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This Is Bihar: Leaders Deceive People, Devour Their Trust For Breakfast

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There will be netas (leaders) flying from Raisina Hills to reside in Maurya Hotel, and to sell concocted promises to the people of Bihar saying they’ll make Patna, Darbhanga Siwan and others India’s Oslo Wellington and Auckland per se in the next 5 years. What could be done with such netas? Should they be sent backpacking? Or perhaps should they be asked to have a night stay in Ramsala before rallying in Dharbanga amid the locals to make them comprehend the gravity of hunger, poverty, unemployment, daily wagers issue, security threat?

Tough question, huh? But, THIS IS BIHAR.

Every voter knows their leaders are here to deceive them because deceit flows in their veins and they devour the trust of their voters for breakfast and defecate it at noon. There is barely any difference in the state of affairs between 2005 and 2020. May that be in GDP, Poverty Rate, Daily Wage crisis. In fact, poverty and unemployment have been at an all-time high.

Just to tranquil the anger of the voters, numerous equations have been formed.

There is JDU led CM Nitesh and BJP’s alliance, JDU has shaken hands with Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM and on the other hand, BJP has tied its knot with Mukesh Sahani’s VIP. BJP is clearing fielding VIP to inflict JDU indirectly by giving them 11 seats. Whereas JDU has given 7 seats to HAM to field their candidates against BJP. This happens to be the first equation.

Secondly, NDA ally LJP leader Chirag Paswan came out to be a rebellion against that very alliance on which BJP is banking upon in the state. Chirag Paswan has been calling out writ large Nitesh Kumar’s anti-incumbency. Interestingly, Chirag okay with Modi’s antics in order to promote NDA’s candidate Nitesh Kumar at the cost of LJP’s discredit and yet he would be Hanuman to the PM.

“I don’t need photos of PM Modi. He is in my heart. Much like Hanuman’s devotion for Ram, if you cut open my heart you will find only Modi-ji,” Chirag Paswan, 37, said.

Former Maharashtra CM Fadnavis is rallying in Bihar backing Nitesh Kumar, quoting that even if BJP happens to bag more seats than JDU, under those circumstances as well, Nitesh Kumar would be the CM. The Fadnavis who refused to share power with the oldest BJP ally Shiv Sena in Maharashtra which eventually cost them the state is now vouching for Nitesh Kumar.

Three of the oldest allies of BJP on the national front are Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, and JDU, where now, Akali and Sena have broken its ties with NDA, and JDU’s departure is inevitable by the end of 2020. Chirag has fielded his candidates exclusively against the JDU. The stage is set to dethrone to Nitesh.

But there is an existing alliance to dethrone Nitesh already led by INC RDJ CPI. They have their own equations where INC will be contesting on 70 seats prioritizing upper caste candidates. Then there is also a third front to counter NDA and UPA but largely it’s UPA led by Upendra Kushwaha and Mayawati, with the aid of Owaisi as well.

These 3 fronts are ready to lock horns in the battlefield of Bihar wrapped with deceit and chicanery, pleading voters and asking them to tip the scale in their favour. Nobody would know the bitter truth behind why Chirag would never shake hands with Tejashwi even if push comes to shove, nobody knows even though JDU understands VIP and LJP has been put to the field by BJP to dethrone Nitesh, as to why are they in alliance with BJP.

So right now, INC has opened its door for Nitesh despite RJD not being okay with the status quo because power is a highly addictive drug. If not King, they would want to be the Kingmaker like they were in Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Voters are completely unaware of the post-poll alliances but one thing the voter is aware of that every political party is thirsty for their blood and sweat.

The truth behind the political campaign is entwined with bargaining and blackmailing, Nitesh is sound on a rallying strategy where he told PM they would be sharing the stage together in all the 12 rallies which are going to take place in the coming days, just to send a loud and clear message to the voters.

Perhaps in a political plight since 2014, PM has never been in such a labyrinth ever before, where if the PM doesn’t share the stage with Nitesh will put them on the back foot, and if PM holds Nitesh’s hand post-election, it will lead to another turmoil. This series of the rallies will kick off from Jagjivan Babu’s Sasaram.

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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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