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Satbir Singh – A Kargil War Veteran Who Took Six Bullets Now Runs Juice Stall

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By Janhavi Sharma:

Fighting for the country is perhaps the most selfless of tasks. However, it is also the one which is most often taken for granted and not given as much credit as it deserves; even though, in theory, it may seem otherwise.

War veterans often have inspiring stories with melancholic pasts and evidences of physical harm on their bodies that they wear as markers of pride. At the time of war, they are promised the world and a hope for a better life for them and their families.

However, this isn’t always the case. Some soldiers have to struggle even after they’ve fought for the country and survived the war.

One such war veteran is Satbir Singh.

satbir singh juice stall

Who Is Satbir Singh?

Satbir Singh of the Rajputana Rifles is a war veteran who fought the Kargil war in 1999. He was shot by the Pakistani armed forces and took 6 bullets in total, one of which still remains in his leg.

He currently lives in North Delhi’s Mukhmelpur village and runs a juice stall to make ends meet.

What Is His Story?

Singh fought in the Kargil war with 24 other soldiers in his regiment. On June 12, 1999, he was shot during the course of the war and suffered grave injuries.

He was immediately hospitalized and remained there for around a year before he was discharged in May 2000. His injuries had still not healed completely. This propelled him to take an early retirement from the Army and find an alternative livelihood.

He was promised compensation after retirement, but never received it.

satbir singh juice stall

False Promises

Singh and his fellow soldiers were all promised some kind of compensation or the other if they martyred or retired. The compensation was in the form of money, land, petrol pumps, etc.

Singh was promised one acre of land and a petrol pump. However, due to his inability to carry out proper paperwork on time and other complexities, he was never given his due.

He told India Times in an interview that a lot of his friends’ families got land and property, except him. He said “Kisi ke baccho ko naukri mil gayi, kisi ki biwi ko naukri mil gayi, kisi ko gas agency, kisi ko kheti karne ke liye zameen de di gayi”.

All Singh was given was Rs. 4,000 as pension a month (as of 2000) and an array of false promises.

Singh’s Struggle

Satbir Singh, however, did not give up. He periodically sought government support and enquiry, and even managed to get some agricultural land, only to have it taken away from him. He lost most of his savings because of that land.

He was promised a pension of Rs. 40,000 a month along with free education for his children, but he was only given half of what he was told he’d get.

Today, Singh runs a juice shop to earn a living and gets a pension of only Rs. 23,000. “I barely earn rupees 500 a day through this business. In the past 20 years, I have worked as a vegetable seller, farmer, electrician and at construction sites to earn a living,” Singh told India Times.

It is heartbreaking to hear Satbir Singh’s story. It’s one ridden with pain, suffering and struggle, but most of all, it is a story that very few know about.

Someone who suffered a life-altering injury and fought for his people, selflessly, has been let down by those very same people. The irony is astonishing.

A version of this post was first published here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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