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A Tribute To Mothers Everywhere: Kyu Nahi, Maa, Saari Duniya Teri Tarah?

माँ-बेटी
Mother-daughter

“Ungli pakad ke phir se sikha de; godi utha le na maa; aanchal se mera munh ponchh de na; maila saa laage jahaan”

Song from Neerja, a Bollywood flick which makes my heart sink, and the question remains:

“Kyu Nahi Maa Saari Duniya Teri Tarah?”

Being a mom is like no other job in the world, trust me! No other, and her job is never done. Unlike a monotonous 8-to-5 job, motherhood is a “career” often motivated by pure unconditional love, while she is always under-appreciated.

Let’s appreciate ten things all Indian Moms have in common:

1. Putting on “Kaala tika” no matter how big you are—“Mere bache ko nazar na lage!” with a tinge of sparkle in her eyes!

2. Dahi-shakkar kha le beta”—exams se pehle, interview se pehle—she runs behind you to lick that dahi shakkar ka spoon!

3. “Ungli Pakad ke chalna sikhati hai”—no matter how many times you fall, she will always reach out to pick you up and inspire you!

“Mujhko shikaayat karni hai sabki; mujhko sataate hain maa; ab tu chhupa le, paas bula le, mann hai akela yahaan”

4. “Khaana Khaya“—the moment you enter home, she will ask, khana khaya? Subh se kuch nahi Khaya tiffin waise hi hai. “Aja parathe bana du!

5. Bina mange hi sab de dena—if you are sleeping; she knows if you are feeling cold, and if you sneeze, bina bataye guess kar lena—Kal ice cream khai hogi!

6. No matter how big you grow up, even if you are CEO of some company—you are always her baccha.Kaise kapde pehne hai, kaise baal ho rahe hai. Jhalli lag rahi hai.

7. First word that comes out when your hurt is—Ah! Mumma, Mom, Maa because she always protected you no matter what. She is like that anti-virus of your laptop, she is that dettol of your dirty hands—always safeguarding you. This reminds me of, duniya se lad jaane wali Maa:

“Heera kaha, kabhi nagina kaha; mujhe kyun aise paala tha maa

teri nazar se mujhe dekhe na jahaan; duniya ko to daantegi na, daantegi na, maa.”

8. If you’re in trouble, she is worried, doing prayers for you, keeping fast for your well being. Apki tarakki ke liye din raat dua mangne wali Maa:

“Aankhein dikhaye mujhe jab zindagi; yaad mujhe aati hai tere gusse ki

Daanta bhi to tune mujhe, phoolon ki tarah; kyun nahi maa saari duniya teri tarah.”

9. Aachi! Zara jukam hua nahi ki adrak ki chai kaada sab bana deti hai bina bole—Soup kyu nahi piti ye ladki”,

zara fever aya nahi raat bhar patti badalti rahegi!

10. Wo rok-tok karne wali Maa

Der se utho to, “Kya time hai ye uthne ka?”

Late ao, “Kya time hai ye ghar ane ka ?”

Late ho Gaye, “Ye ladki phone kyu nahi uthati hai ? “

Maa ka phone aya se leke Papa ki dant se bachane tak,

Kabhi usne bhi socha apni zindagi jine ka:

Naukri karni chahi to bacho ne rok diya;

For representational purpose.

Kuch ghar pe karna chaha logo ne tok diya, “Tum maa ho bacho ka waqt kyu chin rahi ho!”

Big shout out to moms who carry diapers in bag, for moms who show up at work with milk stains, for moms who cannot restrain tears from trickling down their cheeks when they hold their babies for the first time in their arms, for the mothers who yell at their kids who clamour for ice cream before dinner, for the mothers who defy all odds just to watch her kid perform and repeat to themselves, “That’s my child!!”, for the mothers who taught their children to tie the shoelaces even before they started going to school, for the mothers who incontinently turn their heads when they hear the word “Mom”, for all those mothers whose heart aches to watch her son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time!

Make Mothers Day happy for her by:

  1. Calling her daily/FaceTime her
  2. Listen to her—that’s all she wants
  3. Ek bar punch lo medicine li ki nahi
  4. Ek bar sirf puch lo ki pair me, dard to nahi
  5. Give her your time —- just your time!!

Now don’t waste a second and give her a first call right away.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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.

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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