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How Busy Are You To Forget Politics Around You?

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We are too busy with our lives, aren’t we? That’s what I realised while I was busy. Yeah! “Busy”. I like to write about current affairs, and share my views on my social media walls. But, I have a bad habit; if I put my heart into some work that I’m passionate about, I forget what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in my city, and at times, I even forget about what’s going on in my own family. Balance is somewhat missing from our lives, that if we are involved in some work, we forget about others. What exactly is the key to politics that  manipulates you with whatever it wants?

Now, turning towards politics from our closed lives, we need to be aware about everything. We need to find out what is correct in this scenario of a world with ‘information overload.’ Every time, there is a new edition. You are either too informed, or misinformed. The same goes for the CAA protests in favor of, or against. Many people from both sides don’t know what it is actually about, and what they are supporting or opposing. But, this is the time when most of us feel like taking a stand. Of course, our Constitution cannot have a law that discriminates among people on the basis of their religion. And whatever the reason is, anti-CAA protests are going with the right flow of peaceful protests.

This is the time when Delhi has become the  center of national politics. Not just because of the ongoing Shaheen Bagh protests, but also because Delhi will have its assembly elections on 8th February 2020, where Delhiites will decide whether they liked the governance of  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal or not. 

Each party is putting all their efforts to win in Delhi. Everyone has their own ways. From taking suggestions from Delhiites for a manifesto, to blaming each other for problems that are still unsolved; the election has become a wrestling ring.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal chose to knock the doors of Delhiites before entering their homes to talk about what all he has done during his tenure. In this innovative online video campaign, you can see the Delhi CM ringing the bell before and asking for permission to enter your homes. One has to tap on “Welcome”, then, in the next step, he can be seen drinking water and asking about which of his works you want to know about. You need to tap on one of these: water, women’s safety, transport, education, etc.

On the other hand, while the Congress is trying to build its space in Delhi, this time by blaming both AAP and BJP for  cheating Delhi, the BJP has its firebrand leaders in Delhi, who have been putting their heart in Delhi to win the national capital. BJP star campaigner Anurag Thakur created controversy when, in one of his election rallies, he said, “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro salon ko (Shoot the traitors)”. This was taken up literally by somebody just a few hours later, when protestors at Jamia had formed a human chain. A person named Ram Bhagat Gopal Sharma fired at the protestors, injuring a student. Delhi Police did its duty just like it did when JNU students were being beaten up by masked goons inside the JNU Campus. Yes! The police just watched, folding their  hands, when this violent act took place.

Well, law and judiciary are there to decide who is a ‘traitor’, and to punish them as well. But, this instigation is leading to violence. To increase their votes, some politicians are promising to ‘save’ you from anti-CAA protests, and alleging that the women of Shaheen Bagh have been  taking money to protest, and that they are working  in shifts.

Here, one more thing is important: a politician called this Delhi election an “India vs Pakistan war”. Everyone is aware of the implications of the CAA, and everyone knows what’s going on alongside. Let’s not forget that it’s the demand of a “Hindu Rashtra“. Do you remember what our former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said? “If India is not secular, then India is not India at all.

Hoping that we all remember the essence of our Constitution, let’s come back to my apolitical approach. We all are so busy that we tend to agree with whatever we hear. We don’t feel like taking the pain of fact-checking on our own. We believe our politicians are historians and they have the knowledge of all our ancient history. You will be made to prove your citizenship by those who came to your door to ask for votes, forgetting the increasing rate of unemployment and poverty, a decreasing economic growth, and the fee hike in educational institutions. 

Again… taxpayers have never been told about whose money is being spent where. So, the debate of University students living in a hostel on your money is baseless, no? You need to be more worried about your needs, education, health, employment and good-quality roads.

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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, 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.

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