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Delhites, Ahead Of Election Day, Here’s An Exclusive Letter From Your City, Delhi!

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Hello everyone! Eligible and planning to be a part of the festival of democracy. Your city, Delhi, writes you an exclusive letter ahead of the election day on 8th February. Sharing facts and a lot of her sentiments, this is her Dil ki Baat straight from the heart. Read on!

To all my lovely people,

Politics. Propaganda. Protests. Power. These 4Ps summarize my current state in your democratic setup. And you thought 4Ps only existed in the famous marketing mix model. Well, a lot of song and dance is happening on my streets. And why not? It is the election frenzy, witnessed precisely every five years. Unlike your other festivals, this one at least gets those who aspire to warm up one of my 70 assembly seats to meet, greet, plead, as well as entertain you through various ways and means.

Just heard that yesterday, some of you relished gur and moong phali ki patti. Not to mention the other goodies and the golden promises which have come your way in the past few days. Don’t get astonished; my eyes and ears are everywhere! Enjoy till it lasts because most of these people will not show their faces again, whether elected or dejected. You see, this is how politics is scripted in our country.

Amidst political blame-games, Delhi’s AQI soaring new levels of toxicity.

Let me share with you an irony. I have no lack of workforce and people who can make me look and feel better. A Union Territory, officially known as the National Capital Territory of (NCT), I am adorned with a 70-member assembly and a lieutenant governor. And if that wasn’t enough, the nation’s supreme ministers (The Prime and The Home) still hold my reins for many issues and terrains! Privileged and special one may think, but I am a case of a confused identity with accountability going to nil!

A case in point: My Right to Breathe! How amidst AQI soaring new levels of toxicity last year, the political apathy towards me dropped abysmally low. I feel nostalgic. Things weren’t this bad always. Once upon a time, I had everything. I was irresistible and beautiful, full of life with freshness in air and water. I embraced everyone who needed me. But in return, I got neglect and apathy. When my neighbouring cousins burnt stubble, I bore the brunt while everyone in the leadership played their favourite game of passing the buck—even the weather Gods weren’t spared! But only Indra, the rain God helped.

It has been the season of protests for me. From Jantar Mantar at my centre to JNU in the southwest, Seelampur in East and Jamia to Shaheen Bagh in the southeast. I have witnessed some unforeseen levels this term. Women, youth, children and men all have been at the forefront of several pluralistic protests—all rightful, peaceful and non-violent. But the recent shooting incidents have left me scarred. I am still recovering from what happened last week in my circumference. I feel sad; I am in tears.

Home Minister Amit Shah said that voting for BJP in Delhi election will prevent Shaheen Bagh-like protests.

Who should I blame? There is already enough blame-game everywhere. The commerce minister, instead of being involved in budget discussions, spews venom, uses hateful jingles to brainwash the people. The one in charge of the Home asks you to press the vote button hard enough that shivers go down the veins of silent protestors braving the chilly and stormy weather.

Instead of putting their brains into writing thoughtful manifestos and speaking about development, it is hate and negativity being thrown all around in the name of elections. And the worst is calling it an election between those who belong to India and others from Pakistan. Phew! Such propaganda mired with the divisive hues of political rhetoric.

My responsible people, well, all isn’t lost. I still feel hopeful and positive. I have seen unprecedented development in education and health in the last few years. My heart swells with pride when I see the fundamental right of my children being respected with better schools, facilities and curriculum. They are learning and weaving beautiful and vivid dreams. My sister states are enquiring and are desperate to implement the model with their children. There is a focus on health and good governance, safety and respect for women.

A lot has been done and needs momentum to reach new heights and greater scale. I know you are intelligent and discreet. You will use your good sense of judgement. Vote for my true essence, remember what you say, ‘Delhi dilliwallon ki hai’. There should be no place for the hate mongers, for anyone with selfish agenda, trying to create fissures amongst you for any reason.

With rights come duties. How I wish I could handhold you and show you the light. Vote you must, but not on the communal dimension but with the agenda of development. Inspect manifestos, hold those you vote accountable, don’t forget your rights, including the Right To Information, question and seek answers, and yes, show anger and protest for the cause in a rightful manner. Isn’t that the spirit of democracy?

Wishing us the very best. Hoping to meet you again on the other side of the elections!

Signing off,

Yours, Delhi.

Featured image only for representation. Source: Getty
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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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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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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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