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Favoritism: Omnipresent As The Competition Itself

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I was a fairly good student in school, or so I believed. I was good at academics and used to take part in a few extempore and debate competitions. 

However, I never took part in sports or social service activities like NCC, etc. Neither did I go on picnics or stayed late for tournaments or any such stuff. 

But still, I and a few other girls like me who used to put all our efforts into studying and keeping our teachers happy were preferred over other students and teachers favourites. 

We were chosen for all the activities that could highlight us and bring a good name to the school. 

Understandably, I never realized that all was not good. I remember one of the students once blamed our class teacher of favouritism when I was picked for an off-site plantation camp. 

I was furious; how could she do that? After all, I was a topper and the teacher’s favourite. But now that I think about it, I realize she was right. 

It was a plantation camp and not a science exhibition in the rival school that the school would want my academic expertise. She should have been picked instead, maybe. 

Years later, in the wake of outcry around favoritism, I can understand the anger she might have felt and feel really sorry about it. 

But what is it really? Take a look around. Before the Indian sub-continent became democratic, lots of kings and queens ruled the country merely on the pretext of their inheritance. Nobody questioned if they were capable to rule an entire kingdom, as it was understood that a prince succeeds a king on the throne and a cobbler’s son succeeds him in a shoe shop. Naturally, nepotism is not new. 

However, while today we feel proud to say that India is the biggest democratic country in the world, not much has changed. Though the leaders are elected by the people, a few still enjoy the power of inheritance, taking over the parent’s reign in the party, getting a ticket to ambassadors and bodyguards. 

The Gandhi family is a classic example. Unfortunately, it’s not limited to politics. Many other industries too, particularly entertainment, is being defamed of being caught in the trap of favouritism. 

Bollywood has never been alien to nepotism, courtesy Karan Johar and Salman Khan who introduced a number of star kids in the industry. 

However, it was widely discussed and talked about again after the suicide of talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput. He was one of the most loved young actors in the industry, wooing us with his stellar performance and charming smile. 

Therefore, when there was news of him committing suicide as a result of prevailing nepotism in the industry, all hell broke loose. 

The audience and his fans went crazy to the extent of filing a case on star kids for existing in Bollywood. 

On the top of this, before this fire could die down, senior singers from the music industry also came in support and against the debate. 

While these issues are being brought up again to the forefront, the question arises about our role as an audience in this whole scenario. While the stalwarts of the industry are voicing their opinions against favouritism and nepotism, what duties and responsibilities do we have? 

Some suggest that we should stop watching movies of star kids and stop listening to artists who have climbed the ladders of success easily owing to their lineage. 

However, this does not seem the right approach. From the time the entertainment industry (read soap operas, movies and songs) has been polluted with remakes, nonsensical stories and exaggeration of facts and emotions, the responsibilities of the audience for its survival has been constantly highlighted. 

While the onus is on the creators to give us good content, it’s on us to not let them serve us trash. I feel the same goes with nepotism as well. While we can’t stop non-talented star kids from getting a pompous launch, we can surely stop them from wasting our time and money by not watching their movies. 

While it’s necessary to tolerate only good content and shun all garbage being conveniently served to us in the form of baseless storylines, skin shows, plastic expressions and painful songs, it’s our duty to appreciate true art. 

While you can choose to watch the movies of actors who are from “non-actor” families and are talented, it’s equally justified if you support star kids when they serve you good content. It’s not their mistake that they are privileged, but instead it’s our fault that we give them an undue advantage. 

If you’re going to watch Sonchiriya you should give Raazi a chance too. 

Let’s respect the art if not the artist. Let’s pave the way for the world of good content irrespective of who it comes through.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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