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Students Take Break From The Fatigue Of Online Classes By Attending These Online Fests

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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.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed all organisations and institutions to virtual platforms. Online education has become the new normal and amidst the chaos and mayhem of the pandemic, the college fests have followed the shift, too.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”– Maya Angelou

As rightly said by Angelou, college fests are a stimulus to our creative personality, and thus make it the best and most memorable time of our college lives. Fests are organised to not just entertain students, they also impart knowledge via quizzes, debates, discussions, etc. Music, dance, drama and games are an integral part of any college fest. It is an amalgamation of entertainment and knowledge. College students invest their time and energy to organise their college or department fests to make them perfect and memorable.

Since everything has been digitised due to Covid-19, college fests were held online, too. The festivals that attracted the eyes all from across the country were:

Symphony 2021: Candle in the Wind

Credit: Facebook/Symphony

Symphony 2021 was the first college fest to be held online by Janki Devi Memorial College of DU. Hosting the fest online was agreed upon in lieu of an emotional outcry from the students. Professor Smita Mishra, Department of History, said, “Staff advisors consulted the Students’ Union and got the feedback from students of the college and across DU, that though academics was progressing at a fair clip online, the cultural scene was almost dead and there was an emotional outcry for an online festival. So, the authorities resolved to give the students a fun time by hosting an online fest.” 

Professor Saumya Gupta, in a conversation with The Hindu, said that the authorities didn’t want the students to hold back from their excitement and creativity for cultural fests. “So, we took on the challenge to visualise the events virtually and decided to have a month-long cultural festival,” she added. The fest was a power pack of more than 25 events, which received both positive as well as negative feedback.

Students were happy because the fest was stretched to 30 days, way longer than the conventional three-day fest in pre-pandemic times. Jagriti Bathra, member of JDMC’s student union, said that the students could make new connections and celebrate with students across the country from the comfort of their homes.

Dance, drama, and music are always the essence of these fests, and who would have thought they would be held virtually with such efficacy? “Although it was not like a regular college fest, we had a lot of fun organising it. It was a great learning experience,” Bathra added.

Some students were unhappy about the online fests, while others felt that they missed the candid and fun moments of offline fests. Yukti Aggrawal, a first-year student, thinks that online fests are mere formalities and live events are more vigorous. Therefore, some of the students were upset about missing the live energy and enjoyment of an offline gathering.

Jaipur Literature Festival

Colleges fests of Delhi University are not the only festivals that got affected by Covid -19 and had to shift to online. The pandemic delayed one of the most awaited festivals of India, the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). However, its online version this year benefited all littérateurs as they could now attend the festival from the comfort of their homes. The festival managed to conglomerate 300 speakers and performers from around the world, representing 25 Indian and 18 international languages from more than 23 nationalities.


To host a virtual event for 300 people must be petrifying, but William Dalrymple, writer and festival co-director, while talking to The Hindu, said, “In my case, the problem really was to persuade people to apply for a visa and go on a flight, and set off for a week or 10 days to the other side of the world. And my job became much easier this year because all I had to do is pursue people to go on a video call!” 

He added that the virtual platform was more feasible for writers who don’t prefer to travel, including Robert Macfarlane, Mark Haddon and Noam Chomsky.

Sanjoy K Roy, festival producer, said that they tried their best to capture the essence of the festival virtually and give a wholesome experience to the audience. The organisers also curated an online book store, crafts area, and morning and evening music shows to breathe life into the festival.

Also, for students, it was feasible to attend the festival virtually.

I listened to littérateurs speak at the festival from my living room. I have always had a fascination for the theories of Homi K Bhabha and to hear him via my screen was indeed a pleasure. Bhabha talked about the horizontality of blood and the question of time, space, optics and perception. It was a delight to attend all lectures virtually, they sure did enhance my knowledge on various topics.

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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, 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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