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My Uncle Was A Leader Who Never Stopped Learning

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Seshagiri Rao Uncle was a great Tennis player and is always remembered as a good sportsman and athlete with a sense of courage, purpose, and determination. He always assisted people from all walks of life. He was an alumnus of Loyola College and Benares Hindu University, Varanasi.

Prime Minister Morarji Desai is accompanied by N. Seshagiri Rao and team.

Seshagiri Rao Uncle Was A Leader From The Start

He was a born leader and first batch student at Andhra Loyola school. He was a Student Union Leader at Andhra Loyola college. He was very good at athletics, running, and hurdles records set by him were unbeaten in Andhra Loyola for many years.

He was a National player in Kabaddi. He studied MA at Banaras Hindu University and was a Student Union Leader at BHU. He took me to get me admitted to Loyola Public School at Nallapadu, Guntur suburbs. I was contemplating to go to Calcutta and pursue my studies or stay in Guntur, which was a hard decision.

There are so many incidents surrounding his police life. He was a very active policeman as a Circle Inspector for Vijayawada city. He got many reforms done in his jurisdiction during his tenure. He worked as Traffic Circle Inspector throughout and as a DSP (Intelligence) in  Gudivada, Kakinada, and Rajahmundry.

Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu with Uncle Seshagiri Rao accompanied by his son Srinagesh quite recently. The image has been provided by the user.

He was an Assistant Commissioner of Police Vizag (Law & Order),  Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) in Visakhapatnam, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Chintapalli.

In Chintapalle, situated near the thick forests, the Naxalites targeting Rao attacked him with 3 land mines, one in the ground and two vertically in the hillocks running along the road.  Land mines went off a few tens of meters away from him and killing a constable in the process. He is the first person to escape a Naxalite target in the whole of Andhra Pradesh.

Learning Was A Never-Ending Process For My Uncle

Despite adequate precautions, one policeman was unfortunately killed because of the bomb blasts, and my uncle was seriously injured and his leg was operated on, and eventually, he lost his sense of hearing in the right ear.

Timely strategic plans enabled them to be saved from landmines in a deadly encounter.  God saved them. It’s a never-ending process – always learning, always moving forward, and always believing in the task no matter what and where.

His impeccable record fetched him a few promotions, and he served as the Additional SP Principal of Police Training College Amberpet, Hyderabad. He was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Visakhapatnam for many years.  Just before retirement, he served as  Additional SP Vigilance and Enforcement in Vizag, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam.

After retirement, he worked for a software company as a Director of Business Transformation.

He always used to say in almost every job that “You will get to use digital devices or technologies in one way or the other. A basic understanding of data is important because more and more companies want to use it to improve their business, so they need their employees to analyze, explore, share, and draw conclusions. It is also useful to understand how technology can be built, manipulated, or applied. However, you do not need to be an expert in data to use it in your job’’.

I’ve walked into many troubled, dysfunctional IT organizations as a Director and a management consultant.

Sure, we introduced new processes, technologies, and methodologies. But the most impactful and least tangible improvement has always been that unwavering culture of teamwork. Once the sense of team is solidified, everything else seems easy to achieve, and we reach heights that the organization never thought possible.

Technology Has Revolutionised Workspaces

I often wonder if some of the huge corporations can survive much longer with their politics and every-man-for-himself survival tactics. I know that sounds extreme, and perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but I don’t think I’m far off. The small to midsized companies tend to foster a greater sense of teamwork and, in my view, are primed to disrupt their industries in a big way over the next decade.

However, in most cases, your business might have already been using technology as a means to interact with employees and clients. With the new intelligent system, you can carry out digital procedures and have access to the Internet spaces, Wi-Fi for public spaces, digital services, info-communications, knowledge transfer, and development on issues telecommunications and electricity.

I tried to find the wildest ways companies had pivoted, changed, or overhauled their business model to respond to the economic changes. I found retail shops that built e-commerce operations in a few months, restaurants that re-engineered their space to be primarily to-go orders, and of course, millions of offices that had to adjust to working remotely.

Yet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says it all through this quote, “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”. It’s very difficult to say and express a final goodbye to an affectionate uncle like him. Fond remembrances from the family, relatives, and friends.

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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)’.

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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.”

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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, 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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