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Covid-19: The Unimaginable Threat To Democracies

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Even when the entire world is desperately struggling to make ends meet and not die in the whole process, there’s one place on Earth which previously was the epicenter of the coronavirus and is now on it’s way to becoming the epicenter of a different kind of disease known to mankind; originating from the time when the Europeans got bored of just swimming and brought out their radios instead yes, you got it right, the drop-dead gorgeous pool parties.

Now everybody knows that the US is the worst-hit country in terms of Covid-19 patients turnover and unfortunately the fatality ratio is also the highest there when compared to the rest of the World. It is no secret that other countries have been badly hurt too because of the pandemic but in spite of this, the US can still be said to be faring well because of the fact that at least the numbers are being reported accurately unlike many other Democracies or Communist & Authoritative regimes where the numbers are being manipulated to showcase a false sense of control. It got me thinking about some strange happenings recently, things so simple yet disturbing enough that it could turn catastrophic leaving teachings of the last several centuries to rot & to waste.

The Question’s:

  • Why is it that the US Citizens, both students & working class aren’t following the social distancing norms when they’re the most severely hit by this pandemic in the whole World?
  • Why is it that the US Citizens are still acting so childishly in 2020? How come they’ve lost their minds to such an extent that they can’t concentrate hard and long enough to find solutions to the problem of the pandemic at hand?
  • What is the thought process behind this so-called “My Freedom to Choose what I do or do not” when the lives of others are at stake?

The Senselessness:

  • It’s one thing to not be informed or rather to not be made aware of the destruction being caused (both human & capital) due to the external environment with variables ranging from politics to suppression of socio-economic unrest amongst the people but it’s an entirely different thing to fail to acknowledge the gravity of the devastations in spite of the availability of abundant credible sources providing factually correct information which are as freely accessible as possible. How can one reconcile this to the fact that citizens are still taking their voices to the streets and putting their lives on the line for one word “FREEDOM”.

The US even after reporting the most no. of cases and having officially the highest death rate in the entire world, isn’t able to convey to its citizens the grimness of the situation or better yet the citizens even after understanding the nitty-gritty of it all, choose instead to fight for their rights in such a manner because they understand the true worth of being free.

  • I wasn’t able to put the two pieces together until yesterday. Yes, until yesterday it all made absolutely no sense to me.


health officials in ppe
Representational image.

The Motive

  • If you look closely at countries like North Korea and China, where absolute authority rests in the hands of the Government/ Dictatorship  in today’s time as well, it’s easy to say, without any reservations, that it is not  tough to do the following two acts:
  • Suppressing the facts and information regarding distressing situations in all spheres i.e. social, economic, or political.

Moulding the thought process of citizens to accept the idea that their notions of freedom, liberty  & equality and preaching & practice of such notions are only detrimental and hazardous to their own present and future.

  • And in Countries like Russia, Iran, and India where absolute authority exists but with camouflage or under a veil; where silently, secretly and stealthily, it has been the mission of the likes of Putin, Ali Khamenei, or Narendra Modi to educate and manipulate their people in a way to make sure that the people have no option but to question their own democratic thinking constantly, where it’s made so ridiculous to have ideals except the ones that align with those in power or an individual thought process which is independent of influences from other ways of thinking, where it is being made a silent crime to think about oneself and one’s own rights without announcing first that the thought process was initiated from the care & love for the State; it becomes necessary for them to engage in the above two mentioned activities of suppression and manipulation in consonance with each other constantly so as to ensure that their grip on the minds of their Citizens is absolute and unyielding.
  • When one of the above is done without taking into account the other, the result comes out to be a simple case of spreading paranoia amongst the public and people are smart enough to see through this. They’re able to differentiate because either they’re being lied to or they’re being told that they’re wrong in their thinking. Single-handedly they both work in the favour of the people since true sources of information still exist.  This mechanism to constantly reconcile truth to the lies being touted causes a paradigm shift to take place where the citizens start to depend more and more on the State for both information and resources.
  • Such thinking is then emboldened and encouraged by constant reinforcement of lies, falsification & manipulation of facts, and widespread propagandism & fear of accepting the notions that well-being of the State must take precedence before those of the Individuals or else the State will fall, taking its Citizens along with it. This reinforcement of constant fear that falling down is inevitable serves the same purpose as in the tale of “Humpty Dumpty”, where it is easy to mark individuals as traitors for seeking the truth.
  • The level of knowledge and faith of the free citizens starts to sharply fall because they are being barred from accessing the truth in the present times. Sabotaging and obscuring the present capabilities of the citizens, breaking the morale and support by weakening them financially and thereby ultimately leading to tearing away the spirit of the person whose only desire was to be able to live in a just and kind world peacefully. He/ She is unable to strike a light within oneself and fail to realize that no Democracy has ever fallen in the past because its citizens thought of their well being first in union with a  vision of not hurting their country or the World order. Democracy was introduced on the same thought process and it has flourished into this beautiful bouquet of flowers where each flower can blossom without hurting the other because it was nurtured with care, care being educating the citizens to think about their well-being themselves, to love & respect his/ her fellow Countrymen and to do it all without hurting or violating the sentiments of everybody else with whom one shares a constitutional bond.
  • When a person thinks about advancing himself/herself without hurting or blocking the path of growth for others around him/ her, it ultimately leads to the growth and prosperity of the Democracy and the Republic. For the men who are greedy for power, fame, or riches, for the ones who are addicted to rule the lives of others, it’s exactly this notion that has to be destroyed entirely and all those who spread such notions are to be destroyed therewith for the Dictatorship to be installed successfully and effectively.
  • The idea of being a unique individual in a unique Democracy along with other unique individuals in a diverse Republic is the idea that needs to be erased completely. 

The Shaping of the Thought:

  • The understanding that our fellow Countryman is as much of a patriot as one imagines oneself to be and the belief that their fellow beings do not claim superiority over ourselves any more than we claim superiority over them is to be completely taken off, both root and stem.

The main motive in simpler terms is to plant the seed for an idea, an idea that shall guide the people’s way to a subservient and obsequious manner of surviving. Where the citizens give up control of their lives because they’re made to believe and convinced that they can only take the worst decisions for themselves and they must let others (the Head of State/ Dictator)  take all the important decisions for them. To put it simply, to voluntarily surrender their freedom once and for all.

  • Now as I said I just understood something yesterday which translated into something meaningful today. The mystical case of Wuhan, which was once the origin and epicenter of Covid-19 that shook the world unlike anything in decades or maybe even centuries.
  • Yesterday news outlets globally showcased images of spectacular pool parties in Wuhan which took place on 15-August-2020 exactly six months (6 Months) since news broke of the deadly virus in  Feb’2020 in Wuhan.


A pool party in Wuhan

The Thought Train:

  • It is a question worth asking that if China was really concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the World, why was such a preposterous and irresponsible event even allowed to take place? If the goal of China was not to mock the World, what other goal could China possibly achieve by releasing such information for all to bear in these most troubling times?
  • China isn’t the UK or Finland or Norway or the US, where there aren’t any restrictions on the flow of information. Rather China is China, China tells the World what it wants to tell no matter who covers the news territoriality.
  • Then Why? Only to mock the World? No, China has always been a strategic Nation, China was never a random kid on the block. China is the Bully who has reasons for its every move.
  • To theorize, it seems that China wanted to showcase to the World and its inhabitants outside China that Authoritarianism is the best way forward in life. It is to reinforce the notion listed above where people will be forced to willingly accept  misinformation and manipulations where if only they had not accepted freedom in the first place and instead had surrendered their lives to be ruled by their Heads of State/ Dictatorships, those Messiah’s would have done and will do their best to improve the lives of the citizens and only those Messiahs are capable of making the right decisions

Uncertain and Questionable Conclusion:

  • The reasonableness could well be put under the scanner and the premises could be questioned. But what cannot be refuted is the fact that Democracy for most of the World’s Population isn’t even centuries-old yet. It must not be forgotten by this generation that there were men in the past as well who abused the powers bestowed upon them and went on to take control of their own states because the power, impulse, and greed to rule over everybody and everything is so irresistible that even the virtuous men fell prey to such impostors. The free men and women should rise up for a  Free Society, a Free Nation, and a Free World to truly honour those who died to give the World the word Freedom which they never enjoyed while alive but only in Death through their loved ones. Free from all Domination shall be the motto of this Decade.

Thank You!

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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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