Can We Deny The Fact That Many Indians Share The Govt’s Vision Of Hindu Rashtra?

While there’s a rising public display of dissent for CAA and Modi’s tactics, the fact cannot be denied that still there is major support for Modi’s vision.

The recent protests for Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the subsequent police brutality incited on college students in the name of “defence” has taken the country by storm. Out of all the policies of the ruling government, none has seen an uproar like this in the whole country. While there’s a rising public display of dissent for CAA and Modi’s tactics, the fact cannot be denied that still there is major support for Modi’s vision. Many people are still in support because they do believe in making India a Hindu Rashtra.

If the supporters are asked about their anxiety towards Indian-Muslims, you would always catch them quoting an incident that happened to them or their family members a long time back where they were humiliated, controlled or in someway denied their basic right by an orthodox Muslim. This incident, no matter how many decades old, is still the cause of infuriation in our parents and grandparents.

No wonder while we, the people who are contemplating every single thing happening today conclude that the implementation of the said act is not healthy, the CAA supporters have already decided that control is needed when there’s stubbornness. How else will they ensure that law and order prevails?!

We would not be surprised by this because we see people with this mindset everywhere. Seldom are there those who actually want to weigh facts, critically think and conclude. There is rage against Muslims—an internalised Islamophobia, and the BJP is banking on this rage for the fruition of their vision of making a Pakistan equivalent for Hindus.

We have been so deluded by hate and anger that everywhere we go, we can spot people with the same mindset as that of the Shah-Modi duo: the belief that ruthlessness is important to achieve massive and effective results; to sacrifice “a few to achieve greater good”—where the ‘few’ always refers to Muslims. To ensure minorities their safety, but not taking any action towards ensuring that safety.

These are the traits that our current government is adopting, and the populace is okay with that. Maybe they do want a Hindu nation. But what next? An extermination of all Muslims from our country? Well, history is proof that anyone achieving this massive ‘feat’ won’t stop at that. They will continue. It’s not about achieving an all-Hindu nation or freeing Bharat from Muslims, rather, it is the choosing of a way of life.

Out of all the policies of the ruling government, none has seen an uproar like this in the whole country.

Modi is showing his true colours; the only way of living he knows is of chaos. The 2002 Gujarat riots are one such example. The only way to create change, according to him is by changing the percentage in the diversity of the nation. The cost of change from the burning of our own states is deemed to be acceptable by the BJP when it comes to achieving a ‘greater good’.

The mentality of almost everyone is that ours was a Hindu nation. No one in the core has accepted that India was and is a secular nation. Someone who would have that acceptance wouldn’t show complete dismay towards maintaining secularism in the nation. There is still the notion that the resources and money are ours, and Muslims are eating up our share of resources and instead of being grateful, they are attacking us on a regular basis. The rise of Modi is seen as a ‘payback time’ for Muslims by the ‘Hindus’ of our nation. The CAA is just seen as one of the steps from the book of tactics to seek the ultimate revenge: revenge for taking advantage of the silence of Hindus.

Let’s try to look at the other side regardless of how hard it may seem.

We as Hindus, the ones intolerant towards Muslims, might have faced some incident in the past involving strife with Muslims. Rather than recognizing the fault in the person’s attitude, we end up blaming an entire religious sect. The same happens with the Muslims. In an isolated incident where they are belittled, they blame the entire sect rather than recognizing the person’s fault. All this leads to anger between both the religious sects.

The commoners weren’t part of anything in the past the rioting or the protesting. They didn’t riot, protest or lathi charge. They just possessed the mentality that “Hindus have been wronged for so long, and this should be corrected now”. And now, we have voted for a government that is making the ‘Hindu’ vision a reality.

And whom are they targeting? The Indian-Muslims and the residential Muslims? The ones like the commoners belonging to the working-class; they weren’t a part of anything. Rather than focusing on terrorism, it seems they are targeting the entire religious sect, which just proves BJP’s agenda of identifying Islam, as a religion of terror, and fear- and hate-mongering.

The need of the hour is to understand that people are not recognized by religion or choice of cultural sect, but rather by choosing a way of life. The middle-class families, who are working daily, just want peace whether they are Hindus or Muslims. If tomorrow, a terrorist attack is caused by a Hindu in some nation, would it be fair that we, who are just working hard enough for our families, are suddenly seen as someone who played a part in that terrorist attack? Will it be fair then to be deemed as a religion not worthy enough to be given refuge?

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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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