Is India Truly The Land Of ‘Ahimsa’ Today?

The history of India makes us proud of its rich culture and teachings. If we read our ancient texts, then we will get to know that ‘Ahimsa” is a very old concept and it has evolved. The main weapons of Mahatma Gandhi, i.e., Satyagraha and Ahmihsa, have their roots in our ancient texts.

The doctrine of non-violence and truth has been explained in Upnishads. The non-violence explained in Chandogya Upanishad verse 3.14.4. Yogasutra of Patanjali describes five rules which include Ahimsa. The beauty of ‘Ahimsa’ is further described in Valmiki’s Ramayana and Ramchaitmanas of Tulsidas, even in Mahabharata, Ahimsa is described as the highest duty. Also, Bhagwad Gita teaches ‘Ahimsa’, even Jainism and Buddhism teach ‘Ahimsa’.

All these references are very important if we see the hypocrisy of the present society. Today, right-wing people talk about our history, culture, religion and safety, but they never follow what has been described in all our ancient texts.

Right-wingers glorify the one who killed Mahatma Gandhi; they talk about nationalism and culture, but the truth is that they are the ones who are destroying the basic feature of our culture, and they have no clue about our past. Their leaders have kept them in the dark, otherwise, how will they participate in violent acts, riots, mob lynching and all sorts of crimes?

No text has ever preached mob lynching, untouchability, communalism and spreading hatred, but it is what most of the right-wingers and other people are following. Mahatma Gandhi used Ahimsa as a weapon against the British Raj to unite people; it is also a proven fact that violent tactics have always failed, but Satyagraha has always won.

Unfortunately, in the current scenario, people who criticize Gandhi have no idea about our culture and history. They call Gandhi a weak leader and support Nathu Ram Godse, who himself was so weak that he killed Gandhi.

On the other hand, Gandhi was so strong that he called off the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 when Chauri Chara incidence took place, where 22 policemen died because of the attack of the protesters. Gandhi knew that by withdrawing at that moment, he would attract criticism, but he thought about the people at large and waited to educate them about the power of non-violent protest.
In recent years, it has become a fashion to criticize the ideas of Gandhi without reading even a single book about him.

No doubt that India was a land of Ahimsa, but for political gains and vote bank, history is being twisted, and the youth considers it a very cool thing to reject the teachings of Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi had rightly said that Ahimsa is meant for the brave and never the cowardly. And, unfortunately, in today’s world, we have more cowards—such levels of a coward that when an elected Member of Parliament repeatedly praises Gandhi’s killer, then the iron man of our Parliament remains silent.

It is the compulsion of the right-wing leaders to ignore our glorious history which taught even the Mahatma about Satyagraha. Gandhi followed the teaching of Vedas that non-violence and truth are the two components for the greatest good of all. Though Mahatma Gandhi was killed on 30th January 1948, we are killing his ideas daily, and if we follow the path shown by him, then he will live forever through his ideas.

If we love our country and call its history glorious, then we should read the ancient texts and understand that we have been advised to follow Ahimsa, not violence. If someone wants to protect our culture, then he should support the Satyagrah, Ahimsa, all the non-violent protests, freedom of expression, secularism and equality to all religions and gender.

After reading Mahatma Gandhi’s principles or text of any religion, one will understand that other than their politically motivated leaders, no one has ever supported violence and hatred, and our history teaches us brotherhood, not hate-mongering.

So, no doubt that the history of India teaches us about Ahimsa, but unfortunately, in the present situation, we need to fight to teach the right history to regain Ahimsa, a non- violent fight!

Similar Posts

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