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Second Wave: While Pointing Fingers At Politicians And Media Channels, One Finger Should Be At Us

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Ever since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the last months of 2019, humans have feared every breath of their life. The pandemic has not only given us ailments and anxiety, but also some brand-new terms like ‘lockdown’, ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’, and most importantly, the glitter of our face, N-95 masks.

We never knew that a disease can be so dynamic that it could dominate headlines around the world, along with impacting each and every aspect of human activity and enterprise. With multiple waves and varied severities, the virus has taken innumerable lives and left us helpless. The idea here is to talk about the role that each one of us play in increasing the dreadful virus around us.

Recently, there have been a lot of debates, hateful discussions and blame-games as to who were the chief culprits of spreading the virus to this extent. According to various reports, the recent surge in new Covid-19 cases in India began around mid-March and since then, the upward trend has not changed. Multiple events took place around this time that have gathered our attention as think about the cause behind the havoc.

Politicians didn’t even care to give condolence to the ones who lost had their loved ones, as it was more important to win the election, and not life.

We see politicians fighting amongst themselves, blaming one another for the dreadful impact. Citizens have mixed views on whether the fault is the government’s or just a hype created by the media. It is difficult to determine the real scary agent in the nation — the Covid variants or media houses? The media claims to be a crucial communication tool for generating and disseminating information to the general public.

But the question remains, is the current way of communication right? Is it actually for the welfare of the masses?

Let’s find out who is actually at fault. 

It is the human civilisation that has been hit the hardest; the virus is affecting every inch of our bodies. Still, some of us are fearless enough to go out and party. We all encountered mass gatherings, careless and daring humans who believed that the virus isn’t powerful enough to snatch away their lives. They roamed around the streets, markets and clubs, not taking any precautions and assuming that the virus has just gone!

Sad but true, the virus is still here with us.

Despite knowing and being educated about the repercussions and severity of this deadly virus, we as citizens have been ignorant about the most important factors. All we were asked to do was maintain social distancing, wear a mask “properly” and sanitise ourselves from time to time. But all this was too much for us, so instead, we chose to be “irresponsible” towards our own health as well as the health of the whole nation.

Yet, was it just the common person who was responsible for the spike of the Covid-19 cases? No, we have more players in this game.

Amidst the life-threating crisis, we saw two things rise to their peak, coronavirus and politics.

According to the Covid-19 guidelines, mass gatherings were a big no-no. But over the past two months, we all saw the complete opposite. Every political party showcased their glittery image in the hope of victory during elections, giving priority to their greed and risking the lives of millions. They talked a lot, not about the virus, but about each other, never missing a chance to insult or degrade their contender.

Amidst the shiny shows, these people forgot about the dullness of the nation. They failed to provide to its citizens what was of utmost importance. There was a shortage of medicines, injections, oxygen cylinders and almost every important thing needed to fight the virus. But the politicians didn’t even care to give condolence to the ones who lost had their loved ones, as it was more important to win the election, and not life. With a careless, fearless and reckless attitude, they continued their wrong deeds. Politicians are a part of the list of the culprits of the crisis.

But there was yet another player who may not have been responsible for escalating the cases, but surely was for creating hype and negativity around us. Media, considered the fourth pillar of democracy, and an unbiased and credible source of promulgating valuable information, could be seen as the largest spreader of misinformation, anxiety, negativity and propaganda. For the media, Covid-19 was another seasonal issue and not a pandemic. They covered it when they wanted to and ignored it as per their wish.

A lot of people complained that media channels were not informing them about the news on Covid but simply spreading negativity. Mental health is a core issue during this time and the media took no notice of it. Media’s top priority was to show visuals that could disrupt one’s mental peace, leave them heartbroken, and possibly lead to a depressive state of mind.

Death is the biggest fear amongst living beings and Covid-19 has not given us any break from its horror since its outbreak. While we appreciate the hard work and goodwill of the doctors, medical staff and scientists, we also have to do our part to be healthy and keep the ones around us safe.

We all know that somewhere, we have been the culprits, too.

But if you are reading this, you have definitely got another chance. You have survived and you have fought this battle. However, the journey doesn’t end here. Don’t be negligent towards something that not only impacts you but the whole nation.

Don’t be a culprit. 

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  1. Shammi Batra

    I totally agree with you on this. This is a collective fight yet it has to be fought on individual level. Very well explained Nishtha. I do hope to get some concrete and collective measures from the youth like you which can give a fresh perspective to follow.
    Keep it up.

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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.

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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, 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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