This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Mumtaz Rehman. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Will Democracy Survive The 2020 Media Culture?

More from Mumtaz Rehman

When people trust each other and distrust their politicians, they get a democracy. When people distrust each other and trust their supreme leader you get fascism.

The question is how do you express your needs to the people for whom you voted; the people on whom you trusted because of the big promises that they made during the time of elections. In India, elections are nothing more than a festival celebrated by the mobs, paid journalists and the candidates who are backed up with confidence gained due to muscle power, poor sense of knowledge amongst people related to elections and corruption.

During this time the media also very much seems to enjoy the money spent on decoration, garlands, loudspeakers and sweets, more like a scenario when a warrior used to come back home by defeating the enemy.

Arnab, Mujhe Drugs Do
The editor-in-chief of a media house dramatically and disgustingly enacting a scene/ Credits: TabloidXO

The purpose of representatives has never been on how well they can formulate policies. It has always been about power politics, aggression and defaming candidates of other parties. Most of the time what is important is completely sidelined such as education, health, human rights and basic living that every individual deserves in this country.

Democracy, based on a fundamental principle of political equality, has come down to a mere game where there’s more focus on who will win and lose completely diverting themselves from one job that they have been assigned: serve the fellow citizens of their country. Our constitution makers might have never thought that free competition in elections would end by inviting criminals and rapists in the parliament.

Journalist Ravish Kumar said चार दिन मे हवा बदल जाएगी अगर मीडिया अपना बुनियादी काम करने लगे। The work of journalists is showing the reality to the world. The reality of how well those people are working, those same people who came to ask for votes during elections but can be seen nowhere. A journalist’s true job is to ask questions, ask questions to the people who have been assigned the title representatives because they were supposed to represent the demands of the citizens of this country.

India ranks 4th in the number of billionaires but is also among the five countries that accommodate half of the world’s poor. Under Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) a central government scheme, members of parliament both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha get rupees 5 crores every year for their respective constituencies so that they can spend that money on for example construction of roads, bus stands or delivery of better types of equipment in hospitals, schools etc. However, the already persisting corruption amongst the respective local authorities leaves nothing for the common citizen.

Bihar in the time of Corona and Floods
Bihar in the time of Corona and Floods

The states like Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Mumbai were severely affected by floods and our media houses couldn’t be bothered to flood their channels with this news. The problems of food scarcity and the houses that got washed away, crops being destroyed were not given much coverage on the so-called national channels. The promises made by the authorities that community kitchens will run for a period of time were not fulfilled, students who were already facing the problem of studying online lost connections, their books and other belongings to the flood.

The level of power and enthusiasm the media had put during Sushant Singh Rajput’s case, proved their double standards when the same media houses had put headlines such as “Aise Kaise ‘hit-wicket’ ho Gaye Sushant?” or “Patna ka Sushant Mumbai mein fail kyu?” (Why did Patna’s Sushant fail in Mumbai?).

There is no discussion about migrant workers, neither the doctors who are fighting at the forefront for us nor the students who are having mental stress. There is no coverage of the protest by Haryana farmers against three farm ordinances of the centre in which the farmers allege that in the name of reforms, the government is planning to discontinue the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime.

The purpose of the government looks very evident that they want to hide how badly they failed in serving the citizens and so they have the media as a helping hand working well to fool all of us.

The questions that need to be asked are very simple. We can’t learn without proper education therefore we should raise our voice for equality learning. We can’t feed ourselves without jobs, hence raise your voice for job opportunities, scholarships and distance yourself from debates on communal hatred. Talk about the benefits of all. Preach human rights and teach the others around you as well, one is not supposed to push somebody and take away their place rather you are supposed to hold hands together and move forward.

The current situation of democracy and media has put our country in the list of flawed democracy. And this is the time when reading and understanding the right thing shouldn’t stop. The scenario has come down to morality, whether you want to see someone being defamed publicly as a way to hide the real issues or you want to highlight the actual problems of people’s suffering.

Your genuine concern regarding matters such as the growth of every sector, no discrimination on whatsoever grounds and focus on basic livelihood of every individual should be on the top and far away from the things such as appreciating the photoshoot of our honourable prime minister and how he eats mangoes. The fight is regarding rightly having what belongs to you.

Featured Image Source: Gulf News
You must be to comment.

More from Mumtaz Rehman

Similar Posts

By Saumya Rastogi

By Anish Bachchan

By Sarwani Priya

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below