वो कितने बड़े क्रांतिकारी,स्वतंत्रता सेनानी या हिंदुत्व के रक्षक थे, इस बात पर चर्चा ना करते हुए मैं बस एक बात पर चर्चा करना चाहता हूं, जो कि मुझ जैसे ही और भी दोस्तों को एक टीस देती होगी जो उनको मानते या पूजते हैं। वह बात यह है कि वामपंथ से जुड़े या और भी लोग जो हिंदुत्व विचारधारा से घृणा करते हैं, वो हमेशा से ही सावरकर जी पर एक आरोप लगाते हुए पाए जाएंगे कि उन्होंने अंग्रेजी हुकूमत से माफी मांगी थी, जिससे उन्हें जेल से रिहाई मिल जाए।

अंग्रेजों की क्रांतिकारियों के दमन की नीतियां

मैं इस बात का जवाब काफी समय से ढूंढ रहा था और काफी खोजबीन के बाद अब मुझे इसका जवाब मिल गया है और मैं किसी को भी जवाब दे सकता हूं कि 1857 की क्रांति से जिस तरह ब्रिटिश हुकूमत के खिलाफ भारतीयों ने विरोध करना शुरू कर दिया था, तो उनके दमन के लिए हुकूमत ने हर तरह के हथकंडे अपनाने शुरू कर दिए थे।

एक चालाकी इस तरह की भी थी कि वो जेल में मौजूद कैदियों के माफीनामे के एवज में कैदी को रिहा भी करने लगे थे, जिससे उनकी किसी हद तक नकारात्मक छवि भारतीयों के दिमाग से दूर हो और भारतीय लोग विरोध करना कम कर दें।

सावरकर के माफीनामे के असल कहानी

अब बात आती है सावरकर के माफीनामे की तो उसी समय के दौरान कालापानी की सजा पाए हुए सचिंद्र नाथ सान्याल जी, जिन्हें महान क्रांतिकारी भगत सिंह और चंद्रशेखर आज़ाद का गुरु माना जाता है, की लिखी गई किताब “बंदी जीवन” में उल्लेख मिलता है कि सान्याल जी और सावरकर जी ने लगभग एक ही समय में माफीनामा ब्रिटिश हुकूमत को भेजा था। जिसमें से सान्याल जी का माफीनामा मंजूर करके उन्हें रिहा कर दिया गया था।

जबकि सावरकर जी का माफीनामा एक बार ही नहीं, बल्कि अलग-अलग भेजे गए तीन बार में भी स्वीकार नहीं किया गया। फिर जब 1920 में महात्मा गांधी, विट्ठलभाई पटेल और बाल गंगाधर तिलक ने उनकी बिना किसी शर्त के रिहाई का भरपूर समर्थन किया तब उन्हें रत्नागिरी के जेल में भेजा गया।

कालापानी एक अमानवीय खतरनाक सजा

गौर करने वाली बात यह है कि उन्हें कालापनी की सजा हुई थी। उस समय की ऐसी सजा जिसका नाम सुनते ही कैदी के हाथ पांव फूल जाते थे। अंडमान की राजधानी पोर्ट ब्लेयर में बनाई गई एक ऐसी जेल, जिसका निर्माण ही क्रांतिकारियों का दमन करने के लिए किया गया था, क्योंकि ये जेल एक टापू पर बनाई गई थी। जिसके चारों तरफ दूर-दूर तक बस समुद्र ही समुद्र था तो अगर कोई कैदी भागने का सोचे भी तो इस पानी में उसकी मौत निश्चित है और अगर जेल में रहे तो वहां भी हर एक कैदी के लिए एक अलग 15*8 की कोठरी हुआ करती थी।

जिसमें 3 मीटर की ऊंचाई पर एक रोशनदान हुआ करता था। ऐसी कोठरी बनाने का उद्देश्य यही था कि कोई भी कैदी किसी दूसरे कैदी से बात नही कर सकता था ना ही उसे देश में हो रही किसी भी गतिविधि का पता चल सकता था और ऐसे में वो चाह कर भी देश के लिए कुछ नहीं कर सकता था और अंत में अकेला जीवन जीते जीते वहीं कोठरी में मर जाता था।

दिन भर उनसे एक निश्चित मात्रा का कोल्हू का तेल पिराने का काम (जो कि सामान्यत: तगड़े बैलों से करवाया जाता है), करवाया जाता था, अगर कैदी निश्चित मात्रा का तेल ना निकाल पाता तो उसे मार मार के बेहाल कर दिया जाता था। 

देश की आजादी के योगदान के लिए माफी मांगी

ऐसी परिस्थितियों में सावरकर जैसे देशभक्तों के पास बस यही एक चारा रह जाता था, देश की आजादी में अपना योगदान करने के लिए किसी भी तरह कलापानी की सजा से बाहर निकल पाएं, क्योंकि कोठरी के अंदर रहकर बस आप मौत को ही पा सकते हैं, देश की आजादी को नहीं जिसके लिए आपने जन्म लिया था।

और हां, इस तरह की भयावह सजा उस वक्त के सारे कथित देशभक्तों को भी नहीं हुई थी, और ये सजा मिलना यही दर्शाता है कि सावरकर ने कभी भी अंग्रेजी हुकूमत की चाटुकारिता नहीं की बल्कि उनकी देशभक्ति का ऐसा खौफ अंग्रेजी हुकूमत के अंदर था कि सावरकर के हिस्से ये सजा आई और तीन बार माफीनामे के बाद भी उन्हें रिहा करने की हिम्मत पूरी ब्रिटिश सरकार में ना बन पाई। अब तो अपना दिमाग भी लगाया जा सकता है कि सावरकर कौन थे?

जीवन के अंतिम क्षणों में सावरकर जी ने अन्न, जल सब त्याग दिया था और उन्होंने इसे “आत्महत्या नहीं आत्मर्पण” का नाम दिया था। उन्होंने कहा कि जब आपके जीवन का उद्देश्य पूरा हो जाए या ऐसा लगे कि अब आपके अंदर समाज की सेवा करने की क्षमता नहीं बची है तो मौत का इंतजार करने से अच्छा है कि आत्मर्पण कर लिया जाए।

मुझे लगता है कि जिस सवाल का मैं जवाब देना चाहता था वो मेरे इस लेख में मैंने पूरा लिख लिया होगा। कुछ लोग अब संतुष्ट हो गए होंगे और शायद कुछ लोग नहीं। जो लोग संतुष्ट नहीं हो पाए होंगे उनसे निवेदन है कि एक बार फिर से इस लेख को पढ़ें, उस गुलामी के दौर को समझे और साथ ही स्वयं भी कुछ तथ्यों को खोजने की कोशिश करें।

जय सावरकर।

भारत में हॉस्पिटल इंडस्ट्री में हाल के ही वर्षों में काफी उल्लेखनीय वृद्धि देखी गई है, जिससे हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन से संबंधित कोर्सेज की मांग और उनकी लोकप्रियता काफी बढ़ गई है। हॉस्पिटल्स में पेशेवर एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर्स की मांग तेज़ी से बढ़ रही है, क्योंकि हॉस्पिटल्स में काम करने का तरीका अन्य संगठनों से काफी अलग होता है। हॉस्पिटल्स से 24 x 7 क्वालिटी सर्विस प्रदान करते रहने की आशा की जाती है।

इन्हीं कारणों को ध्यान में रखते हुए एसजीटी यूनिवर्सिटी का कॉमर्स एवं मैनेजमेंट फैकेल्टी BBA  in  Hospital Administration और  MBA  in  Hospital Administration नामक दो महत्वपूर्ण कोर्स संचालित कर रही है।

यह कोरोना महामारी (Pandemic) का दौर है, जहां मानव जीवन पूरी तरह स्वास्थ्य सुविधाओं पर टिका हुआ है। बेहतर स्वास्थ्य सुविधाओं के लिए बेहतरीत हॉस्पिटल्स की जरूरत होती है। एक अच्छे हॉस्पिटल के सुचारू संचालन के लिए पेशेवर हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर्स का होना नितांत आवश्यक है।

ऐसे में एसजीटी यूनिर्वसिटी में संचालित हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के प्रोफेशनल कोर्स इसलिए और भी सफल करियर सम्भावनाओं से भरे हुए हैं, क्योंकि एसजीटी यूनिर्वसिटी कैम्पस में ही  अत्याधुनिक सुविधाओं एवं संसाधनों के साथ भरपूर शानदार इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर वाला एसजीटी हॉस्पिटल भी स्थित है।

जहां देश-दुनिया के अग्रणी डॉक्टर व कर्मचारी अपनी सेवाएं देते हैं। जिनके सानिध्य में हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के स्नातकों को प्रोफेशनल स्किल सीखने में विशेष मदद मिलती है।

एसजीटी यूनिर्वसिटी का हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन कोर्स क्यों है खास?

एसजीटी यूनिर्वसिटी का प्रमुख उद्देश्य जन सामान्य को क्वालिटी हेल्थकेयर उपलब्ध करवाना है। इसका Cambridge English, UK  के साथ कॉलैबरेशन है।

यह अपने हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन ग्रेड्यूएट्स को हेल्थ सर्विसेज को ऑर्गनाइज, कोआर्डिनेट, प्लान, स्टाफिंग, इवैल्यूएशन और कंट्रोल करने से जुड़ी सभी स्किल्स को देश-दुनिया के माने जाने विशेषज्ञों के माध्यम से सेमिनार व वर्कशॉप आदि के प्रैक्टिकल ट्रेनिंग द्वारा सिखाता है।

एसजीटी यूनिवर्सिटी के हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन के कोर्स में स्टूडेंट्स को एथिकल इश्यूज, इकनोमिक एंड पॉलिसीज के साथ ही डिसिजन मेकिंग की प्रैक्टीकल नॉलेज दी जाती है। यहां पर हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन कोर्स करने के दौरान स्टूडेंट्स को प्रसिद्ध विद्वानों द्वारा निम्नलिखित स्किल की विशेष जानकारी दी जाती है-

  • हॉस्पिटल ऑर्गेनाइजेशन
  • मार्केटिंग
  • एकाउंटिंग
  • बजटिंग
  • हेल्थ इकोनॉमिक्स
  • हेल्थ इनफॉर्मेशन सिस्टम्स

हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर के क्या हैं मुख्य काम?

एक हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर का प्रमुख काम यह सुनिश्चित करना होता है कि जिस हॉस्पिटल में वह जॉब कर रहा है, उस हॉस्पिटल का सारा कामकाज सुचारू रूप से चलता रहे। हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर अपने हॉस्पिटल के फाइनेंशियल आस्पेक्ट्स की देख-रेख करता है। जिन्हे मुख्य रुप से निम्नलिखित प्वाइंट्स में संकलित किया जा सकता है-

  • संबद्ध हॉस्पिटल के रोजमर्रा के कामकाज को मैनेज करना।
  • हॉस्पिटल स्टाफ को सुपरवाइज़ करना।
  • हॉस्पिटल के बजट लक्ष्य निर्धारित करना और विशेष मामलों में फंड रेजिंग तथा फीस के इश्यूज में महत्वपूर्ण फैसले लेना।
  • अपने हॉस्पिटल के कामकाज के सिलसिले में अन्य सभी इंस्टीट्यूट्स और दफ्तरों जैसेकि, रेगुलेटरी बॉडीज, प्रेस, सोशल इंस्टीट्यूट्स और साइंटिस्ट्स आदि से बातचीत करना।
  • अपने हॉस्पिटल के लक्ष्यों को पाने के लिए हॉस्पिटल के विभिन्न डिपार्टमेंट्स से कोआर्डिनेट करना और उन्हें जरुरी गाइडेंस देना।

हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन डिग्री होल्डर्स के लिए प्रमुख रिक्रूटिंग इंडस्ट्रीज

  • हेल्थ इंश्योरंस ऑर्गेनाइजेशन्स
  • मेडिकल टूरिज्म कंपनीज
  • डायग्नोस्टिक लेबोरेटरी चेन्स
  • प्राइमरी हेल्थकेयर चेन्स
  • हेल्थ सेक्टर के सोशल एंटरप्राइसेज
  • हेल्थकेयर आईटी
  • हेल्थ से संबद्ध मार्केट रिसर्च ऑर्गेनाइजेशन
  • वेलनेस सेंटर्स
  • भारत में हेल्थकेयर सेक्टर के टॉप रिक्रूटर्स
  • फोर्टिस
  • मैक्स
  • वर्ल्ड हेल्थ ऑर्गेनाइजेशन
  • भारत सरकार
  • आईएमएस हेल्थ
  • AMGEN
  • ओमेगा हेल्थकेयर मैनेजमेंट
  • हेल्थ ट्रेल पोर्टल

हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेशन डिग्री होल्डर्स के लिए कुछ महत्वपूर्ण जॉब प्रोफाइल्स

  1. हॉस्पिटल सीईओ
  2. हॉस्पिटल एडमिनिस्ट्रेटर
  3. हॉस्पिटल सीएफओ
  4. फार्मास्यूटिकल प्रोडक्ट मैनेजर
  5. मेडिकल डिवाइस कंपनियों में प्रोडक्ट मैनेजर
  6. मेडिकल प्रैक्टिस मैनेजर
  7. हेल्थ सेक्टर में डाटा एनालिस्ट
  8. हेल्थ इनफॉर्मेटिक्स मैनेजर

प्लेसमेंट एवं इंटर्नशिप

एसजीटी यूनिर्वसिट का कॉर्पोरेट रिसोर्स सेंटर (सीआरसी) सभी प्रशिक्षण और प्लेसमेंट से संबंधित गतिविधियों का ख्याल रखता है। छात्रों के कॉर्पोरेट रूझान का ध्यान रखते हुए विशेष क्रेडिट पाठ्यक्रम विकसित किए गए हैं, जिसमें सॉफ्ट स्किल डेवेलपमेंट और व्यक्तित्व विकास के सेसन शामिल हैं।

जिसमें संचार कौशल, साक्षात्कार कौशल और ग्रुप डिस्कसन स्किल को विकसित करने पर विशेष ध्यान दिया जाता है, क्योंकि ये आज के पेशेवरों की मूलभूत आवश्यकताएं हैं। इंटर्नशिप सहायता कार्यक्रमों, प्री-प्लेसमेंट कार्यशालाओं, इंडस्ट्रीयल यात्राओं के दौरान छात्रों को विशेषज्ञों द्वारा सफलता के गुरूमंत्र दिए जाते हैं।

एसजीटी यूनिवर्सिटी का प्रमुख उद्देश्य छात्रों को जिज्ञासु, रचनात्मक व आत्मविश्वासी बनाना है ताकि वो एक अलग मुकाम हासिल कर सकें। यहां पर प्रदान की गई शिक्षा के कारण आज हमारे छात्र विश्व में एक अलग पहचान बनाए हुए हैं।

कचारगढ़- जहां विराजमान हैं गोंड आदिवासियों के देवता। वैसे, पूर्व महाराष्ट्र के सीमावर्ती प्रांत में स्थित गोंदिया ज़िले का नाम सुनते ही हर किसी की आंखों के सामने नक्सल प्रभावित क्षेत्र की तस्वीर खड़ी हो जाती है। लेकिन, जैव विविधता से भरपूर मिश्रित जंगलों से घिरे इस क्षेत्र में एक प्राकृतिक आश्चर्य भी है – कचारगढ़ की गुफाएं।

यद्यपि, यह नक्सल प्रभावित क्षेत्र में स्थित एक गुफा है, इसलिए यह क्षेत्र गोंड आदिवासियों के देवता की वजह से आकर्षण का एक बड़ा केंद्र बन गया है। फरवरी महीने में, माघी पूर्णिमा के समय यहां वार्षिक तीर्थयात्रा होती है। उस तीर्थयात्रा में हज़ारों की संख्या में श्रद्धालु हिस्सा लेते हैं।

 

एशिया की सबसे बडी गुफा कचारगढ़ का अंदरूनी भाग

कचारगढ़ एक पवित्र धार्मिक और प्राकृतिक स्थान है, जो सालेकसा तहसील में सालेकसा से 7 किमी की दूरी पर और गोंदिया ज़िला मुख्यालय से 55 किमी दूर पर स्थित है। गोंदिया-दुर्ग रेलवे मार्ग पर स्थित सालेकसा स्टेशन से, दरेकसा-धनेगाव मार्ग होते हुए लोग यहां पहुंचते हैं। दरेकसा मार्ग से कचारगढ़ महज़ सात किलोमीटर की दूरी पर स्थित है ।

यह एक पवित्र धार्मिक स्थान है। अपनी प्राकृतिक सुंदरता की वजह से यह पर्यटकों के आकर्षण का भी बड़ा केंद्र है। इसलिए, यहां पहुंचने वाले आदिवासी भक्तों के साथ अन्य पर्यटक भी बड़ी संख्या में आते हैं। यात्रा के दौरान हर साल लगभग चार लाख भक्त और पर्यटक यहां आते हैं।

इसके अलावा श्रद्धालु और पर्यटक साल भर यहां आते रहते हैं। चूंकि कचारगढ़ गुफा, मध्य प्रांत गोंडवाना के आदिवासियों का प्रमुख श्रद्धा स्थान है, गोंड जनजातियों के लोग यहां दूर-दूर से आते हैं। इस गुफा में अपने पूर्वज तथा आदिवासी गोंड धर्म के संस्थापक पारी कोपार लिंगो और माँ काली कंकाली के दर्शन करने के लिए विभिन्न राज्यों से आदिवासी कोयापूनेम (माघी पूर्णिमा) को कचारगढ़ गुफा में पहुंच जाते हैं ।

कचारगढ़ मेले मे इकट्ठा हुए गोंड जनजाति के लोग

कचारगढ़ पहुंचकर हरी-भरी पर्वत श्रृंखलाएं देखी जा सकती हैं, जो घने जंगलों से घिरी हुई हैं। इन पहाड़ों में एक बड़ी नैसर्गिक गुफा है, जिसे एशिया की सबसे बड़ी प्राकृतिक गुफा माना जाता है। वैसे ये गुफाएं  518 मीटर ऊंचाई पर स्थित हैं। करीब 10 फुट ऊंची, 12 फुट चौड़ी और 20 फुट लंबी प्रारंभिक छोटी गुफा के दाईं ओर की पहाड़ी में बड़ी गुफा स्पष्ट रूप से दिखाई देती है।

आगे चट्टान के शीर्ष पर, लगभग 40 फुट बड़ी गुफा का मुख दिखाई देता है। गुफा का अनुमान बाहर से नहीं लगाया जा सकता। अंदर जाकर ही गुफा के विस्तार का पता चलता है । इसकी संरचना लगभग 25 फुट ऊंची,60 फुट चौड़ी और 100 फुट लंबी है। पहाड़ के एक छेद से प्रकाश की धारा हर वक्त गुफा में बहती रहती है। आसपास के पहाड़ों में भी छोटी गुफाएं हैं,  जहां आदिवासी जनजातियों के प्राचीन देवता – माता जंगो, बाबा जंगो, शंभूसेक और माँ काली कंकाली का वास्तव्य है।

गोंड जनजाति की उत्पत्ति

गोंड जनजातियों के बुज़ुर्गो आमतौर पर यह मानते हैं कि कचारगढ़ में तीन हज़ार साल पहले गोंड जनजाति की उत्पत्ति हुई थी। कहा जाता है कि माता गौरी के 33 पुत्र थे। वह बड़े उपद्रवी थे। इसलिए, एक बार गुस्से में शंभुसेक ने उन्हें कचारगढ़ में एक गुफा में डालकर दरवाज़े पर एक बड़ा पत्थर रख दिया। इस पर माँ काली कंकाली भावुक हो गईं और उसकी आज्ञानुसार किंदरी वादक हिरासुका पाटारी ने अपने संगीत की शक्ति से युवाओं में ऊर्जा पैदा की। तब उन 33 युवकों ने अपनी पूरी शक्ति लगाकर उस पत्थर को ज़ोर का धक्का देकर गिरा दिया और बाहर निकल आए ।

लेकिन, पत्थर के नीचे दबकर संगीतकार पाटारी की मृत्यु हो गई। वे सभी 33 पुत्र उस जगह से चले गए और अन्य प्रदेश में जा बसे। उन्हीं प्रदेशों में उनका वंश आगे बढ़ा। समय के साथ, गोंडी संस्कृति के निर्माता पारी कुपार लिंगो ने उन वंशजों को एक सूत्र में बांधने की कोशिश की। इसमें 33 वंश और 12 पेन मिलकर बने 750 गोत्र । इन गोत्रों  को एक सूत्र में बांधने को गोंडी भाषा में “कच्चा” कहा जाता है । शायद इसलिए, इस स्थान का नाम कचारगढ़ पड़ा होगा।

इस गुफा को ध्यान से देखने पर लोहे और अन्य खनिजों के कच्चे अवशेष दिखाई देते हैं। हो सकता है इसलिए भी इस स्थान को नाम ‘कचारगढ़’ के नाम से जाना जाता हो। कचारगढ़, जो हज़ारों वर्षों से गुमनामी के अभिशाप में घिरा हुआ था, आखिरकार    यह आदिवासी संस्कृति के शोधकर्ताओं और इतिहासकारों की नज़रों में आया। उन्होंने इस स्थान को खोजा और इसका अध्ययन किया और इस नतीजे पर पहुंचे कि यहीं गोंड आदिवासियों का मूलस्थान है।

कचारगढ़ गुफाओं की खोज

ऐसी भी मान्यता है कि गोंड जनजाति का उद्गमस्थल उत्तर दिशा के पहाड़ों में स्थित है, जिसे  ‘काचिकोपा लोहागढ़’ के नाम से जाना जाता था । किंतु यह स्थल कहां है? इसके बारे में  कोई ठोस जानकारी अब तक नहीं है। कुछ लोग इसका स्थान हिमालय, कुछ पचमढ़ी और कुछ दरेकसा के पहाड़ो में बताते थे।

यह स्थान गोंड आदिवासी समूहों की मौखिक कथाओं और परम्पराओं में भी जीवित रहा है। कचारगढ़ गुफाओं के स्थान का विवरण, समय के साथ लुप्त हो गया था। सन 1980 के दशक में, आदिवासी विद्यार्थी संघ के युवा आदिवासी छात्रों ने इसकी खोज शुरू की थी। कहानियों में दिए गए वर्णन के मुताबिक,  उन्होंने गुफा की तलाश में गोंदिया ज़िले के कचारगढ़ की पहाड़ियों को खंगालना शुरू किया गया था।

लेखक मोतीरावन कंगाली सहित एक समूह ने, सालेकसा के पास इस बड़ी गुफा को खोज लिया था, जिसकी छत में एक बड़ा छेद था। गुफा के प्रवेश द्वार के पास एक बड़ा शिलाखंड है। जिसे देख कर लगता है जैसे उसे एक तरफ धकेल दिया गया हो। उसी खोज के बाद से, एक वर्ष की तीर्थयात्रा या कचारगढ़ गढ़ यात्रा आरंभ हो गई। उसी दौरान गोंड लोग अपने मूल पूर्वजों को अत्यधिक सुशोभित पालकी के रूप में लाते हैं – अपने संस्कार स्थल पर जाते हैं और अपने पूर्वजों को श्रद्धांजलि देते हैं।

कचारगढ़ यात्रा का प्रारंभ

आज से 36 साल पहले गोंडी धर्माचार्य स्व. मोतीरावण कंगाली, शोधकर्ता के.बी. मरसकोल्हे , गोंड राजा वासुदेव शहा टेकाम, दादा मरकाम, सुन्हेरसिंह ताराम जैसे लोग कचारगढ़ आए। 1984 में माघ पूर्णिमा के अवसर पर, पांच आदिवासी गोंड लोगों ने धने गांव के प्रांगण में गोंडी धर्म का झंडा फहराकर कचारगढ़ यात्रा की शुरुआत की । आज, कचारगढ़ यात्रा में बहुत बडा जमावड़ा होता है और हर साल लगभग चार से पांच लाख भक्त माघ पूर्णिमा पर इस यात्रा में सम्मिलित होते हैं। कचारगढ़ यात्रा मध्य भारत की सबसे बड़ी भव्य यात्रा है।

गोंड़वाना एक विशाल भौगोलिक क्षेत्र है और गोंड जनजाति छोटे समूहों में गोंड़वाना के पूरे जंगल में फैली हुई है। इसके अलावा वे नाटक या पारंपरिक नृत्य करते हैं । जिससे उनके स्थान और समूह की संस्कृति की छवि सामने आता है। जब इतनी बड़ी संख्या में लोग, इतनी महत्वपूर्ण जगह पर जमा होते हैं तो इस अवसर पर, यहां कई बड़े निर्णय भी लिये जाते हैं।

उदाहरण के लिए, पिछले कुछ वर्षों में, जनजाति ने उद्योग के लिए जंगल से बांस को नहीं काटने देने का फैसला किया था, जो महत्वपूर्ण कदमों में से एक था। सभी देवताओं के अलावा, वे जंगल से भी अपनी सुरक्षा एवं कल्याण के लिए प्रार्थना करते हैं।

कचारगढ़ मेले में गोंड जनजातियों का पारंपरिक नृत्य

कचारगढ़ मेले में गोंड जनजातियों का पारंपरिक नृत्य होता है। आदिवासियों का यह मानना है कि गोंडी संस्कृति के रचनाकार शंभु, गौरा, पहाड़ी कुपार लिंगो, संगीत सम्राट हिरसुका पाटालीर, 33 कोट सगापेन और 12 पेन एवं 750 कुल, सल्ला गांगरा शक्ति यहां स्थित हैं। यह गोंडी धर्म की आस्था और विश्वास है कि उनकी  आत्माएं  यहां के घने जंगलों की गुफाओं में निवास करती हैं।

Disha Ravi and all variations of her names have been the highlight of every news and social media channel in the country.

Now that angry young woman Greta Thunberg has tweeted in support of the young climate activist, the debate is sure to generate even more TRP and so dominate the newsrooms of big media houses where some poor intern would be forced to draw convoluted conclusions and connections between the Khalistani Movement, the farmers protest, a Swedish climate change activist and a young 20 – something-year-old languishing in jail for daring to help spread awareness about an issue in the international media.

image: Facebook

To Clear The Air, The Undisputed Facts Of The Case Are:

On 3rd February 2021, Greta Thunberg echoed a tweet by international pop sensation Rihanna on the farmers’ protest and expressed solidarity with them. She further shared a ‘toolkit’, a document that listed all the handles to be tagged and websites that could be referred to for more information on the topic.

Sounds innocent enough, right?

Well, the right-wing disagrees. Alarmed by the sudden international awareness of the topic, or perhaps finding a silver lining in the form of a chance to completely deviate the public’s attention away from the issue at hand, allegations of the toolkit being an anti-national document perpetrating hate against the country and misinformation about the protest along with spreading a Khalistani agenda spread like wildfire.

The Delhi Police subsequently did, what it does best, file an FIR against the makers of the document.

On February 14, 2021, Disha Ravi was arrested from her home in Bangalore. She was remanded to five-day police custody. Two days later, on a case filed by her lawyers, Disha was allowed by the court to meet her lawyers for 30 minutes every day, talk to her parents for 15 minutes, and some warm clothes and a home-cooked meal as well as given a copy of the FIR registered against her.

On February 19, after the expiry of her 5 days of judicial custody, Disha was sent to a 3 days Judicial Custody. She’d approached the court for bail and she got out on bail.

The charges against her reportedly include Sections 124A, sedition; 153A, promoting hatred amongst various communities on social/cultural/religious grounds; and 120B, criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code. She has also been accused of having Khalistani connections and plotting to “promote disaffection against the Indian state.”

Disha Ravi spent 10 days in custody in Delhi after being detained in Bangalore. Photo: Reuters

Rules That Were Broken During The Facilitation Of The Arrest And Custody

In Sandeep Kumar vs. The State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), the Delhi High Court laid down guidelines to be followed in an interstate arrest which state that in case of an arrest made by the police in another state, the police must first inform the local police and confer with them with regard to their purpose of visit and inform them of the impending arrest. Further, the accused must be produced before the ‘nearest’ magistrate within 24 hours.

The accused has a right to consult his or her lawyer before being taken from the state. Further, a transit remand must be obtained from the magistrate after he or she has examined to the full satisfaction that arrest is legal and warranted.

The accused must be arrested by officers in full uniform, bearing all tags with clear and accurate information.

In the present case, the Bengaluru Police, far from being consulted, was not even informed of Disha’s arrest till she was on a plane to Delhi.

The police conveniently circumvented the provision of mandatorily producing Disha before the nearest magistrate by formally recording her arrest in Delhi and not in Bengaluru. The Supreme Court has however held arrest to mean ‘physical restraint put on a person as a result of an allegation or accusation that he has committed a crime’.

It is also reported that Disha was arrested by plainclothes officers who did not inform her family of the details of her arrest.

Also read: Extraordinary Laws In Extraordinary Times: UAPA, Sedition Laws, Instead Of Health Policies?

Violation Of Natural Justice?

Several renowned and senior lawyers have criticised the arrest, calling the Police’s actions unlawful. Senior Advocate Rebecca John, who was following the procedure, in a Facebook post, questioned why the Magistrate disregarded the fact that Disha Ravi did not have adequate representation while remanding her to five-day judicial custody.

John also questioned why the Magistrate did not raise questions on why Disha was brought directly to Delhi, without any kind of transit remand from Bangalore or examine her arrest memo and case diaries.

The fact that Disha Ravi did not have adequate legal representation violates the very basic principles of natural justice along with her fundamental rights and decades-long legal precedent. In a time where the integrity of the Indian Judiciary is in question, this is a worrying fact. It is being alleged that the crime branch deliberately sabotaged Disha’s legal representation by providing them misinformation about the court where Disha was produced. Similar allegations had been made in the arrests of Safoora Zargar and Munawar Faruqui.

The order of the magistrate to five-day police custody has also raised questions. According to Rule 8 of the Delhi High Court Rules, an accused should be remanded to as short police custody as possible. Geeta Luthra also expressed concern about the duration of the police remand.

This whole episode seems to be another addition to a series of recent arrests by the police in various states where the accused were booked quite often under draconian laws, without following the due process and later, upon a proper inquiry by the court, acquitted and released. Case in point the arrest, detention, violation of rights and subsequent release of Dr Kafeel Khan and  Munawar Faruqui.

It is quite clear that the magistrate failed to apply a judicial mind to the case and Disha Ravi has become a martyr to the active persecution of dissenters by the government. Though not new in the NDA regime, with the UPA government liberally misusing laws to silence dissenters, the recent rise in the cases of people being booked under draconian laws, denied basic rights is nothing if not a testament to the abuse of law the establishment is employing in order to dissuade dissent.

Also read: Are We In Danger Of Heading Into An Era Of Yellow Journalism?

A very effective way to crush protest among the youth is to make their families afraid. If Greta Thunberg was an Indian, her parents would’ve relocated, changed her name and identity and banned her from social media for fear of their safety but not before she would’ve been called a terrorist and riddled with threats of assault and rape, and all her personal information doxed online, the favourite weapon of the right-wing.

The irony is, the whole chain of events is being touted as an attempt by foreign “anti-national” elements to malign India’s image in the international community. By Disha Ravi’s arrest and the manner of it, India has proven that it doesn’t need any foreign elements to malign its image, it’s domestic actors are quite adequate at the task, with a very clear and open message being sent across the world “We will crush dissent”.

Dear All,

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, especially from March 2020, the entire education system shifted to the online mode overnight. It was a luxury for many, while a lot were left struggling. No. I am not just talking about the ones who are not financially well off. I am also talking about the ones whose families have been affected by COVID because the virus didn’t discriminate. Those families have students too.

Currently, the COVID toll stands at:

114,000,595 active cases and 2,529,593 deaths, globally.

In India, 11,079,979 active cases and counting, and 156,970 deaths.

We all know these aren’t JUST numbers. But what do we REALLY KNOW?

Asking (rather, forcing in many cases) students to attend classes, study, and work during a time they should be grieving and taking care of their family at home, that too, when there is an option NOT to, is just downright inhuman. Do people really have a voice to stand up for themselves at a time like that? All while being threatened and shamed for not being able to cope and for being unable to adhere to deadlines because that’s just how the world functions? Or being told that institution protocols cannot be changed according to individual students? All this just to show the world that they are functioning just fine, despite the pandemic and taking pride in it. Despite the fact that people are falling sick and losing loved ones.

Representative image.

To date, it cannot be said for certain how the virus is going to affect the body. It sure is leaving the body weak. Only the ones who have had to attend long-distance funerals know how difficult it is. First, it was hunting for hospital beds, now it was the body not returning home. Not being able to cry, attending phone calls, talking and hearing about a dead person the entire day because you were at home.

No. All that does not matter. Why should it? A system cannot be changed, and people have to adjust accordingly. Everyone has family issues. Deal with it. It’s the new normal. Well, I cannot see what’s normal in all this. Can you?

There are many for whom their home is not a home, those with dysfunctional families, abusive households. Then there is the declining mental health from having been indoors for almost 11 months now. Why should we care? We are okay. 

But if you do care, PLEASE, speak up. Stand up for the ones who can’t, for the ones whose voices have been thwarted over time, for the ones who have become victims of COVID, for the ones with family members in ICU or worse, dead. Stand up against the ones who have the power and our money, against the ones trying to show the planet that they are ‘functioning’ as they were supposed to despite the pandemic, and taking pride in that fact, against all those universities, schools and institutions who are treating their students and staff members inhumanely. Because there is power in numbers.

And I can’t do it alone. Not anymore. I am done. Depleted.

Sincerely,

An over-exhausted student.

Representative image.

If this resonated with you, if you’ve seen acquaintances struggling, or you weren’t given the time you needed, you and your family members had to struggle because of COVID-19 (which still is widespread), or if you just agree with even bits of it, do share ahead. Maybe it will help generate a wider discussion as to what can be done because things do need to SLOW DOWN. Maybe it will reach the hands of the ones who are putting money above being human. As far as I know, I am definitely not alone. I hope.

Here are the social media links to the same if you choose to share publicly:

1. Instagram

2. Twitter

3. Reddit

4. Reddit

I have tried very really hard on my own to the point of feeling empty. I am used up. I can’t anymore. Alone, my voice reached ignorant ears.

Why should you care? Because it could very well have been your family instead of mine.

Also read: Even As Covid Cases Rise In India, Many Continue With Their ‘Paawri’ 

चुनाव आयोग की घोषणा के बाद कोरोना काल में 18 करोड़ मतदाता और कुल 824 विधानसभा सीटों पर नई लोकतांत्रिक सरकार चुनने की प्रक्रिया शुरू हो चुकी है। जिन राज्यों में चुनाव होने हैं, वह भारत की विविधता के सामाजिक संस्कृति के परिचायक हैं। फिर चाहे बंगाली भाषी समाज हो या असमिया भाषी समाज या तमिल और मलयाली भाषी समाज सभी की सभ्यता संस्कृति एक-दूसरे से बिल्कुल ही अलग है।

इन चारों राज्यों में सबसे लंबी चुनावी प्रक्रिया पश्चिम बंगाल में आठ चरणों में चलने वाली है, जहां सबसे बड़ा चुनावी दंगल भी है। इसमें कोई दो राय नहीं है कि मात्र तीन विधायक का दम रखने वाली भारतीय जनता पार्टी ममता दीदी के सामने जिस तरह की चुनौती पेश कर रही है, वह बहुत अधिक आश्वर्यजनक है।

यह भी सच है कि ममता दीदी के पार्टी से टूटे विधायक भारतीय जनता पार्टी को विशेष आत्मविश्वास दे रहे हैं। भारतीय जनता पार्टी को यह आत्मविश्वास लोकसभा चुनाव में अपने प्रदर्शन से भी मिला है। परंतु, उनका सारा आत्मविश्वास ममता बर्नजी के सामने कोई स्थानीय मज़बूत चेहरा नहीं मिलने पर खोखला सा भी दिखता है।

मां, माटी और मानुष बंगाल की राजनीति में अहम पहलू

“मां, माटी, मानुष” के नारे पर राजनीति करने वाली ममता दीदी ने अब की बार चुनावों में स्वयं को बंगाल की बेटी के तौर पर पेश तो कर दिया है। पर, बंगाल में मां दुर्गा का किला भेद कर भगवान राम के नाम पर हिंदुत्व की राजनीति करने वाली भाजपा ने अभी तक बंगाली मानुष के नाम की घोषणा तक नहीं की है।

वह जरूर अभिनेता मिथुन चक्रवर्ती, क्रिकेटर सौरव गांगुली और अन्य बड़ी बंगाली हस्तियों को अपने पाले में दिखा रही है। पर, इन चेहरों पर पश्विम बंगाल की जनता का विश्वास बनना मुश्किल है। इसलिए सबको साथ लेकर चलने वाली तर्ज पर प्रधानमंत्री के नाम पर चुनाव लड़ा जा रहा है।

यह एक नया मॉडल है, जिसे पश्चिम बंगाल के लोगों ने भी अभी तक नहीं देखा है। सिद्धांत शंकर रे से लेकर ज्योति बसु और उसके बाद ममता बर्नजी तक के दौर में हमेशा से पश्चिम बंगाल के चुनाव में मुख्यमंत्री का चेहरा कौन होगा? यह पश्चिम बंगाल की जनता देखती आ रही है।

मुस्लिम बाहुल्य क्षेत्रों का चुनावों में महत्व

पश्चिम बंगाल के इस चुनाव में ममता दीदी के खिलाफ सत्ता विरोधी रुझान कितना है, यह तो चुनावों के परिणाम में पता चलेगा कि कांग्रेस और वाम मोर्चे और भाजपा कितनी सीटों पर सेंध लगा पाती है। इसके साथ-साथ पश्चिम बंगाल में रहने वाले 31 फीसदी मुस्लिम मतदाता जो कमोबेश सौ से अधिक सीटों पर प्रभाव रखते हैं, वे “किंग मेकर” की भूमिका का निर्वहन कर सकते हैं।

पश्चिम बंगाल चुनाव में हिंदुत्व की राजनीति के प्रयोग से मुस्लिम मतदाता दोराहे पर खड़ा है, जिसका फायदा लेने के लिए ओवैसी की पार्टी भी अपने दांव पेंच लगाना चाहती है। पश्चिम बंगाल चुनाव में अब्बास सिद्दीकी और ओवैसी की पार्टी का एक साथ में आना एक बड़ा उलट-फेर कर सकता है। यह गठबंधन कांग्रेस के मतदाताओं को भी अपने तरफ आकर्षित कर सकती है। 

बड़े राजनीतिक दल ही नहीं, यहां तक कि क्षेत्रीय पार्टियां भी मुस्लिम मतदाताओं में मौजूद बैचेनी को पकड़ने में नाकामयाब रही हैं। यही कारण है कि ओवैसी की पार्टी धीरे-धीरे कई राज्यों में अपना वोट प्रतिशत मजबूत कर कुछ सीट भी निकाल लेती है तो उनकी पार्टी को वोटकटवा कहा जाने लगता है।

बांग्ला भाषा का ना आना अन्य राजनीतिक दलों की की सबसे बड़ी चुनौती

पश्चिम बंगाल के चुनाव में ओवैसी की पार्टी एआइएमआइएम का अपना पूरा दम मुर्शिदाबाद जिले की  22 विधानसभा सीटों पर होगा। जहां मुस्लिम आबादी का कमोबेश 47 लाख मतदाता अपने मतों का प्रयोग करता है। वैसे, इस इलाके में एआइएमआइएम के वरिष्ठ नेताओं के लिए बांग्ला भाषा भी एक बड़ी बाधा मतदाताओं से जनंसम्पर्क के दौरान हो सकती है।

इस इलाके में किसानों के बीच उनकी पकड़ अधिक मजबूत नहीं है। भले ही वह स्कूल-कॉलेज और मुस्लिम मध्यवर्ग के बीच लोकप्रिय है। ओवेसी और उनका गठबंधन किंग मेकर होगा या नहीं, यह 2 मई को परिणाम आने पर ही तय होगा। पर पश्चिम बंगाल के चुनाव हर राजनीतिक दल के माथे पर पसीना जरूर ला देंगे। कुल मिलाकर ,अब की बार पश्चिम बंगाल में सबसे बड़ा सियासी दंगल है, जिसकी शुरुआत लोकसभा चुनाव के समय से हो गई थी और अंत 2 मई के चुनावी परिणाम के बाद देखने को मिलेगा।

Feminism in Everyday Life means different things to different people. To Dr Martha Farrell it was about identifying the gender stereotypes around us, and chipping away at them. Small actions become big actions which become big changes in our societies. And that was her goal. 

Her work in women’s empowerment and gender justice began in 1981. Newly graduated from Delhi University and entering the development sector, Dr Farrell set off on a 34-year-long journey towards equality and equity. But it was cut short in 2015, while Dr Farrell was visiting Kabul. Armed terrorists attacked the guest house she was staying in, killing her and 13 other people. 

The loss was deeply felt. But what took centre-stage was the effort to make sure the feminist leader’s values and principles lived on. And that came with the Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment. There are many Indians like Martha who hold those principles close. And it was time to recognise their efforts.

Dr Martha Farrell. Image courtesy of Martha Farrell Foundation.

Feminism in Everyday Life means different things to different people. And it leads to different actions for social change. Over the last five years, we’ve discovered five organisations from across India that truly demonstrate Martha’s ideas. And here are their stories:

Rural And Environmental Development Society

When Cheruvu Bhanuja first met Lakshmi Devi in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, the latter was struggling with an unforgiving situation. At 15, Lakshmi had been married to an alcoholic who eventually left her to fend for herself. 

For Lakshmi and other women like her, Bhanuja arranged for a plot of land that would provide the economic independence they needed. They weren’t just cultivating groundnuts, tomatoes, and other produce. They were learning about share purchasing processes, share capital, and the entire process of food production.

Bhanuja founded Rural and Environmental Development Society (REDS) in 1996. And for the last 25 years, the grassroots organisation has remained committed to gender equality in its work with communities. But it does something else that’s equally vital – it also walks the talk. What could be better than leading by example? And internally, REDS has indeed set a good one.

To create a gender-fair workplace and ensure gender equity, REDS follows a non-negotiable policy. 50% of our registered executive body women,” says Bhanuja, adding that “more than 50% of staff members are women as well.” REDS has made it compulsory for its women members to be part of all its decision-making processes.

And that’s what won REDS the Martha Farrell Award in 2020.

Cheruvu Bhanuja at the 4th Martha Farrell Award Ceremony, accepting the award for Best Organization for Gender Equality. Source: Martha Farrell Foundation.

Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti

Why should parents stop girls from playing football? And if they permit it, why should they wear ‘modest’ and sport-unfriendly salwar kurtas while playing? Why don’t daughters get the same treatment and opportunities as sons? What kind of a life has society forced upon them? These were the burning questions that the girls in Tonk, Ajmer, and Bhilwara always wanted to ask, but couldn’t. Until Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti (MJAS) created a safe space for them to speak their minds and raise their voices for gender equality. 

Registered as an organisation in 2000, its founding members are all too aware of the oppressive patriarchal world young girls grow up in. “We are Dalit women who have faced untouchability and discrimination. We are survivors of domestic violence and sexual harassment,” says Co-Founder Bhavri Bai.

Even as they looked at these realities in the eye, the women of MJAS refused to back down. Who better to empower the next generation? At its core, the organisation pursues feminist leadership. 

And in 2019, they won the Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment.

Members of the Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, with Indira Pancholi on the extreme right. Source: MJAS/Facebook.

Majlis Legal Centre

It’s no secret that the judicial system, at nearly every level, is hard on women. Double victimization of women survivors of violence is routine in Indian courts. There is fear about taking action, be it filing a police complaint against a molester (often being turned away!), or repeated appearances in court under the gaze of insensitive lawyers and magistrates. What’s needed is a feminist approach to law. And that’s exactly what our 2017 winner Majlis Legal Centre is doing. 

The Mumbai-based organisation has an all-women team, and fully feminist policies to support each member. Apart from its work in the outside world, Majlis looks within to create a fair and equal environment. The Centre provides different modes of working for employees who have small children or have recently given birth. Having options like part-time, flexi-time, or work-from-home is proven to help women not only remain in the workforce and gain an income but also encourages the entry of more women. 

All law organisations have policies like these. And why stop there? Majlis Legal Centre has set a great example for organisations of all kinds.

Members of Majlis Legal Centre, with Founder Flavia Agnes at the centre. Source: Majlis Law Newsletter.

Resource And Support Centre For Development

The Martha Farrell Award brought onto our radar an organisation with very impressive leadership. The Resource and Support Centre for Development (RSCD) has been working on women’s representation in Panchayats since 1994. They run a campaign called Mahila Rajsatta Andolan all across the state of Maharashtra to make women’s wholehearted participation in governance a reality. And if change starts at home, RSCD has made sure its goal of gender equality and equity is reflected in its organizational structure. 

Both senior leadership and district teams are made up entirely of women. And when the teams are in the field, they train all-male sarpanches and panches on gender and governance. These interventions are crucial to change the male-dominated landscape of local-level administration.

No doubt about it; the famous feminist slogan “the personal is the political” is infused in RSCD’s work.

Women of the Mahila Rajsatta Andolan in Wardha. Source: RSCDINDIA/Facebook.

Association For Social And Human Awareness (ASHA)

In 2020, the Martha Farrell Foundation introduced for the first time the ‘Special Jury Award’, which went to this very-deserving Ranchi-based organisation. Fondly called ASHA, the Association for Social and Human Awareness has led the fight against witch-hunting in rural Jharkhand. There are innumerable cases of individuals accusing a ‘wayward’ woman of witchcraft.

The charges are mostly levelled against Adivasi women. A manifestation of our society’s misogynistic and undeniably casteist attitudes, it doesn’t take long for entire communities to violently attack the woman. The crime is, more often than not, fatal. In a state with frequent witch-hunting, ASHA’s work is critical. 

ASHA Founder Ajay Jaiswal and Chhutni Devi pose for a photograph smiling
Ajay Jaiswal, the founder of ASHA, poses for a photographer with activist and anti-witch hunting crusader Chhutni Devi, who also recently won the Padma Bhushan (January 2021). Source: Association of Social and Human Awareness/Facebook.

Who Next?

The year is now 2021, and the 5th Martha Farrell Award is on the horizon. Do you know of individuals and organisations like these that has dedicated the past five years or more to make the world a more feminist and gender-just place? Is there a gender champion in your city who deserves more attention? We want to know all about them. Help us identify this year’s Award winners and participate in the nomination process!

Faces and logos of the 10 individuals and organisations that won the Martha Farrell Award, between 2017 and 2020.

Write to mfa@marthafarrellfoundation.org to receive the nomination forms. 

Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, marital rape

In recent news, Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde asked the rapist if he’d marry the victim on March 1, 2021. He was hearing the petition for protection from the arrest of a man accused of stalking, tying up, gagging, repeatedly raping a minor school going girl, and threatening to douse her in petrol and set her alight, to hurl acid at her, and to have her brother killed. Stating that the facts of the case are that the rape came to light when the minor school-going victim attempted suicide.

This has once again triggered the long-time debate over Marital rape in the week of International women’s day.

Representational image.

The question here is, why do such compromises happen?

Every day the newspaper is full of heinous Rape incidents. Although so much has been done for stricter rape laws, rape is considered terrible only because the dignity of women is always considered underneath the prevalent patriarchy thoughts of our society. Denying agency of consent to women; the trauma of their oppression and harassment and inhuman behaviour are not considered to be the basis for claiming rape. Instead, the insecurity of losing the dignity of women and their families in society makes it heinous.

In the case of marital rape, the honour of dignity is always put on the women shoulders. This is the reason why it is difficult to think of marital rape as a heinous crime in Indian society. The bond considered sacred by our society HAS to be maintained at any cost. The level of your dignity increases because women are more entangled in marital stereotypes and make their insults a very personal matter.

In a statement given by Haribhai Chaudhary, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, reasons for poverty, illiteracy and culture were given as excuses for not criminalising marital rape.

Are we saying that rape is our culture?

Is marriage in India a contract for legal sex, where a man doesn’t need to ask for permission and is free to impose himself on his wife?

The answers lie below in the patriarchal thoughts of people who never want to give women rights to say ‘NO’.

While most of the developed countries have penalised marital rape, India being one of the fastest developing nations doesn’t have a particular law for marital rape.

Marital rape is often referred to as cruelty and domestic violence under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code in which the convict will get a bonus of having less punishment if among clinical he is the husband of the victim and will be sentenced to imprisonment which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

The provision of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under Section 375 is also unfair for married women. It says, “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.” Punishment under this law also varies if the woman who has been raped is the wife of the rapist. The convict shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 2 years with a fine or with both. The only condition is that the girl should not be under the age of 12.

According to data, between 10 to 14% of married women are raped by their husbands in incidents of marital rape. Sexual assault by one’s spouse accounts for approximately 25% of rapes committed in the United States*. The ground for considering rape should be non-consensual sex, harassment, injuries, pain a person has gone through not the dignity or so-called “izzat” that is a stereotype developed by society.

Only if the correct reasons for punishment against rape are understood, the immediate need for marital rape law will be understood. In a country where plenty of misconceptions are generated in the name of culture and religion, we should definitely have a law for consent even after marriage.

Also read: Explained: Why Excluding Marital Rape From Sexual Assault Keeps Modern India Oppressed
*National Violence Against Women Survey, NCJ 172837, Washington, DC: US Department of Justice

The internship and training platform, Internshala, has brought out its annual report on Intern hiring trends.

The key highlight of the report is that despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 in 2020, a surge of 31% was observed in the internships in 2020. Over 1.5 million internship opportunities were posted on Internshala in 2020.

According to the report, the management field saw a maximum number of internships with 45% opportunities in profiles like marketing, business development, sales, digital marketing, branding, customer service, market research, finance, human resources, and operations.

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19 in 2020, a surge of 31% was observed in the internships in 2020. Over 1.5 million internship opportunities were posted on Internshala in 2020. Representational image.

The second most popular field was media at 25% offering internships in profiles including content writing, journalism, editorial, blogging, copywriting, social media marketing, PR, photography, and videography. Following management and media was the field of engineering with 18% internships in fields including but not limited to programming, software development, Android and iOS app development, software testing, CAD design, electrical engineering, IoT, web development, and game development.

Another interesting finding in the report was that a maximum number of internships were posted in metropolitan cities with 37% internships from Delhi, 18% from Mumbai, 12% from Bangalore, 7% from Pune, 5% from Hyderabad, followed by Chennai and Kolkata at 3% each.

As per the report, the average stipend observed in 2020 was INR 6,500 and the maximum stipend offered was INR 98,000. The average stipend saw a drop of INR 500 as compared to 2019. The reason for this drop is consequential to the fact that due to the COVID-19 impact in 2020, the number of internships posted on the platform saw a huge leap. Work-from-home opportunities traditionally offer comparatively less stipend than in-office internships as these involve zero investment in travelling or relocating. This brings us to another interesting fact that out of all the internships posted in 2020, 60% were work-from-home opportunities. As compared to previous years (from 2013 to 2019), this was a huge leap as the maximum percentage of work-from-home internships before this was 25% in the year 2017.

Also read: 5 Internships That Commerce Stream Students Can Pursue

Commenting on the report, the founder and CEO of Internshala, Sarvesh Agrawal said, “2020 was a difficult year for all of us. Considering the challenges raised by COVID-19, it is extremely heartening to see the 31% rise in internships. It is especially encouraging to see how recruiters adapted to the situation as a result of which we saw a steep rise in work-from-home opportunities on the platform. In fact, a lot of employers who posted in-office requirements conducted their hiring process online and allowed their interns to work-from-home deferring their joining till the COVID situation improves”.

Courtesy: Internshala, an internship, fresher jobs, and online training platform. 
Featured image is for representational purposes only.

As the third-largest export sector globally, the tourism industry is severely affected by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. From January to October in 2020, according to UNWTO, the loss in the export revenue from the international tourism sector was recorded at US$ 935 billion, which is ten times larger than the loss of the global economic crisis in 2009.

Expectantly, it will reduce global GDP by 1.5% to 2.8%, affecting both developed and developing countries’ economies and livelihoods. Global GDP would incur an economic loss of US$ 2 trillion. One out of ten people worldwide depends on the tourism industry directly or indirectly, thus exposing 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs to risk due to the decline of international tourists’ arrival by 70% to 75%. Consequently, UNWTO predicts that the tourism industry will bounce back to its 1990s level.

Tourism In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, an island blessed with numerous natural and cultural attractions, was still boosting its international tourism after the Easter Sunday Attack tragedy when the COVID 19 started spreading rapidly worldwide. The country’s economy is US$ 84 billion, and tourism is the third-largest foreign contributes approximately 5% to the national GDP and generate 11% of total employment.

Sri Lanka suspended international tourist arrivals from all countries on 18th March 2020 due to COVID-19 from its source markets- India, United Kingdom, China, Germany, and France. The following graph reveals international arrivals’ movement to Sri Lanka in 2019 and 2020 until the country’s border shutdown.

international arrivals movement to Sri Lanka in 2019 and 2020 until the countrys border shutdown
International arrivals’ movement to Sri Lanka in 2019 and 2020 until the country’s border shutdown.

Sri Lankan government has taken few initiatives to prevent moving the skilled workforce from the vulnerable tourism sector to stable other industries. Initiatives include – offering cash grants, tax relief/extensions, loans/loan repayment support, rules alleviation, license fee waivers for businesses, retraining tourism workers to support the health crisis, and extending the visa period of foreign employees and tourists stranded in Sri Lanka due to port closure are few among them.

Changing Tourism Prospects

Since tourism essentially involves human interaction and movement, the COVID-19 outbreak has a significant impact on the travel behaviour and interests of tourists. The world is now moving to the new normal situation, and tourism has also rejuvenated with many prospects. Therefore, these recent trends and prospects, discussed below, should be considered when planning and implementing new policies and strategies by relevant regulatory bodies and tourism service providers.

Also read: How Coronavirus Pandemic Adds To India’s Economic Woes
  1. Prime focus on health, safety, and hygiene –

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) emphasizes that health, safety, and hygiene will be of prime concern to tourists in a new normal situation.  Tourism suppliers such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents, DMC’s, MICE operators, airlines, cruise lines, and other transport service providers should implement many strategies to ensure the safety, security, and hygiene of their operations to lure tourists.

Additionally, tourists in the new normal era will pay a premium price to the service providers who ensure safety during their tours. On the other hand, WTO and other governing authorities have set new protocols to be followed and therefore, tourism service providers are obliged to provide necessary facilities to tourists such as mandatory room and public area disinfections, provision of hand sanitisers, maintain proper ventilation, and effective screening and crisis communication procedures etc.

  • Sustainability as the New Normal

According to WTO, sustainability must be the new norm for every aspect of tourism. At the COVID 19 recovery stage, the governments and other relevant authorities should consider introducing new economic, socially, and environmentally sustainable tourism models. WTO’s The One Planet Sustainable Tourism Program, Hilton’s Travel with Purpose Program, Programs of Tourism Cares, Impact Travel Alliance are few examples of how the world is embarking on sustainably restarting tourism.

The entire sector, including tourism service providers, travellers, local communities, and regulatory bodies, should make an extra and conscious effort to support and ensure sustainability through abiding by health and safety protocols, supporting local communities, protecting culture and heritage, educating travellers on sustainable behaviours, preserving the natural environment, and many more.

  • Travel in small groups avoiding crowded places

The demand for mass tourism will not be the same in this new normal era. In the initial recovery stage, the potential tourists may travel in smaller groups to avoid crowded destinations. Travelling with family members or close friends using private guides, drivers, and vehicles will give them a sense of confidence and security.

On the other hand, it gives travellers the benefit of last-minute amendments or cancellations by the service providers quickly than for larger travel groups. Providing free cancellations and flexible presale bookings to tourists is paramount in this uncertain condition after experiencing the biggest pandemic in modern history. Further, the airline sector will experience an increased demand for direct flights or direct connectivity to destinations over transit flights to ensure minimum contact and lower transmission possibility.

  • Role of slow tourism

Slow Tourism where tourists stay in one destination for a long time; will be a new trend in the post COVID era. In such tourism, travellers interact with fewer people without feeling overwhelmed by restrictions and fear. The concepts such as community-based tourism, rural tourism, and homestay tourism have a significant role in slow tourism, highlighting quality over quantity while encouraging sustainable tourism practices.

  • Technology will be essential- not an optional

Technology is essential for every traveller to enable contactless solutions. Along with the new technological solutions, security concerns in digital services and identity protections have also been increased among travellers. The digital assistance with human interfaces such as self-check-in and check-out, contactless paying methods, mobile apps, mobile room keys, robotic maids, in-room technologies for entertainment and e-shopping, and virtual tours etc. will increase the comfort and confidence of travellers in post COVID era.

  • Thriving through Domestic Tourism

Due to international travel restrictions still prevailing, the bounce-back of international tourism is not in sight. The countries with high tourism-dependent economies have commenced promoting domestic tourism to lead the recovery of their tourism sectors.  Introducing domestic tourism promotional campaigns, loosen restrictions, and gradually lifting lockdowns are motivating people to travel again.

According to WTO, Malaysia allocated US$ 113 million worth of travel discount vouchers and personal tax relief of up to US$ 227 for encouraging domestic tourism. Costa Rica has moved all their holidays of 2020 and 2021 into Mondays to enjoy long weekends to travel domestically. France also has launched a campaign called #CetÉtéJeVisiteLaFrance (‘This Summer, I visit France’) highlighting diverse destinations across France. However, highly tourism dependant countries may not be able to fill the gap by domestic tourism.

  • Crowd Management

Health and safety is the biggest concern for travellers in the new normal situation, tourism regulatory bodies will incorporate many measures to avoid overcrowding.  Smart Tourism, which involves information and communication technology, will significantly benefit crowd control, screening, and crowd management in tourism destinations. Further, it will monitor and trace the travellers’ movement.

Recovery And Resilience

At the recovery stage, numerous actions are to be put in place to ensure the destinations are safe to travel. Rebuilding consumer trust and confidence is paramount to protect not only travellers but also all the stakeholders in the tourism industry. To reassure the trust and confidence of travellers, the Sri Lankan government; Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has taken many initiatives listed below.

  • Introducing a comprehensive operational guideline with health protocols
  • Issuing  COVID-19 safety compliance certification for hotels by SLTDA
  • Introducing All-inclusive Sri Lanka Tourism App
  • Working closely with the Ministry of Defense
  • Obtaining “Safe Travel” Stamp issue by the World Travel and Tourism Council

Regional cooperation towards the industry’s restoration is vital since the travellers will begin to explore regional countries in the second recovery phase.  Formal regional partnerships with neighbouring countries allow governments to focus on the next recovery level by sharing the lessons learned. Understanding travellers’ new behavioural patterns and sharing them among regional and international levels is also vital in the post COVID era.

Further, establishing travel bubbles; travel corridors or air bridges, will establish a safe zone between two countries or among a group of counties. Source markets will be highly benefited from travel bubbles and thus, Sri Lanka can consider their major source markets. Additionally, over time, facilitating and improving accessibility for international tourists can be considered by removing visa restrictions, improving access infrastructure (roads, ports, rail, and air), aviation deregulation, and easing border crossing formalities.

However, only after ensuring the control of spreading the COVID 19 virus through effective measurements, Sri Lanka tourism can pay attention to applying recovery strategies to all the possible source markets despite whether there is a travel bubble.  The existing Europe market, Middle East market and other possible potential markets can be strategically approached thereafter.

However, one can’t deny that the social distancing rule and other health instructions must be followed for a long time until a successful vaccine against the virus becomes available.

Also read: Economic Impasse in Himachal Pradesh: Tourism And Orchards Struggling To Stay Afloat

*Maheshika Dissanayake is a senior lecturer at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI)

A passion for exploring and understanding the technicalities behind enticing, user friendly, and problem-solving apps, could be easily converted into an employable skill through advanced Android app development training. Noticing the growing popularity of mobile apps among users, mastering app development skills would certainly guarantee your employability and bring a gamut of career opportunities to choose from. 

However, before finalising Android app development as a career path and selecting a training program to learn it, an undergraduate, graduate, or employee looking for a career change must know what the expectations, demands, trends, skills, and responsibilities in the field look like. 

Let’s take a look at some important details that can help build your knowledge as a beginner before you venture into the field of Android app development. 

a person holding a phone in their hand

Why Learn Android App Development? 

The convenience of communication, self-expression, entertainment, and awareness and the ease of performing essential daily tasks like paying bills, navigation, calculation, learning, shopping, and making online transactions, anytime from anywhere, is only possible with well-built apps. An android operating system runs on numerous devices of different brands and is thus largely popular among users, developers, and brands. 

Android app developers and brands work closely to design innovative, easy to use, and informative mobile apps that can attract the brand’s targeted customers. To increase customer conversion, retention, and loyalty, Android apps should have advanced features such as push notifications, feedback system, social integration, personalisation, augmented reality, indoor maps, payment gateway, advanced analytics, barcode scanner, business contact details, and complete security. And, these features could only be built by expert app developers. Customers’ growing dependency on mobile apps and brands’ willingness to develop world-class applications is leading to a surge in job opportunities for Android app developers. Knowledge of this open-source and easy-to-learn operating system featuring a huge customer base could help you find lucrative job opportunities across different industries. 

In-Demand Skills For Android App Development 

For constant career growth in the field of Android app development, proficiency in technical skills is a must. Knowledge of Kotlin (or Java programming language) and its components including variables and operators, strings, functions and arrays, conditions, loops and lists, and understanding of errors and exceptions, inheritance and interfaces, and classes in Kotlin is important. 

Also read: Wondering How To Apply For That Job Opening? This Program Will Get You Started!

Knowledge of Android studio, backend programming skills, material design guidelines, XML, Git, SQL, and Android SDK concepts are a few other technical skills that employers usually look for while hiring Android app developers. As app developers usually work with different departments and understand and integrate their ideas into the product, soft skills such as communication skills, teamwork, listening, writing, problem-solving, strategic thinking, analysing, and passion for their work is extremely important. As an Android app developer, you will work in an ever-changing environment and thus, knowledge of trends in Android, competitors’ behaviour, new and obsolete technologies, and customer requirements should also be kept in mind. 

Everyday Responsibilities And Career Opportunities In The Field 

You can work as a volunteer, intern, freelancer, part-time, or a full-time employee with a start-up, MNC, or even for your own business, as an Android app developer. On a regular basis, you would focus on designing, developing, maintaining, improving, and testing apps keeping user experience in mind. You will enhance the apps’ interface, deal with bugs timely, and code a lot. A balance of creativity and simplicity would be required to ensure that the app is exactly what the brand/ or your client demands. You will collaborate with different team members time-to-time for suggestions, ideas, and feedback, work with databases and APIs, implement unit tests, and make sure that the app is up-to-date with the new technological advancements. 

However, if you plan to start your own business and build an Android app, you will have to do various other tasks adding to the above-mentioned ones. You will have to choose a problem, think of the best solution, and then solve it through your app. The solution must be unique and if it is not, it must be more efficient than the ones being provided by your competitors. You will have to research and choose your target market, define the elevator pitch, decide whether to build a native, hybrid or web app, know the monetization options, and build a marketing strategy for pre and post-launch. You will also work on the plan for Google store optimisation and privacy and security policy in the app. 

The acquired technical and soft-skills would allow you to work in roles like Android app developer, Android development engineer, AI/ML android app developer, Android app tester, game developer, UI developer, Android OS engineer, or development engineer – Android, GUI designer, application programmer. Other than landing these lucrative job roles in the field of Android, Kotlin skills can also be used in cross-platform shared logic, web development, backend development, Kotlin native, and data science. 

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (www.trainings.internshala.com) – e-learning platform to learn new-age skills from Internshala. 

Trigger Warning: Mention Of Sexual Violence

“Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world .” – Tian Wei

Our country has progressed a lot in the past few decades, be it in terms of technology or economy, we are giving a tough competition to the developed countries of the world. And not surprising we are also giving tough competition to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, etc when it comes to being the most unsafe/dangerous country for women in the world. In fact, according to a survey done by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2018, India was ranked as the most dangerous country for women in the world.

Representative image.

This should not be surprising to us because this is the same country where girls are married off at the age of 10-12, where women are raped and then murdered brutally, where women have to place harassment at workplace and the list goes on and on.

The Constitution of our country states that everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their gender, race, caste, social and economic background, skin colour.

Is The Constitutional Right To Equality In Our Country Just On Paper?

Also read: ‘I Like To Highlight The Feminism That Is An Integral Part Of Indian Mythology’

The reality is far from this. Forget about equal treatment for women, in our country many consider women as low-grade citizens. This stereotypical society has made the lives of women in our country and around the globe miserable  The society has captivated them in cages and refuge to set them free. Parents unknowingly and sometimes knowingly teach their daughters to be oppressed. After marriage, a woman needs to take the ‘permission’ of her in-laws and husband in order to work. Why?

Men Don’t Need To Take Permission From Their Spouses In Order To Work After Marriage. Why Should Women?

There are people who want well educated and well-earning wives for their sons but on the other hand, refuse to educate their own daughters.  Parents refuse to send their daughter out at night or to a friends place or even on school trips out of the fear of what may happen to them. Is this fair? Is it fair to ask our daughter to stop living their lives the way they want to just because we fail to teach our sons how to treat women?

We need to give women and girls the opportunities they deserve. They have a lot of potential in them but don’t get the right platform and support to showcase their talent.   I say so because I have seen it with my very own eyes.

As a part of the school community outreach program, I would visit an all-girls primary school in Kanhai village, Haryana. There I taught the fifth graders. They were so passionate, determined and committed to achieving their dreams. All they wanted was to be of any use to this society. The same society says girls should not be educated as they are a burden on the family. It’s high time that we change the way we treat women.

It’s high time that we change the way we treat women. Representative image.

Time and again, the women of this country have shown how capable they are be it Mary Kom, Geeta Gopinathan, Priyanka Chopra, Sudha Murty, Mithali Raj, Sharmila Nicolletor or Dipa Karmarkar. There are many more like them and many more who aspire to be like them. All I want is that their wings are not crushed and that they are not stopped from becoming what they are capable of.

Also read: Teach The Sons Rather Than Restricting The Daughters

कोविड-19 की वजह से 2020 महामारी का साल रहा। जहां इकॉनोमी, महंगाई, स्वास्थ्य, रोज़गार, आपदा या कहें जीवन स्तर को छूने वाला हर पहलू इस महामारी की गिरफ्त में रहा। अब कोविड-19 2021 में पहुंच चुका है। जहां पहले शुरुआती लॉक डाउन के बाद ये माना जा रहा था कि कोविड से लड़ाई बस कुछ दिन के लिए ही है और हम ये जंग आसानी से जीत जाएंगे, ऐसा हो नहीं सका।

कोविड ने मानसिक स्वास्थ्य को सबसे ज़्यादा प्रभावित किया है

उस मार्च से इस मार्च तक पूरे एक साल होने वाले हैं। इस बीच बस यही बदला है कि पहले लगाए गए लॉकडाउन के बाद लोगों के बीच भय और तनाव की स्थिति थी। वहीं अब फिर से बढ़ते कोविड केस के बीच लोगों के बीच लापरवाही और एक तरह की ऊब ने जगह ले ली है।

अब चाहें आप हों या मैं, हम सभी के बीच ये डर तो है कि कोविड के मामले अब फिर से बढ़ रहे हैं। साथ ही घरों में रहते-रहते एक अजीब से मानसिक तनाव ने हम सबको ही जकड़ लिया है, जो इस बात का सबूत है कि हम कोविड के डर से कम अपनी मानसिक खींचतान से ज़्यादा जूझ रहे हैं।

सब की ही तरह कोविड 19 ने मेरे मानसिक स्वास्थ्य को भी बहुत हद तक प्रभावित किया है। सभी की तरह मेरे लिए भी 2020 कुछ नया, कुछ बेहतर पा लेने का साल था लेकिन महामारी ने आगे आने वाली सभी योजनाओं पर पानी फेर दिया। मेरे कुछ इंटरव्यूज़ थे, जिन्हें लेकर मैं बेहद  उत्साहित थी, क्योंकि ये कुछ वैसा था कि अगर मिल जाए तो सरपट दौड़ती ज़िन्दगी एक अलग ही ट्रैक पर पहुंच सकती थी।

तब तक हमें अंदाज़ा नहीं था कोविड दुनिया में दस्तक दे चुका है बल्कि ये कहें कि हमारे जीवन में भी।

तनख्वाह की अनिश्चितता की वजह से मुझे नौकरी छोड़नी पड़ी

कोविड के चलते मुझे अपनी नौकरी को भी छोड़ना पड़ा, क्योंकि महामारी के चलते उसका कोई स्थायित्व मुझे नज़र नहीं आ रहा था। मेरे पास काम था लेकिन उसकी कोई तनख्वाह नहीं। मतलब ये कोई नहीं जानता था हमें पैसे कब मिलेंगे? मिलेंगे भी या नहीं? जिससे थक-हारकर मैंने उस काम को छोड़ने का फैसला कर लिया।

जो कि मेरे मानसिक स्वास्थ्य के लिए एक खराब फेज़ रहा, क्योंकि मैं देख रही थी कि कैसे मेरे परिचितों की सैलरी काटी जा रही है या नौकरी से निकाला जा रहा है। तब अपनी नौकरी खोकर खुद को सामान्य रख पाना कोई आसान काम नहीं था। फिलहाल ये वो दौर है जब हमें सोचना पड़ रहा है कि कैसे अपने उस विज़न (भविष्य) को बचाया जा सके जिसके लिए हम काम कर रहे हैं?

फिर इसी बीच मेरे अपनों को भी कोविड19 ने अपनी गिरफ्त में ले लिया और तब मैंने जाना असल तनाव क्या होता है। जब हम चारों तरफ एक ही खबर धड़ल्ले से सुनते आ रहे हों तब खुद को नॉर्मल रख पाना मुश्किल होता है। कोविड ने हमें बेहद तनावपूर्ण फेज़ में ला छोड़ा है। कोविड पर हमने विजय पा भी लिया लेकिन अपने मानसिक तनाव पर विजय पाना अभी बाकी है।

वहीं साथ ही खबरों में आए दिन दिखाई जाने वाली वो तस्वीरें जो हमें भीतर तक झकझोर रही थीं। फिर चाहे वो बिहार स्टेशन पर भूख की वजह से मरने वाली महिला की हो, जिसमें बच्चा अपनी मरी हुई मां को जगाने की कोशिश कर रहा था।

मजदूरों के कदमों की आहट ने मुझे लंबे समय तक नहीं सोने दिया

एक ऐसा दौर जहां नौकरी, शिक्षा, व्यापर, बस, ट्रेन ही नहीं बल्कि कहें तो जीवन ही एकदम थम गया था। जो जहां था, वहीं फंस कर रह गया। इसी के चलते लाखों लोग अचानक ही नौकरियों से बर्खास्त कर दिए गए। चंद मुट्ठी भर लोगों को छोड़ दिया जाए, तब आप पाएंगे कि एक बड़ा तबका जिसमें हर स्तर का डेली वेज़ वर्कर शामिल है, वो इतना मोहताज हो गया कि उसके खाने-पीने के भी लाले पड़ गए।

मैं अब भी भूली नहीं हूं, जब सड़कें सुनसान थीं तब रोज़ कई सौ लोग पैदल हमारे घरों के सामने से निकला करते थे। कोई हैदराबाद से चल कर आ रहा होता था, तो कोई बिहार तक जाने को अपने परिवार के साथ शहर से निकला था। रात के अंधेरे में लोग अपने ही देश, अपने ही प्रदेश से ऐसे निकलते थे, मानो जैसे कोई अपराधी कहीं से भाग निकला हो।

सड़कों पर चलते कदमों की आहट ने मुझे बहुत लंबे समय तय सोने नहीं दिया। ये मानसिक तौर पर मेरे लिए एक बेहद खराब दौर था। आज भले ही वैक्सीन घर-घर तक आ गई हो और हम कोविड 19 से उबर भी जाएं लेकिन इससे उत्पन्न मानसिक तनाव से जल्दी उबर पाना हमारे बस का नहीं।

फिलहाल हम एक ऐसे समय में हैं जहां से आगे कोई भी मंज़िल साफ नज़र नहीं आ रही है। हम आर्थिक रूप से भी एक खराब दौर में हैं। जहां पहले से ही काम कर रहे लोगों को निकाला जा रहा हो, सार्वजनिक उपक्रम बेचे जा रहे हों, महंगाई अपने चरम पर हो, वहां किसी नए रोजगार को खोजना आसान नहीं है।

कोविड ने हमें हर स्तर पर प्रभावित किया लेकिन साथ ही महामारी ने हमें इन सबसे उबरने की शक्ति भी दी है। मानसिक तनाव के साथ ही मजबूती भी इस समय की एक ज़रूरत रही, जिसमें अपनों के साथ ने हमें बखूबी खड़े रहने का साहस दिया।

Promises

“Roaming around the stretch,
Shabbiness, stench, and the rest,
Growling stomach, hair unkempt,
Eyes gleam, dreaming to fly desperate.

Walking into the sewage puddle,
Bare foot, bare heads, and bare hopes too?
Promises, well, plenty had been made,
Like husk in the wind away that flew.”

-A

For when human beings are deprived of basic needs, the rift to inequality cracks open. Living up in an economy-driven society with a vast majority unskilled, the gap is almost inevitable and it’s here to stay. How far and long it goes on for is what is dependent on us. We hold the anchor to the future, the shape of which is going to be determined by where and whom we invest our energy, time and resources in.

Image has been provided by the author.

These children, the budding bunch of tomorrow, didn’t choose this for themselves. Nobody did. And we could help walk them out if only we chose to. With a nation exploding in the number of billionaires every year, we certainly complain of the lack of resources, but can make sure that everyone at least avails the basics. Having had a glorious history of a civilised society, we can bring it back together. That starts from where we stand at the moment. That starts with doing what is required to be done. And that takes the least.

Education for all is just the baby step.
The hands await, to be held and shown the way,
The hands that would architect the tomorrow.
Just a lending hand it takes.

To draw them out of the vagueness and bringing some sunshine, it just takes a smiling and a spirited heart.

Also read: How Volunteering In Society Gives Life A Meaning Beyond The ‘Me’
In 2021 India will be having 5 assembly elections. States which are going for the polls are West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and one Union territory is Puducherry. Maybe in the month of march the Election Commission Of India will announce the dates for the state’s election.
bjp rally
The BJP will be feeling confident in several states, but the theory of retention and expansion will play a role everywhere.

This election is basically based on the theory of retention and expansion. In West Bengal, where BJP confidence is too high after winning the 18 seats in the general election 2019. In Kerala, CPM is confident to win two elections in a row to break the 40 years jinx of assembly election. In Tamil Nadu, DMK and its ally want to repeat the Lok Sabha momentum. DMK is out of power for a decade. In Assam, the local player will set the narration for the election. Puducherry will be the perfect example for expansion or retention. Recently due to turf between Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi and Ex. CM Narayanasamy.

West Bengal And TMC

West Bengal is the favorite state among all the poll bounding states. Here RSS and BJP’s mission expansion has to be executed. BJP and RSS along with its 33 subsidiary organizations are working for the power they want to pursue for a long time. NDA will be fighting the election as they are fighting everywhere on the ideology of Hindutva. In a recent interview with India Today, Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that they will fight the election on cultural issues.

After seeing the performance of BJP in Lok Sabha 2019, TMC got a setback. Mamata Banerjee tries to build good relations with the other opposition parties like INC and the left Parties but failed. After losing her close aide like Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh, and Suvendu Adhikari. After all these setbacks Mamata Banerjee hired Poll Master Prashant Kishor team IPAC.

Also read: “Opinion: Can Mamata Banerjee’s TMC Pull Off A Win In West Bengal?”

Since June 2019 Prashant Kishor started working for TMC. His team is playing a very vital role there. Famous Journalist from West Bengal Snigdhendu Bhattacharya also mentioned that Prashant Kishor is running a campaign for TMC make-over. Prashant Kishor has taken the Bengal election as a challenge. He tweeted that if BJP will cross two-digits he will leave the space.

The Tamil Nadu Elections

2021 Tamil Nadu assembly election is the first election without two veterans Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa. Last time Congress performance in the state dip the DMK. Only 16% of seats were won by the Congress party whereas DMK won its 50% seats. UPA which is consists of DMK and INC will be wanting to repeat the Lok Sabha performance in the state assembly. DMK also not in the mood to entertain Congress. They had given their share in a good amount during Lok Sabha election time.

DMK is not leaving any stone unturned. They have hired IPAC which is the Prashant Kishor team. They are running a campaign to win the election for MK Stalin. On the NDA side, BJP allied with AIADMK to expand its wing there. The powers fight within the AIADMK may affect them. Before the election, VK Sasikala completed her punishment and now out. She might create confusion among the voters. As she is trying to promote her nephew. BJP here looks for expansion. They got AIADMK as their partner may now but in the future, they will be a big brother.

Impact Of The CAA And Assam

Assam election may lead to the emergence of the regional party. Many regional leaders came during the time of the CAA protest. CAA was the dream law brought by the ruling party at the center but it became the skeleton in their throat. The regional interest matters a lot in the Assam assembly election. There is a vacuum of leadership. Tarun Gogoi the veteran INC is also no more. Two of the famous punch line of the BJP will suit for the Assam election are ‘Vocal For Local’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Assam’.

Locals who will be vocal about their interests are Akhil Gogoi, Pranab Doley, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, and Badruddin Ajmal. Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said recently that he doesn’t want to fight an election. If he really doesn’t fight this message will impact BJP. Congress here trying to get back the Assam where they ruled for three consecutive terms. They are following the Chatishgarh mode of election in 2018. They are allying with regional parties but not opening the card on the CM’s face.

The Only Remaining Left Bastion

Kerala is the only bastion of the left remaining. The most important point that comes here is that Ex Congress President Rahul Gandhi is MP from Wayanad. He is aggressively campaigning for his party. BJP also trying their best. They have tried to use the Sabrimala temple issue. The buzz came soon after as a local news channel Asianet News-CFore showed the opinion polls that LDF may break 40 years jinx of Kerala Assembly. In Kerala right now retention policy will be the prominent one.

Puducherry is a union territory. Here UPA and NDA are in the battle. NDA is consists of BJP and AIADMK whereas UPA is consists of INC and DMK. Recently UPA lost its majority in the assembly. The reason behind this collapsing was the nomination of three MLA by the ex. Lt. Gov Kiran Bedi. Here may be BJP will try to become the big brother after the election.

Out of five assembly elections, almost expansion will matter for the BJP whereas retention will matter for Congress in four states except for West Bengal. Assam will lead towards the emergence of regional parties we had witnessed around the ’90s.

Also read: “The BJPs Campaigning Makes Them Favourites For 2021 Assam Elections Despite CAA Backlash”

भारत ने इंग्लैंड के खिलाफ सीरीज़ के तीसरे टेस्ट में 10 विकेट से शानदार जीत हासिल की। दूसरी पारी में 49 रनों के टारगेट को मेजबान भारत ने बिना कोई विकेट खोये हासिल कर लिया। जीत के सूत्रधार रहे बाएं हाथ के स्पिनर अक्षर पटेल ने मैच की दोनों पारियों में कुल 11 विकेट लिए। इस जीत के साथ भारतीय टीम ने चार मैचों की सीरीज में 2-1 की बढ़त बना ली है लेकिन महज़ 2 दिनों के भीतर ही समाप्त होने वाले इस टेस्ट मैच के बाद मोटेरा की पिच पर कई सवाल उठने लगे।

दिग्गजों ने कहा, यह पिच टेस्ट क्रिकेट के अनुकूल नहीं

कई पूर्व दिग्गजों ने मोटेरा की पिच के असमतल उछाल और चरित्र को लेकर कई सवाल खड़े किये हैं। पूर्व भारतीय क्रिकेटर वीवीएस लक्ष्मण और हरभजन सिंह का मानना था कि यह पिच टेस्ट मैच के लिए अनुकूल नहीं थी। इंग्लैंड के पूर्व कप्तान माइकल वान ने भी अपने ट्वीट के जरिए मोटेरा की पिच पर कटाक्ष करते हुए कहा कि यहां दोनों टीमों को तीन-तीन परियां मिलने चाहिए थी। वहीं भारतीय कप्तान विराट कोहली ने पिच का बचाव करते हुए कहा कि कुल 30 में से 21 विकेट सीधी गेंद पर गिरे थे।

आईसीसी की कोशिशों को लग सकता है झटका

पिछले कई सालों से लगातार आईसीसी टेस्ट क्रिकेट को पुनर्जीवित करने की कोशिश कर रही है। इसी संदर्भ में डे नाइट टेस्ट और वर्ल्ड क्रिकेट चैंपियनशिप का आयोजन किया जा रहा है। जिससे दर्शकों और प्रायोजकों को आकर्षित किया जा सके।

मगर अहमदाबाद टेस्ट की तरह अगर मैच 3 दिन के भीतर ही समाप्त होने लगे, तो फिर इसका नकारात्मक असर टेस्ट क्रिकेट की छवि पर पड़ेगा और आईसीसी की कोशिशों को भी बड़ा झटका लगेगा। ऐसे में वनडे और टी-20 फॉर्मेट के सामने सबसे पुराने फॉर्मेट को बचाए रखने के लिए अच्छी प्रतिस्पर्धा काफी ज़रूरी है।

टेस्ट क्रिकेट में तकनीक का गिरता स्तर

तकनीकी तौर पर टच करने का स्थान मौजूदा दौर में काफी नीचे गिरा है। जिसका कारण है कि पिछले 5 सालों में 55 फीसदी मैचों के नतीजे चार या उससे कम दिन में आए हैं। इसी वजह से अंतरराष्ट्रीय क्रिकेट में अब पांच के बजाय 4 दिन के टेस्ट मैच कराने की चर्चाएं आम है। इन दिनों खिलाड़ी अपने आप को T20 फॉर्मेट के मुताबिक ढाल रहे हैं जिसका सीधा नुकसान टेस्ट क्रिकेट पर पड़ रहा है।

इसलिए कि परंपरागत फॉर्मेट में अलग स्किल्स की ज़रूरत होती है। यहां पर धीरज और जुझारू तकनीक आवश्यक होती है। गौरतलब है कि इंग्लैंड की टीम अहमदाबाद टेस्ट के अलावा पिछले 4 सालों में 5 बार 100 रनों के नीचे आउट हुई है। सिर्फ धीमी पिच नहीं बल्कि उछाल भरी पिचों पर भी घरेलू टीम को कठिनाईयों का सामना करना पड़ता है।

ब्रॉडकास्टर्स को होता बड़ा नुकसान

पिछले 5 सालों के दौरान 70 फीसदी से ज़्यादा मैचों में एकतरफा जीते देखने को मिले हैं। इससे ब्रॉडकास्टर्स को काफी आर्थिक नुकसान भी झेलना पड़ा है क्योंकि अगर मैच 3 या 4 दिन में ही समाप्त हो जाते हैं तो फिर उन्हें विज्ञापन का घाटा होता है। वहीं संसाधन उतने ही इस्तमाल होते हैं। इसी वजह से न्यूज़ीलैंड क्रिकेट टीम अपने घरेलू जमीन पर एक सीरीज़ में 2 से ज़्यादा टेस्ट मैच नहीं खेलती।

परंपरागत क्रिकेट प्रेमियों के लिए टेस्ट फॉर्मेट का प्रासंगिक रहना काफी ज़रूरी है। आईसीसी समेत सभी देशों के क्रिकेट बोर्ड को टेस्ट क्रिकेट के विकास के लिए घरेलू ढांचे को मजबूत करना होगा। ताकि युवा खिलाड़ी सिर्फ T20 फॉर्मेट को ही प्राथमिकता ना दें बल्कि टेस्ट क्रिकेट में भी वही उत्साह दिखाएं।

Women suffragette and gender equality became a preeminent topic of discussion and debate in Europe in the Age of Enlightenment, in the eighteenth century. The battle for obtaining equal voting rights, with suffragettes such as Susan B. Anthony, Isabella Baumfree, Mary McLeod Bethune, Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin, Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Lucretia Mott, Amelia Bloomer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lydia Becker, Millicent Garret Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, was a long and sustained one.

This eventually led to women in the West and across the world obtaining rights similar to that of men, with women getting equal voting rights around 1902-1920 in Western countries. Historically, the presence of women in social, political, educational, technological and scientific fields remains mostly marginal, but there remains one shining light in this entire discussion: that of the presence of women pioneers in science and technology in India, across the ages.

While 19th and 20th-century women scientists or women of science like Rupa Bai Furdoonji, Mary Poonen Lukose, Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, Kadambini Ganguly, Janaki Ammal, Kamala Sohonie, Asima Chatterjee, Rajeshwari Chatterjee and Kalpana Chawla are worth noting, it is the world of ancient Indian women of science and mathematics that I would like to look at, in this article.

While the onset of the late Vedic and Itihasa period (1000 BC – 600 BC) saw impositions of parochial ideas on women, such as those seen in the Arthashastra (wherein Kautilya mentioned that the main responsibility of women was to get married and bear children., moving into the Sultanate and Mughal period, women enjoyed a prestigious position in the early Vedic period (2000 BC – 1000 BC), with famous personalities like Gargi Vachaknavi, Lilavati and Maitreyi mentioned in textual evidence, including in the Vedas and Upanishads, where them being adept and experts in their respective fields being highlighted.

Gargi Vachaknavi.

Gargi Vachaknavi is regarded as one of the most renowned Indian sages of the Vedic age. She mastered Hindu scriptures and Itihasa, and studied Vedic philosophy, surpassing many of her contemporary male sages in her knowledge. According to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, King Janaka of Videha held a Rajasuya Yagna and invited all the learned seers, sages, princes and kings of India to participate.

 The galaxy of scholars included Gargi Vachaknavi and the renowned sage Yajnavalkya. Eight renowned sages challenged the latter for a debate, including Gargi. The exchange between Yajnavalkya and Gargi centred on the question of the basic foundation or material that comprises reality. Their initial dialogue was on metaphysics, with discussions on the essence of reality, at an abstract rather than any instantiated or worldly level.

She then probed him on the environment existing in the world and how existence itself originated. However, the crescendo in her thinking and questioning was seen when she asked him

सा होवाच यदूर्ध्वं याज्ञवल्क्य दिवो यदवाक्पृथिव्या यदन्तरा द्यावापृथिवी इमे यद्भूतं च भवच्च भविष्यच्चेत्याचक्षते कस्मिंस्तदोतं च प्रोतं चेति ॥

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.3

where she asks Yajnavalkya about what is that which pervades ‘above the heavens, below the earth and in between the two (heaven and earth) about which they say it was, is and will be (exist)’. She also asks about what is it upon which the ‘world is woven back and forth’.

This question related to a then-commonly known cosmological metaphor that expressed the unity of the world and the inherent interconnectedness of its constituents, across scales. She continues with a number of questions on the Universe, the stars and the Sun and the moon. Realizing the depths from which she was composing her questions and comments, one can understand her knowledge and wisdom. Yoga Yajnavalkya, a classical text on Yoga, is also on a dialogue between Gargi and Yajnavalkya.

Gargi, as Brahmavadini, composed several hymns in the Rig Veda that questioned the origin of all existence. 

Gargi was honoured as one of the Navaratnas (nine gems) in the court of King Janaka of Mithila.

More on the lines of philosophy and metaphysics, another Brahmavadini named Sulabha discussed the truth of entities, in what she called Atmatattva or the ‘essence of the self’, saying that any physical body is formed by the combination of animate and inanimate substances filled with Mithyajnana or ‘false identification/knowledge’. According to her, once the unity of this Atmatattva is understood, the diversity is dissolved and then Sva (self) and Para (others) cease to exist.

Lilavati

A variant of Lilavati’s swarm problem by Bhaskar.

In the world of mathematics, the name of Lilavati comes to the fore. She is said to have been the daughter of the renowned mathematician Bhaskaracharya.

There is a story around how Bhaskaracharya suggested her to pursue mathematics when she faced a struggle in life after her husband’s untimely demise. Bhaskaracharya’s most famous book, Lilavati, written for his contains various interesting algebraic poems, as a mark of recognizing Lilavati’s taste for higher mathematics. A famous poem from this seminal work is on Lilavati’s swarm:

A fifth part of a swarm of bees came to rest on the flower of Kadamba,

a third on the flower of Silinda.

Three times the difference between these two numbers

flew over a flower of Krutaja,

and one bee alone remained in the air,

attracted by the perfume of a jasmine in bloom.

Tell me, beautiful girl, how many bees were in the swarm?

If we assign the number of bees as the unknown variable, we can compose the problem in terms of a linear equation and solve the problem to see that there are 15 bees in Lilavati’s swarm. It is said that Lilavati was as much an active collaborator with her father as the subject of many of his mathematical verses.

Also read: ‘I Like To Highlight The Feminism That Is An Integral Part Of Indian Mythology’

Varahamihira And Khana

Another father-daughter pair that made ripples in the world of science and mathematics is that of Varahamihira and Khana, albeit the latter was the former’s daughter-in-law and their area of expertise was astronomy.

The story of Khana (Khona) is popular in Bengal and eastern parts of India, and she is believed to have lived during the 5th century AD. Varahamihira, a key member of the royal court of King Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, was a great mathematician and astronomer. He wrote the seminal works Pañcasiddhāntikā and Brihat Samhita. There is a story that one day, Varahamihira returned home bothered, apparently since the King had wanted to know the number of stars in the sky and Varahamihira was unable to answer it. Khana was said to have solved the problem, and Varahamihira shared the answer with the king back at court.

These are some of the anecdotes and accounts of the preeminent place that women had in advancing science and mathematics, along with metaphysics and philosophy, in ancient India. Even as we move into the next chapter in the existence of this beautiful and ancient land called India, may we always cherish the achievements of these Bharatiya women. As Mark Twain said, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition.”

Featured image is for representational purposes only.
This article was first published here.

India’s cities have always had a long history. The place that once belonged to the “wealthy middle class” is now a rather different place. There are almost 8,000 cities in India and each city is unique in having its own requirements and shortcomings. However, on one hand, certain ‘bigger’ cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad carry the idea of a “perfect city” and the ideal model of development, there are other cities in the country which, despite falling under this category, have a long way to go.

But certain factors remain uniform across all cities. Sanitisation, health, waste management and other basic factors remain common among most cities, thus emanating a need for everyday governance and institutional heterogeneity in Indian cities, especially in small cities. At a webinar organised by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) at the IMPRI and IndraStra Global, Dr Natasha Cornea, lecturer at the University of Birmingham, England, said:

“It is important to recognise the multitude of governance practices by heterogeneous networks of actors. The metropolitan cities apart from Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore have a rather different way of functioning and have a strong and effective community service that makes the decision-making process rather easy and meaningful. But in smaller cities, this might not be the case. They might be locally linked to each other or, in some cases, even linked to internationally recognised rotary clubs. Therefore, while conducting research, one needs to collect data all cities other than the metropolitan cities.”

Dr Natasha Cornea _ #CityConversations with Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay

She further pointed out that institutional heterogeneity helps in learning about a more nuanced and grounded understanding of a city and its power structure enables us to face new challenges that new cities face.

What does Everyday Governance mean in the first place? It is basically “the actual practices of how interests are pursued and countered, authority exercised and challenged, and power institutionalised and undermined.” While exemplifying this term, Dr Cornea said that ordinary people in society, from a person selling newspapers to a person at the highest post in the bureaucracy, are all part of everyday governance. Each and everything that goes around in society adds to the larger value of governance.

Therefore, what do people do? How do they do it? What motivates them to do it? What benefits do they get from it? – all are part of everyday governance. Since all these actors in society work together, it kind of brings a notion why they never overlap with each other, and why every sector is completely independent in society? How are formal and informal sectors separated from each other?

While narrating a historical context, Dr Cornea quoted several scholars who explicitly mentioned how various working groups have always worked in perfect sync with each other. Therefore, she said that all these actors work and live in a common space and have helped India recognise a complex and heterogonous governance network that shape cities.

For instance, a village in West Bengal has ‘para clubs’ that act as an alternative to and intermediary with the state. The clubs are not formally recognised under the RWAs or any other organisation, but there is still significant value to people belonging to that particular section. They come together to celebrate local festivals and poojas in the community. However, the role of clubs in West Bengal is more unclear. People have trouble explaining how and where one club ends and a new one starts. More often than not, these clubs also have a role to play in the power structure.

Another aspect of these clubs is legitimacy. It is by no doubt established that the RWAs have more legitimacy and so as when it comes to decision-making and formulating different policies. RWAs also cater to the needs of a much larger population as compared to the clubs. But clubs, on the other hand, are ‘legitimate’ in their own local area and thus important for the smooth functioning of a particular (smaller) group. Therefore, the whole idea of legitimacy is quite complex. It solely depends on how the people perceive it to be as.

If even a small group of people accept the governance action of a particular group, they gain legitimacy through that. If a group of people belonging to a club ascertain the confidence in it, it becomes ‘legitimate’ for that particular section of society and begins to gain importance for them. As mentioned earlier, clubs bring together local people for poojas and local festivals in the community, but that has a larger goal of feeding the poor, distributing clothes etc. in that group.

Image has been provided by the author.

If one look at both RWAs and the clubs in a larger manner, they suggest that the ultimate aim of either of the groups is to establish power within the group that they are working in – through organising local functions, resolving disputes and, even in some cases, grant ‘access’ to those who can move into the community and those who cannot.

But none of this is to be seen in a bad light. There have been several examples that Dr Natasha mentioned while talking about how at times it is these groups that have come to the rescue of the people involved in the group by providing with an ambulance, supplying immediate first aid.

She points out that on one hand, there has been a drastic increase in research that has been conducted by rather smaller cities and people belonging to those areas. On the other hand, the numbers of those researches are very low. Some of these researches do not even see the light of the day. Whereas, some of the other studies from India’s metropolitan studies do not cover the realities of smaller/secondary cities of India.

Concluding her remarks, Dr Cornea said that in the post-Covid world, it would be interesting for us to see how and to what extent have networks in power and in the cities been shifted or reshaped, as compared to earlier. She further pointed out there is a need to focus on how we now recognise and mobilise heterogeneous institutions for more real and reasonable responses to future challenges.

Acknowledgements: Annmary Thomas is a research intern at the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi. She is an undergraduate in History from Ambedkar University, Delhi and joining as a master’s candidate in International Relations at the University of Bristol, UK

Written by: Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay and Dr Arjun Kumar, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI)

Also read: The Onslaught Of Rising Temperature: Environmental Concern For India

In the latest, the National Human Rights Commission slammed the government for manipulating the data of manual scavengers in the country. Many states made tall claims of successfully reducing the number of manual scavengers, even going as far as declaring complete eradication of the practice from their states. But, according to the survey conducted by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis in 2019, there are a total of 48345 manual scavengers in 18 states of the country.

The death rate of manual scavengers has also seen an increase of 61% in 2019 compared to 2018 and it is the highest in the last 5 years and a total of 814 deaths of Manual Scavengers have been recorded between 1993 to 2019. These deaths can be termed as institutional murders as the onus of the deaths is on the Indian government which, despite framing laws in this regard, failed to eradicate this inhuman, unhealthy, hateful and hereditary practise of manual scavenging.

Representational image.

Manual scavenging has been prevalent in India since ancient times and also has religious sanctions. The International Labour Conference in its 111th convention passed a resolution to abolish such practices in 1958. Activist Bezwada Wilson, National Convener of Safai Karmachari Andolan began his fight in 1986 to end Manual Scavenging. He began a letter-writing campaign, contacting the KGF authorities, the Chief Minister, the Prime Minister and news agencies but all was in vain.

The Indian government took cognizance of the issue after strong resistance from activists and organisations across India and the Narasimha Rao government introduced “The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines(Prohibition) Act, 1993” to eradicate Manual Scavenging from India. Bezwada Wilson, who is regarded as the face of resistance, argued that this act was a total failure and continued to agitate and struggle with a collective team of activists, like-minded people and organisations across India.

Even after the implementation of the prohibition act, many organizations including railways, educational institutes, defence and judiciary continued to employ manual scavengers. Despite the ban, this inhumane practise continued across India. In 2003, Bezwada Wilson and other ally organisations including Safai Karmachari Andolan filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India naming all the states and the government sector organisations as the violators of the Manual Scavenging Prohibition Act. They also successfully converted Safai Karmachari Andolan into a nationwide movement.

The government, which was under immense pressure, tried to address protests and the discussion around Manual Scavenging by making amends to the 1993 Act and rolled out “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013”. This act prohibits the construction of insanitary latrines and the employment of any person for manual scavenging. It also has provisions to punish the culprit with imprisonment up to 5 years or 5 lakh fine or both.

Wilson says, “This Bill does not contain concrete measures for rehabilitation. It does not talk about the mechanism of its implementation. It is still not clear who will formulate the schemes and how they will be implemented.” He further adds, “The Bill is just another exercise to cover up government’s failures.”

Also read: India’s New Prohibition Of Manual Scavenging Bill Fails To Tackle Core Issues, Yet Again

In a country where even one death happens due to manual scavenging, it should be a matter of national shame that the government has not only failed to eradicate manual scavenging but has also failed to provide necessary safety equipment to the sanitation workers.

The Safai Karmachari Andolan along with other organisations managed to bring down the number of Manual Scavengers from 15 lakhs in 1996 to 48345 in 2019 but eradication still seems to be a distant dream. In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan after declaring India was free from open defecation which obviously was only on paper. It won’t be wrong to say that the government put more efforts into covering the issue of manual scavenging rather than actually addressing it.

We can see the hypocrisy of the government where on one hand it says that it is committed to eradicating this practice and on the other hand Prime Minister Modi calls manual scavenging a spiritual experience. PM Modi often indulges in the photo-ops washing feet of Dalit safai karamcharis on camera but his actions speak volumes about his anti-Dalit mindset. It is inaccurate to say that the laws framed by the government are completely flawed but the government lacks the will for implementation.

Note: The author is part of the current batch of the Jaati Nahi, Adhikaar Writer’s Training Program. Head here to know more about the program and to apply for an upcoming batch!

Featured image source: Photo by Anindito Mukherjee/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Almost all democratic politics is identity politics. In India, this translates to dominant and marginal identities: the nationalist upper-caste, the liberal (also leftist) pan-religious upper-caste, Muslim (AIMIM, IUML), Sikh (SAD), and so on.

Liberals and Hindutva are often quick to associate any Dalit-Bahujan or minority assertion as ‘identity politics.’

However, the label of identity politics gets applied mainly to Dalit-Bahujan and minority politics. This is because both the Hindu identity and the liberal ‘Indian‘ identity assume that they are pan-Indian identities. In other words, the identity politics of the dominant communities are projected as normative politics. These normative politics have no authentic belief in the equality of castes because the ones who perpetuate the norm detest being equal to those at the bottom of the caste pyramid, leave alone handing power over to them.

Progressive politics implies that the choice to change existing conditions exist, for both individuals and whole societies. But does it also imply that you can change your identity? Is the political mobilization of oppressed communities centred on changing their identities? For example, while a lower-class person could become upper class, can a Caucasian become an African American? But this is a ridiculously wrong way to phrase the question on identity. The answers these questions seek direct you to the same framework that you want to annihilate.

It’s not about an African American woman wanting to be a Caucasian man or a Mali (caste) woman wanting to be a brahmin man. A woman is a biological identity; African American, an ethnic identity, and caste, an attributed historical identity (which, in some cases, might only be just a few decades old) impacting current life.

Simply put, what is referred to as identity politics is an unwavering demand for the equality of castes, ethnicities, religions, and genders. Because it’s a material reality that people who belong to certain castes and ethnic identities have access to powerful networks and opportunities for success, while other social identities lack this access. When such networks exist, individuals will utilize them without even being aware that their merit is the result of the various forces that support them in their quest for success.

Although rare, it is true that hard work and persistence propelled by luck can change one’s class identity under capitalism. It still does not change one’s caste identity. Leaving your organized religion or becoming an atheist also does not change it altogether. History has shown that alliances with normative politics or anti-class politics hardly change these power imbalances. That’s also because anti-class politics is championed most times by caste-denying privileged men.

There are no technical ‘fixes’ here. But a hard acknowledgment is long overdue. That inequality is not a one-way street. That solidarity means hard work. Not a slogan wrapped within a clenched fist.

Also read: “On Identity Politics, Nationalism, And India’s Growing Hostility Towards Minorities”

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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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