Here’s Why Adnan Sami Blocked Me On Twitter

Recently, I had the privilege of being blocked on Twitter by a celebrity named Adnan Sami. I have grown up listening to his numbers, and love him as an artist. But, the reason why I was blocked had more to do with my comments on his profile, questioning his interference in our country matters.

I was still getting to terms with the fact that he had been given a Padma Shri just because he spoke highly of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, since I did not see any other contribution he has made to the country, not even as an artist. While this was difficult to digest already, Indigo airlines banned Kunal Kamra for questioning an indecent journalist named Arnab Goswamy, who abuses his right to speech every night on television. As if this was not enough, four more airlines followed suit.

I was trying to oppose the airlines’ ban on Kunal Kamra, since it raised a question on the very existence of our rights as citizens. It hurt more because no such ban had been put on ‘the so-called’ Sadhvi Pragya for all her misbehaviour on airplanes. It was not about Kunal Kamra being banned, but about the abuse of power by media and the politicians (collectively), and against the democratic right to question those in power.

Adnan Sami, in one of his tweets, wrote the term “joker”, targetting Kunal Kamra, and I replied against it, saying that he, “the joker”, happens to be the face of Indians who want to look forward in life and not sit here thinking about history.

The real story began after this, when all the male Bhakts – nameless, profile-picture-less – appeared to “Twitter lynch”. One of the reasons was because I favoured a stand-up comedian who, I think, didn’t do anything wrong. Secondly, I spoke against Adnan Sami who bottom licks his favourite leader. Thirdly, I think I got attacked on Twitter because they are abusive Indian men who use the social media platform to vent out the frustration of their lives by targetting those they consider weak or who go against their opinions.

As the situation heated up, I simply denied to reply on Adnan Sami’s tweet. This was because his family hails from Pakistan, and I cannot let him have fun with our inner “family” disputes, just because he has a guest room in my house. This, in my view, became the reason why I got blocked by him. He was offended, and rightly so.

But, what about me being offended by the system, the way things are being handled, and the way our politicians are playing a two-faced game? The same party that has always used Pakistan as an agenda and has tried to divide-and-rule the country on the basis of religion, suddenly decides to give a Padma Shri to a singer from Pakistan, whose father was anti-India, simply because he bottom licks unfailingly, while so many people who are genuinely working for the betterment of the nation go unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unobserved, all because they choose to be selfless givers to the country.

I am personally the last person on Earth to believe in borders, for my spiritual understanding teaches me that God is one and spiritual beings can’t be bounded by borders. But seeing this fact being abused is saddening and infuriating. And as for Sami, he must not forget that when the circus shuts down, “the jokers” would remain inside, while the viewers who come from the outside to laugh at “the jokers” will be the ones who’d be asked to leave.

A comedian is doing a nice job for he is at least bringing smiles on the faces of those watching him. Do you know who the real jokers are — the blind followers of leaders who, without a hint of conscience, blindly applaud at everything their masters say. The real jokers are also the taxpayers who work day and night to pay taxes and still never get a Padma Shri, and people like you and me who voice their opinions, but are hushed under the carpet with distractions.

This is a country of jokers – all different shapes, sizes, and mindsets, and that is why this country has been subject to abuse since time immemorial. And even today, intruders continue to come, get citizenship, and also be awarded a Padma Shri for pleasing those in power. If we were not a country of jokers, our kindness wouldn’t have been sabotaged by the world.

I rest my pen, for I have nothing more to write, except that don’t harm the people of your own country to fulfill the agendas of those unworthy of the power.

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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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