at the social, economic and political level and the cognitive problem in the context of market democracy and economic globalisation. This explanation reveals how the combination of these two factors– cognitive and contextual, allow the rise of a neo-fascism state, an authoritarian state; which wants a country with one religion and one language, and the implementation of aggressive neo-liberal capitalism, which perpetuates social and economic injustice.

After that, a way to correct and change this situation by calling for the creation of a ‘Neo-Dalit’ movement, combining Shudras and Ati-Shudras from all regions, which would formulate popular movement against the ‘culture of impunity’ through mobilisation of opinion among leaders from all communities was proposed. The Neo-Dalit movement is a sign of hope, honour and human dignity for the most marginalised people facing discrimination based on race, caste, religion and gender. The Nelson Mandela model is the path for PVCHR’s Neo-Dalit movement- to bring unity of different communities against the caste system, feudalism, communal-fascism and neo-liberalism, through reconciliation for justice and human dignity against the culture of impunity based on silence. It promises to contribute, in posterity, to the pluralistic democracy in the world.

The multifaceted problems of our country are interconnected. To understand and solve these, we must view the dire problem in totality, not in isolation. We need a comprehensive multi-layer and multi-dimensional approach that considers economic, cultural, political and social factors. The People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and its partners are actively attempting to fill this opportunity space by courting constructive dialogue with others- all stripes, spots and ideological leanings. Focusing on the diversity of caste experience, rather than being counter-intuitive to movement’s goal of creating Dalit self-esteem, is a primary step towards making a lasting structural change in the process of strengthening Dalit self-esteem.

 There are a lot of practices based on innovation, resilience, cost-effectiveness and participation of children and other target groups being carried out to meet this goal. Elimination of the culture of silence, fear and phobia of organised violence and torture are the predominant factors of resilience to inculcate social transformation. It contributes to poverty elimination. The stories of Sarai and Sakara villages are the classic examples of how change happens. The success of Sarai village, achieved by the people of Sarai is creating waves and resilience in the struggle against poverty, injustice, caste system and torture and organised violence, with a slogan: ‘You Can!’ Government of India needs to implement learning of grassroots level for qualitysocial justice and human welfare.

Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th century, and recipient of Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1913, rightly described the value of India in his following poem in Gitanjali:

“Where the mind is without fear

and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been

broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls;

Where the clear stream of reason

has not lost its way into the

Dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Into that heaven of freedom,

My Father, let my country awake.

Martin Luther King rightly said, “The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity– leaders not in love with money, but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.”

Lenin Raghuvanshi said, “India needs a better government that protects its people and brings them together to build a strong nation-state, and to give them dignity and honour. A step towards a different India, grounded on the values of justice, freedom and integrity.” Hence, in all humbleness and humility”. With this he accepts the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskara.

Over the years Power Brands have instituted numerous awards and prizes to the likes of Dr. Zlatko Matesa- 6th Prime Minister of Croatia, H. E. Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, 5th President of the Maldives, Nobel Laureates- Muhammad Yunus and Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Bindeshwar Pathak, Medha Patkar, Swaminathan A Iyer, Gurcharan Das, Dr. Kiran Bedi, Dr. Devi Shetty, T N Seshan, E. Sreedharan, the Iron Lady Irom Sharmila Chanu, Kumar Sangakkara, Sushmita Sen, Y. C. Deveshwar, Pankaj Munjal et al.

You must be to comment.

More from Shirin Khan

Similar Posts

By Aqsa Shaikh

By Aarushi

By Ritwik Trivedi

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