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Opinion: Pseudo Culture Is Harming The Internet And India

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Pseudo, by definition, means “supposed or purporting to be but not really so; false; not genuine”. 

“The prefix ‘pseudo-‘ (soo-doh) is Greek in origin, a combining form of pseudes (false) or pseûdos (falsehood). Sometimes, especially before a vowel, the prefix is written as ‘pseud-‘, such as in the word pseudepigraphs (falsely attributed works)”.

Let me give you an example of Pseudo as a prefix. David Irving, a “historian” and a Holocaust Denier who claims that 3,00,000 people died during the bombing of Dresden in the waning months of World War II when in reality, about 20,000 to 25,000 people died in the bombing, albeit the justification of the bombing is heavily disputed. The point I’m trying to make is that David Irving comes under the prefix pseudo, which makes him a pseudo-historian. 

This is merely an example, but you realise that this prefix has created a culture of its own which I would like to call pseudo-culture. The examples of the prefix are pseudo-feminism, pseudo-patriotism, pseudo-science, pseudo-intellectuals, pseudo-journalism.

This culture has mixed up with the outrage culture, bhedchaal mentality, mob mentality en masse added with the spicy cancel culture, internet censorship, abuses of power etc. and has created a toxic environment, not only on the internet but in our society as a whole. Their only raison d’être (reason) is to make people fight against one another, whether it’d be friends, family or neighbours and to make our society and the internet a never-ending warzone.

I’ll be touching on three topics regarding the prefix pseudo: Pseudo-patriotism, Pseudo-Journalism and Pseudo-Feminism. These three topics are in the prime and are now creating a society that is as close to either Gotham in the movie Joker or the society of Oceania created by IngSoc in George Orwell’s novel 1984

Pseudo Patriotism

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that people who often show patriotism are not as patriotic as they claim to be. They would exploit the sentiments of the masses to further their own interests, all in the name of patriotism. The Pewdiepie vs. T-Series is a prime example, where T-Series, Bollywood and YouTubers in the likes of Carryminati, Ashish Chanchlani, Amit Bhadana, Abby Viral, Dinesh Talks, Samrat Bhai would play the patriotism and creator’s card in an otherwise harmless feud.

This move impacted the whole masses who started attacking PewDiePie, his fans and supporters like Saiman Says. These so-called “patriots”, or rather the “patridiots”, supported a soulless corporation, i.e. T-Series in the name of patriotism and creator’s right (particularly Carryminati) and then turned a blind eye on Ritviz’s plight when T-Series copied his song without his consent and when they pulled down Salil Jamdar’s disstrack video on Pewdiepie and T-Series.

This is one mere example, but it shows how people can play the patriotism card to further their own interests. If you see someone yapping on about patriotism on social media, they probably want clout, attention, money, fame, and views. So don’t give them that. The pseudo patriots’ opinions are really not their own; it’s just bhedchaal because they just listen to what their idols say and do instead of forming their own opinions, so they go out to create a huge mess.

Bhedchaal, pseudo patriotism, outrage culture and mob mentality mixed all together. And the mob doesn’t even realise that their opinions are not their own. P.S. I found the word “Patridiots” from the soundtrack of the video game Cyberpunk 2077.

Ever since the Kanhiya Kumar sedition case, words like anti-national, gaddartukde tukde gang, pseudo-intellectuals/sickularism/liberals, etc., became the Bhakts favourite weapon of choice. The sedition law became their favourite juice and anyone who has a dissent towards the government, even for the slightest bit, the Bhakts will be the one to jump the gun.

Section 124A of the IPC (sedition law) also acts as a restriction to Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, i.e. Right to Freedom to Speech and Expression alongside Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, i.e. Restriction to Right to Freedom to Speech and Expression to protect the sovereign’s image. It could punish those who could act against the state, the government or want to succeed.

However, this law has been misused as it is a way to silence those who criticise the government for their actual blunders. This not only undermines Article 19(1)(a), but it promotes censorship all in the name of patriotism.

Here’s an excerpt from the article I wrote about fake patriotism:

“It is really unfortunate to say that the Sedition Law has been oversaturated and misused a lot. Ever since the Kanhiya Kumar Case, the Sedition Law has been used as a mere and pathetic excuse to suppress a dissenting opinion.”

And then, there’s Technical Guruji, who claimed that he wouldn’t be reviewing any Chinese made products out of patriotism in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley incident last year and then a few weeks later, he went ahead promoted more Chinese products. This is not only hypocritical on his part, but we also realise that Technical Guruji cares more about chasing trends than practising what he preaches.

Elvish Yadav is another example who would promote a Tik Tok rip off app, all in the name of patriotism. Bollywood is also guilty because every time we see a patriotic movie (especially the John Abraham and Akshay Kumar ones), they’re only doing it for box office and clout. Akshay Kumar then launched a game called FAU-G, a PUBG rip off made to exploit patriotism out of kids just to make quick bucks and capitalise on Battle Royale Genre, which is already dominated by PUBG, Fortnite, Apex Legends and COD War Zone.

And then there’s Kangana Ranaut. There are a lot of examples of Kangana’s pseudo patriotism. I’ll give one as an excerpt:

“In the aftermath of Pulwama, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut preached and lectured everyone about patriotism. She also talked a lot about Pakistan too. It’s funny, considering the fact that her movie Manikarnika was a hit in Pakistan. It just goes to show her hypocrisy when it comes to making bucks.”

The Screenshot from Metal Gear Solid 1 perfectly sums how patriotism could often curb Constitutional right in India.

Pseudo Patriotism at this point has degraded so much that we are now seeing the likes of Hindustani Bhau. Since his inception as a meme, his endeavours are abusing and sending threats to people, including women, in the name of patriotism and being a Big Boss celebrity so that he could gain some clout. He recently got arrested for violating COVID protocols because he was protesting for 12th Board Examinations. I think he did it to boost the shadow of his relevancy ever since he got banned on Instagram and YouTube. What else?

If someone actually wants to show patriotism, join the army, governmental or bureaucratic services, go out and vote, join an NGO or any other services to improve patriotism, write articles so that government would listen. If you’re preaching shallow patriotism, it won’t do anything good except being part of the bhedchaal mentality.

Pseudo Journalism

By now, it’s all obvious that the Indian media is a joke. Journalism has degraded over the years, like Bollywood’s quality in movies. They’re not only spreading the news that’s biased or giving the masses a lot of trivial information, but these guys are misinformed. Our media doesn’t seem to care about truth and facts, but instead, they care about which news could give them spicy entertainment and the highest TRP.

In this dog eat dog world, truth and facts don’t even matter anymore. They’re just TRP pigs. That’s what they are. There was an era when they were respected, like Sucheta Dalal when she exposed Harshad Mehta in the 1992 Scam. Back then, journalists were considered as the bulwark of truth and arbiters of facts.

That era is gone now, given the fact that people, politics and even times change. Now it’s just a game with no morality or sense of truth and facts. It’s just ratings and money. That’s all they care about.

And let’s not forget they play the patriotism card every time. They’re the ones who paint the people critical of the government as anti-nationals and gaddar and should go to Pakistan. Ironically, they pride themselves as the supporters of the army and patriots (patridiots). Yet they harassed Rhea Chakraborty’s father, an army officer, just because Rhea was Sushant’s girlfriend. They had the narrative of Rhea’s involvement in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death while they were making conspiracy theories, fanfictions, etc.

Even Bollywood celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Karan Johar and Deepika Padukone were attacked by the mob thanks to the media trial. Let’s not forget that they play the media trial at its worst. 

arnab judge
This Ram Jethmalani wannabe unconditionally loves TRP like Freya does with Baldur in God Of War. He is the prime example of TRP mosquitos.

Them acting as the Judge, Jury and Executioner is unethical and illegal under the Contempt of Court Act, 1973. The Jasleen Kaur case and the Sushant case are major examples of the media I’ve already touched on in a previous article. Because of media, people go on a witch hunt against a person, which leads to more outrage and bhedchaal and can often lead to tragic consequences.

The media was supposed to act as the fourth pillar of democracy and should inform us everything we need to know instead of any biases and hunger for TRP. But sadly, the media has become a shell of its former self

Meanwhile, they ignore to report actual affairs that really matter like the Assam Floods, the environment, the economy, ethnic and religious problems, basic human rights of people, etc. They don’t report it because it doesn’t benefit them, nor do they even bother to care about these issues because it’s not TRP friendly.

You know we want information about our country and the world from the media and what do we get instead? Debates, memes, fear, entertainment, gossips, controversy, lies but not information or facts or truth. They themselves are misinformed. Once, they made a piece of news about a viral meme. Yeah, what do I expect from them?

One of the pioneers of pseudo-journalism, Arnab Goswami, is the epitome of everything that is wrong in our media.

Goswami loves to play the lawyer, judge, jury and executioner instead of doing his job as a journalist. He’s one of the pioneers of the Jasleen Kaur case and was one of the factors that destroyed Sarvjeet Singh’s life. Like the Les Enfants Terrible of television that they are, they love to bloat about patriotism. In all honesty, they love to play the patriotism card and when someone disagrees with them about the welfare of the country, Goswami and his look-alikes paint them as anti-nationals, gaddar, etc.

And yet, he exploited the deaths of 40 soldiers who died in Pulwama in 2019 for ratings. The fact that he was even accused of leaking confidential military secrets when the Whatsapp leak happened might explain how he could stoop so low over ratings.

When the Sushant case was at its height, Arnab was literally playing the pseudo judge at that point. You probably know this one:

Mujhe TRP do, TRP do, TRP do.

This was one of the major highlights of the Sushant Case. He, alongside his partner in crime Kangana Ranaut (whom Goswami later said was obsessed with Hrithik Roshan) pushed the narrative of Rhea and drugs, which led to the creation of the toxic environment. This is just a media trial at its finest and in a nutshell. They no longer believed in the “innocent before proven guilty” concept but rather the opposite. They play the role of the Apex Court and yet they fail so miserably at that. 

Goswami, the wannabe judge, got into trouble when he was arrested for the 2018 suicide case.

And when the TRP Scam became hot like a war, Goswami and his media outlet Republic TV were at the frontlines of this scam. But Arnab “Ram Jethmalani wannabe” Goswami isn’t the only one. There are other journalists who can do anything for TRPs, like when Republic TV reporters were pursuing Deepika Padukone’s car and started asking questions like “Deepika kya aap drugs leti hai….” 

The height of journalism, ladies and gentlemen. Modern-day journalism has degraded a lot. 

Is this what we have to do to become journalists ?

Even the so-called alternative media with the likes of TheWire.inThe QuintThe Scroll, etc., are biased as well. Not to mention the Wire’s article about the Uri Attacks was polarised, which was even criticised by Anurag Kashyap. Still, I can praise them because they can provide better reporting than the mainstream media, like when they destroyed Kapil Mishra, one of the men responsible for the North-East Delhi Riots of 2020.

They’re also really critical of the government and can call them out if they commit any blunders. Although they can be biased, they’re way better on-ground reporting than TheTatva.

Well, that’s the Indian media, but what about the Western Media? They’re just as terrible as the Indian media. 

This front page of New York Times about the mass COVID funeral in India was posted on every Social Media Platform (I did too, and I later regretted it).

Before I call out the Western Media (especially the New York Times), I’m going to say that the Second Wave of COVID was our fault. The government made a huge blunder by conducting elections, especially during the pandemic. And we, the masses, made a huge mistake attending religious festivals, ceremonies and events like Kumbh Mela, Holi, Ramadan and Baishaki.

Because of our mistakes, the COVID situation got so bad that we’re reaching 3,00,000–4,00,000 confirmed cases per day. And we’re running out of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and other essential supplies. This could’ve been avoided had the government and citizens made a lot of preparations, but here we are now.

Anyway, a lot of foreign media caught the attention of this and they started reporting (more like milking because that’s what they care about anyway) the situation here, which I don’t think is a problem. At least they’re doing what they can to make the world know about our situations. But the problem is, I don’t agree with some of them, especially with The New York Times. They love to milk everything; I mean, these guys are desperate for credibility and clout. 

The New York Times starts calling out popular YouTuber Mr Beast over the accusations that were made 2–3 years ago, which were later debunked at that time. The same New York Times then starts complaining about Elon Musk stealing memes. I get that there are cases regarding meme stealing, but most people don’t seem to care on the internet. But of course, people would cite them because they’re making reports about India’s COVID situation.

One of the New York Times journalists starts calling out on a Popular YouTuber, Philip De Franco, because he took a neutral take on the Mr Beast situation. To think that they get offended by a YouTuber’s opinion really shows why journalists should not be put up on a pedestal. 

You might be wondering what these two incidents have anything to do with the COVID funeral in India. For that, my answer is nothing. They pretend to care about the real-world situation and then go out of their way and start attacking famous people over trivial reasons. This is probably why people are starting to lose their faith and respect towards the so-called reputed media outlets like The New York Times.

British artist M.I.A. also called them out for their lack of care, empathy and proper handling towards the casualties of the Sri Lankan Civil War and then later start calling Sri Lanka a tourists attraction despite its bloody past. This seems to show that The New York Times is really pathetic. They are in no position to talk about anyone, let alone a serious topic.

This was the same tactic VoxViceVerge, and Wall Street Journal used against PewDiePie in 2017–18 over a bunch of jokes and unfortunate incidents. Why do you think they attack some of the most beloved people on the internet? Because they’re desperate for credibility and clout, as I’ve said.

They know people will respond aggressively, making them a lot of money, which is what they want, to milk the controversy as much as they can. This is just pseudo-journalism at its worst and because of that, anti-media sentiments are rising. Oh, I forgot, The New York Times is losing their shares as their subscription sales have dropped, according to Forbes. 

The internet is taking over the world by storm. Soon, the relevancy of traditional media will die because of its current state, their pseudo-journalism. People are starting to get information from other sources, especially on the internet, rather than the information given on TV. If they do not change their methods, then it’s only a matter of time the foundation and credibility of traditional media die itself. It’s time that we stop putting media outlets and journalists on a pedestal.

Pseudo Feminism

Kangana Ranaut
Representative Image.

Kangana Ranaut: the bhakt who self appoints herself as a feminist, and yet she attacks a journalist over some critique and Rihanna for her support towards the farmers at the height of the farmer’s protest.

Swara Bhaskar: Liberal Version of Kangana Ranaut. She praised Lahore once before her movie Veere di Wedding gets banned in Pakistan and then she called Pakistan a failed state. Selective outrage is popular among Liberal Sewers and Bhakt Gutters. They rage on one issue and ignore the next.

Sonam Kapoor: A starkid who was accused of playing a victim card on Twitter when someone told her to use public transport.

Neha Dhupia: an actress with an almost dead career and a judge of an irrelevant show, Roadies. Last year, she made a fool of herself when she bashed a male contestant for slapping his girlfriend and yet she praised a female contestant in the same show for slapping 4–5 guys. Dhupia got harassed by the mob, which I condemn because mob mentality is really pathetic. And no one should slap each other irrespective of gender because it’s not right, morally and legally.

Moose Jattana: one of the women who gave her two cents in the aftermath of the controversial Bois Locker Room Scandal. Yeah, the same scandal which led a kid to die by suicide because of the mob mentality despite the lack of evidence against him. Jattana was also criticised for doxing a kid because he asked her for her explicit images (let’s just say explicit lol).

It’s ironic given that someone actually leaked her explicit images, which forced her to leave social media. It’s really ironic yet sad because she had to go through this, but at the same time, she should be called out for doxing a kid. The kid was in the wrong, but that doesn’t mean she should take the law into her own hands. This applies to everyone for that matter.

Now, these women whom I’ve mentioned above often come under the category of pseudo feminism. 

Before I talk about pseudo feminism, I want to talk about feminism in general. The definition of feminism states that:

“Feminism, the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” 

In simple words, feminism means that women should have equal representation as men, whether it’d be jobs, education and so on. Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution, which are the Fundamental Rights, state that everyone is equal before the law, people should not be discriminated against on the basis of gender and they should have equal opportunities in governmental employment.

Any encroachment of such rights will lead to Article 32, i.e. Constitutional Remedies. The Indian Constitution ensures that women should also be treated as equals and should enjoy their lives to the fullest. The IPC, The Domestic Violence Act, The Dowry Prohibition Act, The Sexual Harassment of Women in Workplace Act, etc., provide safety and security to women and ensures that women live better lives.

Feminism is the reason why so many lives of women all over India and the world have changed. Women have now started to realise their identity, sexuality, and freedom from a depressing, traditional, outdated, and patriarchal society. Feminism is the biggest reason why we have stronger women like Sarojini Naidu, Kiran Bedi, Kalpana Chawla, Saina Nehwal, etc.

Yes, it is true that women in India still have a long way to go, but it is also true that it can be possible. Recently, however, feminism is getting a bad reputation because of various incidents. In the West, it was Gamergate. In the excerpt:

“The 2010s also saw one of the biggest controversies of all time, i.e. Gamergate controversy. Questions were raised by journalists like Anita Sarkeesian and Briana Wu. They questioned the diversity and inclusiveness of video games and the sexism that exist in the video game industry. 

“With the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein incident, it is understandable that there is sexism in every industry. Women in video games or any industry for that matter face the problem of sexual harassment or gender discrimination. Anita Sarkeesian also received a lot of death and rape threats which in a right mind should be condemned and the person making such threats should be punished.

“Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code states that threatening to cause criminal intimidation will result to 2 years of imprisonment or fine or both. If a threat is about death or grievous hurt, then the punishment will be of imprisonment which will be extended to 7 years or fine or both. 

On the other hand, Sarkeesian was criticised by many people. A few of the criticisms are her inaccuracies, the one-sided arguments she makes, her lack of knowledge in gaming. Her credibility was also questioned when the report she made in the UN was criticised for the lack of research, bogus studies and it was later retracted.”

In India, it was the Jasleen Kaur case:

“The Jasleen Kaur case is an example of a media trial, where a girl falsely accuses a person of sexual harassment on her Facebook post and the media reached the verdict that the person is the pervert of Delhi without even listening to the guy’s story and when the court acquitted the latter because the girl hadn’t appeared in the proceedings and the credibility of the post on Facebook had been questioned, the damage was already done because of the girl’s action and the media’s role in it.”

Some women even go out of their way and file fake cases like rape, sexual harassment, dowry and domestic violence against men. This not only affects the mental health, relationships, jobs, dignity and even the lives of men, but it could undermine the progress women make in the past. No one will believe the story of the actual victims of the crimes.

men's rights activist
Representative Image. Source: flickr

Ever since Nirbhaya, crimes against women in India is a huge problem and these fake cases will add more salt to the wound. It’ll be like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, but in the real world, no one will believe the story of the actual victims. Laws are not their personal plaything; they’re made so that women could live a better life. Because of this, there has been a rise in Men’s Rights Activism in India.

That is the problem of pseudo feminism. Pseudo Feminists and Feminazis don’t believe in equality. They believe in woman dominating the world. They are very misandrist against men and promote man-hating sentiments. They will rage at someone if the person says anything against their moral compass and they are very thin-skinned people and would play the victim card most of the time.

Anyway, they are very sensitive to jokes. Well, comedy is subjective and it’s not for everyone. If you see someone getting offended over it, then it’s understandable because they might feel uncomfortable. But what these pseudo-feminist insects do is that they take the joke out of context. Then they go out their way to attack someone by calling them names like sexists, misogynists, fascists or whatnot.

About 4–5 years ago, this really annoying Social Justice Warrior made a mockery out of herself by attacking a random guy over an unintentional dad joke. The Social Justice Warrior then started screaming that he was sexually harassing her despite the fact he did not even touch and he was trying to get out of the situation.

They also tend to read and watch BuzzFeed content which is known for producing terrible click-bait content. It got so infamous that even U.S. President Donald Trump called it “a failing pile of garbage”, which it really is, to be quite honest. And Filthy Frank once said“If you share articles from BuzzFeed, you’re not the brightest person in the world.” 

I tried to watch one of their “feminist” videos. Let’s just say it’s two things:

  1. It’s cringy.
  2. This makes me question pseudo feminism in general.

You can watch whatever you want, but just don’t be banshee about it because the last thing anyone wants to hear is some pseudo feminism given to you by Buzzfeed because you couldn’t form your own opinions. 

It’s pretty much clear at this point that not a lot of feminists are like that. Rather they act more maturely, more rationally and have more thick skin than that of pseudo feminists. They don’t even have to call themselves feminists. They still create more impact in the society for the right reasons, unlike pseudo feminists who prides themselves on being feminists and yet they’ve done more harm than good all in the name of the feminist cause.

Unfortunately, the latter is ruining the entire river and the entire concept gets to blame for it. I think it’s high time that people start figuring out the difference between feminism and pseudo feminism.

And in case if anyone’s wondering, I’m a humanist and I believe that every person is a human being regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. 

Conclusion

I’m pretty bad at conclusions, so I’m just going to make this quick and short. At first, this pseudo-culture seems annoying but now it’s becoming a huge pattern and this pattern is creating a huge ruckus on the internet and in our society.

Obviously, bhedchaal mentality, mob mentality, and outrage culture have mixed well with pseudo-culture en masse. And the topics that I’ve touched are merely just the surface. We don’t even know how deep this is. Sooner or later, we’re going to have to figure this out. We need to figure how to tackle this and if we fail, the pseudo-culture will not only ruin the internet but the entire country.

That’s all I have to say.

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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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