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

People Trolling MPs Mimi And Nusrat’s Selfie Moment Exposes An Unresolved Problem

More from Ranjana Das

It was almost the middle of the night and the WhatsApp college group blinked to life. A video popped up from an old college friend with a few trailing wicked messages and emoticons. The video (a fake one) featured two of Bengal’s youngest MPs from the Trinamool Congress (Nusrat and Mimi), who are also well known actresses in Tollywood. The remarks that followed ranged from “MPs will find more entertainment in the Parliament now” to “indecent sartorial sense of the actresses who seem to be not serious about politics and representing people”.

Very few in the group went ahead and expressed their concern that India’s democracy is under threat with such frivolous representation. As I read through the messages, I saw only midnight slurs rejuvenating the vigour that went down post the prolonged election phase.

The 2019 election in India saw changes on the gender front, both happy and sad. From a rising number of women in Parliament (78 in 2019 from 62 in 2014) to women voters outnumbering men in 13 states and Union Territories to misogynistic attacks (Atishi Marlena’s breakdown after the distribution of pamphlets with sexist remarks). Mimi and Nusrat’s entry to Indian Parliament added to this. Especially after they had been ‘audacious’ enough to take selfies in front of the Parliament building. That moment was seen as ‘the end of India’s democracy’, which, by the way, has until now been upheld by chair throwing, screaming, and howling sessions, all adjourned without any decision on policy issues. What mattered most to my friends was their sartorial sense linking with their fuzzy understanding of politics. What they forgot was that the screaming sessions are all lead by the ones in ‘proper’ white kurta-pyjamas and jackets.

Nusrat won by a margin of nearly 3.50 lakh votes, and Mimi by roughly 2.95 lakh votes. Few said that they were only given party tickets to pull votes. Now, had that been the case, then the winning parties trump card would have emptied Bollywood by now.

No one seemed to notice that Mimi and Nusrat are two amongst the five youngest MPs, including Chandrani Murmu, Tejasvi Surya and Raksha Khadse, who made it to the Lok Sabha. The reactions were nothing but an extension of society’s sexist mindset reserved for young women with political rights and aspiration (even though people always complain that Parliament is full of oldies!).

To many, their selfie-taking moment ‘kick-started’ their political careers. I believe one must follow them sincerely and see how they bring young energy into political spaces. However, it is a well-known fact by now that women around the world have always been made obvious targets by their male counterparts—regardless of how conventionally they dress or how innovatively they think.

While my fellow friends are anticipating ‘entertainment for the MPs’ with Mimi and Nusrat’s entry, the man in charge of the United States actually feels it is OK to grab a woman by her private parts. It’s no wonder that people are lining up to troll Mimi and Nusrat.

I remained silent during the whole WhatsApp conversation, and I deeply regret it now. I will be following Mimi and Nusrat as they represent us in the parliament. This country has bigger problems to deal with such as large-scale violence against women (and the NCRB data says it all).

While sexists continue to prey on Mimi and Nusrat, millions of women and girls in this country are enduring Indian patriarchy, of which sexism is a derivative. Let them break the dress code (if there is one undeclared one) but let them also raise every Indian woman and girl’s demand for a life free of violence. Let them break the norm by taking a selfie in front of Parliament, but also challenge the norms that perpetuate this violence.

If we have to bear with the white kurta-pyjama MPs and their sleeping and howling sessions, it is now time to watch young women Parliamentarians stomp their stilettos, flaunt their skirts, and fiercely make their points. Whether they come from the winning party or the opposition, I welcome them and remain ready to engage with them.

After all, we must not forget the unapologetic quote: “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want…” and the girls who dared to say “Papa don’t preach”.

You must be to comment.
  1. YourSelf Quotes

    Is it possible for someone to believe in me more than I can believe in myself? That maybe you never have to worry about not being enough because to them, you hold the stars in your eyes. They make it seem silly to doubt ourselves because they never did.

    Dad can do that. From an early age, I always thought that Dad was unstoppable. There was no trail he could not explore, no puzzle that could not be solved, no jar he could not open. Dad was tall and strong; he protected the world he loved and kept it safe from harm.

More from Ranjana Das

Similar Posts

By pratyush prashant

By Ridhima Manocha

By Ishaan Bansal

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