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Modern Technological Advancements Have Caused Mental Pollution

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Mental pollution is bewilderment and perplexity in the thinking process, leading to stress, anxiety and tension in our lives. It is the amalgam of preoccupied imaginary negative thoughts, apprehensions and speculations which psychologically haunt our mind.

With the advancement of science and information technology in our lives, we have oceanic information available to us. This information contains the main mental pollutants in the form of sexual, horrible and violent video clips, which contaminate our mind and adversely affect our decision making and learning process and weaken our memory.

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Mental pollution can also be caused by some criticism, disfavour, dishonour, an unpleasant situation or relationship. Pride and inferiority complex is also a kind of mental pollution. All those who give preference to their personal gains without caring for others are actually involved in a kind of mental pollution.

As our body requires a clean, nutritious and balanced diet to remain healthy, similarly healthy content is required for a healthy mind. Anxiety, depression, jealousy, illogical and negative thoughts, immoral actions and fear of the future are some of the adverse effects caused by mental pollution. Mental pollution is also harmful to society as it leads to all sorts of evils in a society like robberies, rapes, murders and other crimes.

The modern human is living in a lustrous imaginary world because of the easy availability of technology where they imagine that everything is under their control. They have forgotten that God has created different people with different abilities. This forgetfulness has resulted in jealousy, competition and negative thoughts, avariciousness and egoism, which in turn has resulted in mental pollution. 

According to a research, out of almost 6,700 languages spoken globally, more than 2,000 languages are spoken in the continent of Africa, where the educational standard is very low. Furthermore, as per the reports of the Centre for Advanced Study of African Languages, almost 75–80% of Africans are multilingual and can speak 12–15 languages as either their first or second language.

Since Africa is the world’s least developed continent where people live in very poor and impecunious conditions, they have no availability of scientific and industrial resources. They have no access to multimedia videos, books, dictionaries and internet services. On the other hand, people in developed and civilized regions of the world can hardly learn a single foreign language in their lifetime, though they have access to all these aids and helping tools.

According to experts, the absence of mental pollutants in the environment enables an African to learn and speak an average of 13 languages. Researchers believe that besides socio-cultural and psychological factors, the absence of mental pollutants in the form of violent and sexual images and videos coming from various media sources can play a vital role in learning foreign languages.

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Intentional or unintentional encounter with various mental pollutants in the form of movies, programs, pictures, posters, and advertisements can trigger brain hormones and disturb our body’s biochemical system, which results in the arousal of various emotions like anger, frustration, fear or sexual thrill. Such emotions weaken our memory power, imbalance our thoughts and make our mind unable to concentrate and focus on new things and hinder our learning and other cognitive processes.

Researchers believe that during the ancient periods, despite the unavailability of science and information technology and powerful tools, people had sharp memory power and were masters in many fields and languages due to the absence of mental pollutants in the atmosphere, which could weaken their learning process and other mental abilities.

It was observed during a survey conducted by some experts in the Faith University of Turkey that people who spend most of their time in front of TV or computer screens because of their work, entertainment or some other purpose are involved in some kind of mental pollution irrespective of their age, sex or occupation. According to this survey, the level of mental pollution of an individual depends upon the amount of time they spend in different media forms. 

It is pertinent to mention here that media and communication is not the only source of mental pollution. But any process, event or episode which confuses our mind, diverts our attention or disturbs our concentration can decrease our mental abilities and result in mental pollution.

As positive comments and applause from people can give a person happiness, similarly inexpedient criticism, negative behaviour can clog our mental capabilities. So we should always avoid people who have negativity in their ideologies so that our mind can remain free from any pollution.

It is the need of the hour to make people aware of the ill effects of misusing modern technology. The sole purpose of technology is to make our lives easy and comfortable. It should not take away the peace of our mind by polluting it. It will be time-consuming and difficult for us to learn new things and processes if we fail in controlling the different factors which result in mental pollution.

Overuse and misuse of media and information technology will result in wastage of time instead of saving it and can deteriorate mental health. We should take every possible step to curb mental pollution and keep our mind clean and healthy as nothing can harm an individual as much as an unhealthy mind.

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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)’.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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 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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