देश में कोरोना वायरस की दूसरी लहर के चलते रोज़ हज़ारों लोगों की मौत हो रही है। कहा जा रहा है कि असली आंकड़े सरकारी आंकड़ों से भी कई गुणा बढ़कर हैं। कई रिपोर्ट्स ने जमीनी आंकड़ों के साथ इसकी पुष्टि भी की है। संक्रमण को रोकने के लिए 1 अप्रैल से कोविन वेबसाइट और आरोग्य सेतु एप पर सभी 18+ उम्र के व्यक्तियों के लिए टीकाकरण हेतु ऑनलाइन पंजीकरण शुरू हुआ।

स्लॉट मिलने में हो रही परेशानी

कई रिपोर्टों से ज्ञात हुआ है कि जिन व्यक्तियों ने ऑनलाइन पंजीकरण किया है, उन्हें टीके के लिए स्लॉट नहीं मिल रहे हैं। 18+ के स्लॉट एप पर या तो भरे हुए दिखते हैं या फिर अनुपलब्ध। बहुत लोगों ने शिकायत उठाई कि उनके आस-पास सभी टीकाकरण केंद्र अब भी केवल 45+ उम्र के लिए ही स्लॉट दर्शा रहे हैं। इस कारण लोगों में अफरा-तफरी फैल रही है, क्योंकि वायरस से मौतों का आंकड़ा दिन प्रतिदिन बढ़ता ही जा रहा है।

मेडिकल शोध दर्शाता है कि मौजूदा स्थिति से भी घातक स्थिति तीसरे लहर में होगी। ऐसे समय में सभी देशवासियों का टीकाकरण होना चाहिए, परंतु सरकार की मौजूदा टीकाकरण प्रणाली यह सुनिश्चित नहीं कर सकती। रिपोर्टों के अनुसार, 7 मई तक देशभर में केवल 16.7 करोड़ टीके लगाए गए हैं।

ये आंकड़े चौंका देने वाले हैं, क्योंकि भारत जैसी घनी आबादी वाले देश में तेज़ कम्युनिटी ट्रांसमिशन की परिस्थिति में यह अपर्याप्त है।

डिजिटल डिवाइड ने एक बड़े वर्ग को वैक्सीनेशन से दूर रखा है

मौजूदा टीकाकरण प्रक्रिया में एक और भारी कमी है। इसका पंजीकरण केवल ऑनलाइन पोर्टल के माध्यम से कराया जा रहा है, जिसके कारण देश के सबसे बड़े हिस्से को इस टीकाकरण प्रक्रिया से बाहर कर दिया गया है।

सरकार ने डिजिटल इंडिया के कई ऊंचे दावे किए हैं, परंतु जमीनी हकीकत इससे बिल्कुल अलग है, जहां मेहनतकश जनता के पास ऑनलाइन साधनों तक पहुंच और जानकारी नहीं है। सरकार टीका उत्पादन का राष्ट्रीयकरण करे और सभी देशवासियों को टीके मुहैया कराए। राष्ट्रीय टीकरण प्रक्रिया सबके लिए मुफ्त और सुगम बनाई जाए।

सरकार को ऑनलाइन पंजीकरण के लिए एक विकल्प बनाना होगा, जिससे वो लोग जो इन तकनीकों से वंचित हैं, टीकाकरण से वंचित न रह जाएं। इसके लिए वॉक-इन या डोर-टू-डोर पंजीकरण और टीकाकरण किया जा सकता है।

The current violence by Israel towards Palestinians was caused by the forceful eviction of Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah. Sheikh Jarrah is a neighbourhood in Jerusalem, where predominantly Palestinian families had been living since 1948.

A US-backed zionist settler group laid claims to this land and tried to forcefully evict the Palestinian families who had been living for generations. The Israeli Police also began raiding the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan, where people had been praying and Palestinians were protecting them from attacks by extremist settler zionists.

Free Palestine protests on May 12th outside Sheffield City hall. Photo: Socialist Workers Party UK (Via Twitter)

The history of Palestine has seen many conflicts over Israeli Zionists trying to steal their land, while not giving them equal human rights.

This article aims to provide a simple explanation of the history of Palestine and how it was conquered by Israel.

The British Mandate

Palestine and the city Jerusalem are seen as the birthplace of the 3 Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). However, before the 1920s, mostly Arab Palestinians had been living on this land for centuries. After the First World War and the Treaty Of Versailles, The British Mandate was passed by the League of Nations in 1922 and adopted in 1923. In simple terms, the British Mandate gave the land of Palestine, including the East and West Bank to the colonial rule of the British. 

At this time, many Jewish people started migrating to Palestine due to growing Anti-Semitism in Europe. This was only worsened by the growth of fascist Nazism in Europe, and more Jewish people started emigrating to Palestine. The Jewish Agency, a Zionist group, was formed along with the growth of Zionist leader Ben Gurion. Their goals were to aid the settlement of Jewish people in Palestine.

The Creation Of Israel

After the Second World War, the question of who should rule over Palestine was taken over by the newly formed United Nations. The United Nations had suggested a partition plan, with an independent Jewish state, an independent Arab State, and Jerusalem to be put under International Trusteeship. However, neither the Arabs nor Ben-Gurion agreed to this, and when Israel declared independence on 14th May 1948 after the British forces left, this was immediately followed by the First Arab-Israeli war.

Throughout wars, from the 50s to the 70s, Israel annexed most of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, occupying Palestinian land. After this, Israel has continuously occupied and settled their own citizens on the land of Palestinian people via forced evictions like the one in Sheikh Jarrah.

Imagine if, after India’s independence, a foreign group of people came in, conquered the country, and systematically took away people’s lands and homes. This is what Palestine has had to go through.

Are There “Clashes” Between Israel And Palestine?

Most media refers to Israeli aggression and Palestinian retaliation as clashes, however, this is far from the truth. Most Palestinian aggression happens after Zionists try to oppress them or steal their land. 

 

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While it is true that Hamas does launch rockets into Israeli cities, it is mostly in the form of retaliation to Zionists settling on Palestinian land or Israeli Defense Forces attacks and human rights violations on Palestinian citizens. Israel also has one of the best anti-missile defence systems in the world, known as the Iron Dome. The Iron Dome and a lot of Israeli military capacity were funded by the United States Of America. Casualties from Hamas attacks are very low, and sometimes non-existent.

On the other hand, Israeli airstrikes in Palestinian territory are much more dangerous. There is no way to protect oneself from them. While Israel claims that it only targets Hamas operatives, there have been many civilian casualties. The death toll in Gaza after the current round of airstrikes has been 35 Palestinians, including 12 children.

The ratio of casualties from Israeli operations and counter-operations in the 2014 Gaza war.

Do You Know Who Created Hamas?

Palestinian resistance has seen the rise of many groups throughout history, but two of the major ones are the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas. Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, and it fought for Palestinian nationalism on the grounds of secularism, socialism, and armed struggle.

Hamas, on the other hand, occupies the mainstream in the current day and age for its notoriety as Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Their ideology is based on religion and it currently has more power over Palestine and is internationally recognized as terrorists.

But did you know that Hamas was actually created by Israel? This is not a conspiracy theory but has been admitted by Israeli officials. The creation of the terrorist group Hamas came out of Israeli support and funding to thwart the efforts of the PLO, which was growing in support at the time. This is somewhat similar to how the British used the divide and rule policy in India.

Israel with its extremely strong military, lack of any international criticism, and Right-wing Zionist governments have continuously oppressed Palestinians. They have killed children, stolen land, and even created terrorist groups that they now use as a shield in the name of “counter-terrorism” to further brutalize the people of Palestine.

 

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Feature Image Credit: @MilesKlassin Via Twitter

सबके साथ से कोरोना को हराने की तोता पट्टी अलापने वाले अभिजात वर्गीय, मध्यम वर्गीय एवं सत्ता में बैठे उसके हुक्मरान मौका मिलते ही मौकापरस्ती पर उतर आए हैं।

वैक्सीन के चाहे जो भी परिणाम रहे हों, कोरोना से बचाव में चाहे इसकी कितनी भी भूमिका रही हो। सबसे महत्वपूर्ण सवाल है कि इलाज केे जितने विकल्प इस समाज में उपलब्ध हैं? उसमें प्राथमिकता पाने वाले लोग कौन हैं? क्या हम सब एक बराबर हैं? क्या सच में हमारे समाज में अमीर-गरीब का कोई भेद नहीं?

 

 

 

 

बिल्कुल भेद है! हाशिए पर मौजूद शोषित मेहनतकशों के साथ महाराष्ट्र सरकार ने ऐसी ही एक जानलेवा चाल चली है। जिस पर अभिजात और मध्यम वर्गीय लोग अपनी चुप्पी साधे हुए हैं। सरकार द्वारा मुंबई में बड़े जोर-शोर से “ड्राइव इन वैक्सीनेशन” योजना चलाई जा रही है, जहां लोग अपनी मोटर कार से वैक्सीन लगवाने जा रहे हैं। इसके पीछे सरकारी तर्क है कि पहले सरकारी वैक्सीनेशन केंद्रों पर भारी भीड़ होती थी, जो लोगों के लिए ठीक नहीं है। इस योजना के शुरू होने से लोग अपनी गाड़ियों में रहेंगे और भीड़ नहीं होगी।

ड्राइव इन वैक्सीनेशन योजना अमीरी और गरीबी की खाई को गहरा कर रही है  

यहां भीड़ से किसको बचानेे की बात हो रही है? क्या मुंबई में सबके पास गाड़ियां हैं? जिस पर बैठ कर वे इन केंद्रों तक पहुंचेंगे? महाराष्ट्र का बड़ा हिस्सा आज भी भयंकर गरीबी में जीता है। मुंबई में दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी गंदी झुग्गी बस्ती है। मुंबई की 60% आबादी इसी तरह की भीड़ भरी, गंदी बस्तियों में रहती है। इस गरीबी में मज़दूरों से कार की उम्मीद करना बेवकूफी होगी। इससे यह साफ देखा जा सकता है कि सरकार द्वारा कितनी चालाकी से अभिजातों को प्राथमिकता देते हुए सर्वहारा को वैक्सीन योजना से छांट दिया गया हैं।

और पढ़ें: “मुसलमान लड़के से शादी करने पर, समाज ने मेरे पिता से सब्ज़ी खरीदना ही बंद कर दिया”

सरकार की मंशा साफ तौर पर ऊपरी तबके को हर हालत में तुरंत से तुरंत राहत पहुंचाना है। जिससे उन्हें ऊपरी तबके का समर्थन पुनः प्राप्त हो सके। आपको याद होगा, पिछले साल प्रथम लॉकडाउन में जब मज़दूर वर्ग दाने-दाने को मोहताज था, अपने घरों को लौटने के लिये परेशान था। जिसे लेकर मज़दूरों ने सरकार के खिलाफ विरोध प्रदर्शन भी किए थे। उस समय यही अभिजात वर्ग और मध्यम वर्ग सरकार के पक्ष में थे। लॉकडाउन का पालन सख्ती से कराने के लिए सरकार के हर नाजायज़ तरीकों को इसी वर्ग का समर्थन प्राप्त था।

ड्राइव इन वैक्सीनेशन योजना क्या समाज के अन्य पहलुओं की अनदेखी है?

इस कोरोना महामारी के समय जब इसी सरकारी कुव्यवस्था की मार इन वर्गों (अभिजात और मध्य)पर भी पड़ी और इलाज के अभाव में अपनी जान पर बन आने, अपनें प्रियजनों को खोने के कारण या खोने के डर से, इन कुलीनों ने अपने पक्ष में सभी माध्यमो जैसे समाचार पत्रों, न्यूज़ चैनलों, सोशल मीडिया, अदालत आदि का इस्तेमाल करते हुए सरकार की मुखर आलोचना शुरू कर दी। जिसे पूरी दुनिया के अभिजातों का समर्थन मिला और विश्व स्तर पर सरकारें बदनाम हुईं।

और पढ़ें: “कोरोना की भयावहता के बीच महाराष्ट्र के गाँवों में खुलेआम शराब की बिक्री, आम जनमानस के लिए बड़ा खतरा”

इस अभिजात वर्ग के विरोध को खत्म करने एवं उन्हें वापस अपने समर्थन में लाने के लिए सरकार ‘ड्राइव इन’ जैसी योजना को अमल में लेकर आई है। जिससे वैक्सीनेशन में अभिजात वर्ग को प्राथमिकता मिले। यही हुआ भी, राहत मिलते ही बुर्जुआ मीडिया और अभिजात लोगो ने महाराष्ट्र सरकार की सराहना शुरू कर दी है।

ऐसे में सर्वहारा वर्ग के साथ क्या होगा? क्या गरीब आबादी, जो पहले भी अन्य बीमारियों से मरती रही है, कोरोना से भी मरती रहेगी? कोरोना के समय मे इस तरह का वाक्य सुना जाना आम हैं कि अब तो पैसे वाले भी इस देश में नहीं बच रहे हैं। यह वाक्य इस सच को बयां करता है कि देश के मेहनतकश आबादी का पैसे के अभाव में बिन इलाज मर जाना, कितनी सामान्य परिघटना है,  जिसे सहजतापूर्वक बुर्जुआ समाज द्वारा स्वीकार किया जाता रहा है।

यही कारण है कि आज महाराष्ट्र की बुर्जुआ सरकार मेहनतकश आबादी के जीवन से खिलवाड़ करने में कोई परहेज़ नहीं कर रही है। वह केवल और केवल मध्यम वर्ग और अभिजात वर्ग को खुश करने के लिए और सरकारी नाकामियों से बिगड़ी अपनी छवि सुधारने के लिये ‘ड्राइव इन’ जैसी बुर्जुआ हितकरी योजनाओं को विस्तार दे रही है। साथियों इस समय हमें तीन चीज़ो से लड़ना है बीमारी, बुर्जुआ सरकार और बुर्जुआ लोग।

त्रासदियों का ज़िम्मेदार पूंजीवाद मुर्दाबाद
अमीरों की पक्षधर पूंजीवादी सरकार मुर्दाबाद

इंकलाब ज़िंदाबाद

पाकिस्तान चले जाओ, यहाँ क्या कर रहे हो? इस वाक्य को आप “डायलॉग ऑफ द डेकेड” कह सकते हैं। अभी कुछ देर पहले मैं शबनम विरमानी की डॉक्यूमेंट्री देख रहा था। हिंदू-मुस्लिम समाज के बर्ताव पर यह  डॉक्यूमेंट्री बनाई गई है।

मैं एक मुसलमान की नज़र से बताऊं, तो हालात कुछ ठीक नहीं हैं। देश अब दो धड़ों में बट चुका है। एक धड़ा वो है, जो कुंभ मेले को कोरोना का सुपर स्प्रेडर मानता है। वहीं एक ऐसा धड़ा भी है, जो तबलीगी जमात को कोरोना का अब्बा मानता है। मुझे अपवाद ना गिनाइये। अपराधी, गद्दार, रेपिस्ट आदि मुसलमानों में भी उतने ही हैं जितने अन्य धर्मों में। यह मनुष्यों की खामियां हैं। इन्हें मज़हब से जोड़ कर एक पूरी कौम को खारिज करना अपराध जैसा ही है।

वर्ष 2014 में, जब से सत्ता में बीजेपी आई है, मुसलमानों में असहिष्णुता आ गई है। ऐसा मैं इसलिए कह रहा  हूं, क्योंकि जब भी कोई मुसलमान मोहल्ले से गुज़रता हूं या अपने ही रिश्तेदारों से मिलता हूं, तो सारे लोग राजनीतिक विशेषज्ञ बनकर मुझे बताते हैं कि प्रधानमंत्री मोदी में क्या खामियां हैं। अगर मैं जरा सा कुछ मोदी जी के सर्मथन में बोल दूं, तो मुझे खुदा बचाए। राम मंदिर, नागरिकता कानून, तीन तलाक, भारतीय मुसलमानों ने इनको अपने से जोड़कर देखा और शायद ये उनके लिए हैं भी।

और पढ़ें: युवाओं के लिए सकारात्मक ऊर्जा का प्रेरणा स्त्रोत है TVF की नई सीरीज़ “Aspirants”

खैर, वापस विषय पर आएं, तो बीजेपी ने ज़रूर नफरत की राजनीति खेली है। मोदी जी हिंसा करने वालों को उनके कपड़ों से पहचानते हैं। शाहीन बाग पाकिस्तान का हिस्सा कब बन गया और हमें पता ही नहीं चला। लेकिन, क्या सिर्फ एक पार्टी से  देश का देश का  माहौल खराब होता है? 15 मिनट खुला छोड़ दो फिर बताते हैं, यह छोटे ओवैसी का बयान है। इस देश के संसाधनों पर अल्पसंख्यकों का पहला हक है। यह कहा था पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह जी ने इसको सेकुलर का दुपट्टा क्यों पहना दिया जाता है? सही को सही और गलत को गलत, आजकल धर्म देख कर डिसाइड किया जाता है।

कई लोग मुझे प्रोग्रेसिव मुसलमान का तमगा देते हैं। पर,यह तो कॉमन सेंस है। कबीर जैसे करुणावान, लेकिन कटु सत्य बोलने वाले महात्माओं को तो आज हम एक पल के लिए भी बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाते हैं। उन्हें जीने भी नहीं देते हैं। आज गौरक्षा के नाम पर हिंसा पर अच्छे लहज़े में कुछ कहा, तो उसको मुस्लिम तुष्टिकरण का नाम दे दिया जाता है।

और पढ़ें: आखिर हमारे समाज में महिलाएं लैंगिक भेदभाव में क्यों जकड़ी हुईं हैं?

ठीक इसी तरह भूल से भी आपने भारतीय परंपरा का ज़िक्र किया, तो इसे “हिंदू तुष्टिकरण” का नाम दे दिया जाएगा। ऐसा इसलिए है, क्योंकि हमने उदारता, तटस्थता और अनेकांतता के नज़रिए से विचारों और घटनाओं को देखना बंद कर दिया है। कबीर जैसे संतों के कंधे पर बंदूक रखकर, एक समुदाय को निशाना बनाना वैसा ही होगा जैसे डेविल बाइबल लिखना(शैतान ख़ुद लिखता है)।  इसलिए ज़रूरी यह है कि अपने अंदर पनप रहे शैतान को बाहर निकालकर भगा दीजिए।

सबसे पहले मैं  भारत के संविधान निर्माता, अर्थशास्त्री, राजनीतिज्ञ एवं बहुजन नायक भारत रत्न डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी को नमन करता हूं। जिन्होंने हमारे समाज एवं नागरिकों के लिए समानता एवं स्वतंत्रता का अधिकार दिलाया।

शिक्षा का अधिकार

प्राचीन भारत में दलितों को शिक्षा प्राप्त करने का अधिकार नहीं था। बाबा साहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी ने अपने जीवन में अनेक कठिनाईयों का सामना किया ताकि दलित समाज एवं उसके नागरिकों को उनके अधिकार दिलाए जा सकें। बाबा साहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर ने जब अपने समाज पर अमानवीय अत्याचारों को  होते देखा, तो उन्होंने संकल्प लिया कि मैं किसी भी तरह से उच्च शिक्षा प्राप्त करूंगा और समाज में दलित समुदाय के नागरिकों पर हो रहे भेदभावों को खत्म करूंगा। इसके बाद उन्होंने अनेको डिग्रियां प्राप्त की और देश के सभी लोगो के लिए संविधान लिखकर सभी वर्ग के लिए एक समान शिक्षा का अधिकार दिलाया।

डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी की शिक्षा-दीक्षा 

डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी ने सातारा नगर में राजवाड़ा चौक पर स्थित गवर्न्मेण्ट हाईस्कूल अंग्रेज़ी की पहली कक्षा में प्रवेश लिया था। उसके बाद बॉम्बे विश्वविद्यालय में स्नातक, एल्फिंस्टन कॉलेज, कोलंबिया विश्वविद्यालय में स्नातकोत्तर अध्ययन, लंदन स्कूल ऑफ इकोनॉमिक्स में स्नातकोत्तर अध्ययन किया।

और पढ़ें: आखिर कब तक हम महिलाओं को उनके कपड़ों के आधार पर, उनके चरित्र का आकलन करेंगे?

डॉ भीमराव अंबेडकर जी के पास अपने अध्ययन से सम्बन्धित कुल32डिग्रियांथीं। इस स्तर पर शिक्षा प्राप्त करने वाले बाबा साहब दलित समाज के पहले व्यक्ति थे। बाबा साहेब डॉ भीमराव अंबेडकर, दलित समाज के पहले ऐसे व्यक्ति थे, जिन्हें भारत रत्न प्राप्त हुआ।

संविधान हमारे देश की आत्मा है 

हमारा देश भारत आज़ादी के बाद से ही डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी द्वारा लिखित संविधान से चलता आया है और आगे भी देश में लोकतंत्र का शासन संविधान के संवैधानिक प्रावधानों से ही चलेगा। संविधान द्वारा सभी नागरिकों को मूल अधिकार दिए गए हैं। सभी नागरिकों के लिए समान अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह किसी भी धर्म से हो या किसी भी जाति से।

और पढ़ें: “महिलाओं में माहवारी तो प्राकृतिक है, फिर ये शुद्ध-अशुद्ध का मामला क्यों आ जाता है?”

बाबा साहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी के संविधान से आज हमारा समाज शिक्षित हो रहा है। हमारा समाज जागरूक हो रहा है। शिक्षा के साथ युवा शिक्षित होकर नौकरियों में भी अपना योगदान दे रहे हैं।बाबा साहब द्वारा लिखित विश्व का सबसे बड़ा संविधान हमारे देश का है।आज लोग अपने अधिकारों के लिए संविधान के अनुसार अपनी आवाज़ उठाते हैं और उन्हें  न्याय भी मिलता है। संविधान ही देश की शक्ति है।

 अंबेडकर जी के व्यक्तित्व में उनकी पत्नी रमाबाई अम्बेडकर योगदान

बाबा साहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी के जीवन में माता-पिता के साथ उनकी पत्नी रमाबाई अम्बेडकर का भी महत्वपूर्ण योगदान रहा है। बाबसाहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी को विश्वविख्यात महापुरुष बनाने में उनकी  पत्नी रमाबाई का बहुत बड़ा योगदान रहा है।

आज पूरे देश में बाबा साहेब डॉ. भीमराव अंबेडकर जी द्वारा किए गए कार्यों को याद किया जाता है और आने वाले भविष्य में भी याद किया जाएगा।

Trigger warning: Mentions of crematoriums, death and COVID-19 trauma

By Azra Mobin

My name is Azra Mobin and I am a social worker and activist based in Lucknow. For the last month or so, I have been supporting people affected by the second wave of COVID-19. Ever since Holi was celebrated in early April, the situation has been getting worse.

As I have been involved in social work for some years, there are many people who have my contact number and so they reach out to me, when they, or somebody they know needs support.

Representational image.

1.00 AM: I’m woken up by a call from a man based in Kanpur. His father was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised in Lucknow. He is calling me because his father has passed away, and since he and the rest of the family are all COVID-positive too, they have to isolate and cannot travel to Lucknow to take care of the formalities.

They do have one family member in Lucknow, but he is diabetic and needs to be very cautious about not getting infected himself, so they are looking for somebody who will be able to help them with the formalities at the hospital as well as with the cremation. The hospital has informed them that they can release the body by 7 AM. I assure him that I will go to the hospital in the morning and take care of the situation.

I try to catch a few hours of sleep.

4.30 AM: As it is the holy month of Ramzan I wake up before dawn to pray and have a meal before the sun rises.

7.00 AM: I arrive at the hospital, along with another social worker. We manage to complete all the formalities at the hospital within a few hours and without too much difficulty. We arrange for an ambulance to take the body to Baikunth Dham—the nearest cremation site.

10.00 AM: When we arrive at Baikunth Dham, we realise that the process for cremation differs based on whether or not the deceased person has a certificate that shows that the death was due to COVID-19. When such a certificate is available, the workers at Baikunth Dham take care of handling the body and arranging the firewood. And the government takes care of the costs associated with these cremations.

Azra Mobin, a social worker in Lucknow helps a family to arrange a cremation
When we arrive at Baikunth Dham, we realise that the process for cremation differs based on whether or not the deceased person has a certificate that shows that the death was due to COVID-19. Photo: Azra Mobin

However, we do not have such a certificate. So, I consult with the family about how to proceed. They ask me to go ahead with the cremation without arranging for the certificate, as neither they nor I know how long it will take to get it and we are already at the cremation grounds. It takes a while to organise everything. Initially, nobody is willing to move the body from the ambulance to the cremation site. We also need to arrange for the firewood and labour. It takes several hours, but we manage to complete the final rites as per Hindu traditions.

As a Muslim woman, I did not know much about the rituals and practices that need to be followed when cremating a Hindu. I have only learnt about these in the past few weeks, ever since I started helping families arrange cremations for their loved ones. As a social worker, my role is defined by what people need, and this is the need of the hour.

4.00 PM: I receive a call from another social worker who is trying to find an oxygen bed at a hospital for a patient whose condition is serious. He has been unsuccessful so far and is reaching out to me to check if I have any leads. Over the last few weeks, many volunteer groups have been set up on WhatsApp.

Some people on these groups are social workers like myself, others are just common citizens who want to extend help where they can. Many resources are shared on these groups, but not all of them are legitimate and even when they are, there is such a severe shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and medicines, that we have to make calls each and every time a request comes in, to verify if they are still available.

A lot of citizens have been using social media to find beds, oxygen and leads on medicines to help battle COVID-19. Representational image.

I start calling hospitals that are listed as accepting COVID-19 patients. Many numbers have been switched off, or are unreachable. Others just keep ringing and nobody responds to the call. Finally, I manage to get through to Balrampur Hospital. The person at the other end of the line tells me that they have a bed available but that they cannot provide oxygen. This does not help and I find myself very frustrated by the situation. But I cannot give up until I have called every number on the list that I have, so I keep going.

Eventually, a small hospital confirms that they have an oxygen bed available. I immediately call up my social worker friend and ask him to rush the patient to this hospital so that he can be admitted and receive the care that he needs.

6.00 PM: About a week ago, I had received a call from an acquaintance who shared a number of a young man with me and asked me to call him. He did not tell me very much—just that this person was very distressed and could I please call him and see if I could help in any way. I had to try the number several times before he took the call. I introduced myself and told him that I am a social worker. I asked him how he was doing and whether I could help in any way.

Initially, he was not very forthcoming, but after a while, he broke down and told me that both his parents were unwell. From his description, their symptoms sounded like COVID-19 symptoms. His mother had passed away and he was unable to tell his father—who was still unwell—that his mother was no more.

I did my best to console him and also enquired about his own health. He told me that he felt okay but that he hadn’t been able to eat anything since his mother passed away two days ago. He was missing his mother terribly. I tried to convince him to eat something and also told him that I would try to arrange some medical attention for his father.

While I knew that the family lived on Rae Bareilly Road, I did not have the exact address, and he disconnected the call before I could ask.

I have been trying to connect with him ever since then, but all my calls have gone unanswered.

I try the number again, and today a young girl, who is probably 19-20 years old answers the call. It turns out that she is the boy’s younger sister. I tell her about the conversation that I had with her brother a week ago and let her know that I am calling to enquire about her family and how they are doing.

She sounds very distraught and somehow, I manage to understand from what she’s saying, that since I spoke to her brother, he has passed away, along with their father and grandmother. After she tells me this, she cuts the call and does not pick up the phone again. I feel helpless. I know that I probably won’t be able to sleep tonight. This family’s situation and that of many others will run through my mind in an endless loop.

At times, my work is overwhelming. But I know that if my own family was in a similar situation, I would do what needed to be done. I cannot possibly sit silently when there are others who need support. I have to help.

About the author: Azra Mobin is a social worker and activist based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

As told to IDR. This article was originally published on India Development Review.

महाराष्ट्र में वर्तमान में 45 वर्ष से अधिक आयु के नागरिकों को प्राथमिकता दी जानी है। इसलिए 18 से 44 साल के आयु के व्यक्तियों को तुरंत वैक्सीन नहीं मिलेगी, इसकी घोषणा राज्य के स्वास्थ्य मंत्री राजेश टोपे ने की है।

राजेश टोपे ने कहा, हम महाराष्ट्र राज्य में 18-44 आयु के व्यक्तियों के लिए टीकाकरण तुरंत स्थगित कर रहे हैं। सीरम के प्रमुख आदर पूनावाला ने मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव ठाकरे से मुलाकात की है। उन्होंने कहा कि 20 मई के बाद हर महीने महाराष्ट्र को 1.5 करोड़ वैक्सीन की डोज दी जाएंगी। लंदन से भारत आने पर वह तय करेंगे कि इससे कैसे निपटा जाए?

और पढ़ें: एम्बुलेंस छिपाकर रखने वाले भाजपा सांसद की जगह पप्पू यादव को जेल मानवता विरोधी कृत्य है”

 महाराष्ट्र सरकार द्वारा खरीदे गए टीके 45 वर्ष से अधिक आयु के लोगों को दिए जाएंगे। दूसरी डोज के लिए 20 लाख डोज की आवश्यकता है। वर्तमान में वैक्सीन की केवल केवल 10 लाख डोज उपलब्ध हैं। पहली डोज की तुरंत उम्मीद नहीं की जानी चाहिए। अगर 4-5 दिनों के बाद और टीके उपलब्ध हो जाते हैं, तो हम पहली डोज के बारे में फैसला करेंगे। ऐसा राज्य के स्वास्थ मंत्री राजेश टोपे ने कहा है।

कैबिनेट में लॉकडाउन बढ़ाने पर सहमत और अंतिम निर्णय मुख्यमंत्री द्वारा लिया जाएगा

राजेश टोपे ने कहा, लॉकडाउन के दौरान कोरोना मरीजो की संख्या कम हुई है। लॉकडाउन के बाद, कोरोना मरीजो की संख्या 7 लाख से घटकर 4 लाख 75 हज़ार हो गई है। महाराष्ट्र के कोरोना की मामले की दर पूरे देश की कोरोना दर से आधी है। इसलिए, बैठक ने सर्वसम्मति से मांग की कि इस संख्या को और कम करने के लिए राज्य में लॉकडाउन को 30 मई तक बढ़ाया जाए। मुख्यमंत्री इस संबंध में अंतिम निर्णय लेंगे। जब सीरम इन्स्टिट्यूट वैक्सीन देती है, तो 18 से 44 आयु वर्ग के नागरिकों को टीका लगाया जाएगा।

राजेश टोपे ने वास्तव में क्या कहा?

राजेश टोपे ने कहा, राज्य में केवल दूसरी डोज लेने वाले लोगों को ही टीकाकरण केंद्र में आना होगा। पहली डोज अब टीकाकरण केंद्रों पर उपलब्ध नहीं होगी। पहली डोज के बाद दूसरी डोज कोरोना को रोकने के लिए समान रूप से महत्वपूर्ण है। राज्य में 20 लाख नागरिकों को दूसरी डोज दी जानी बाकी है। जैसे, राज्य सरकार ने टीकाकरण केंद्र पर केवल एक दूसरी डोज को पूरा करने का निर्णय लिया है।

और पढ़ें: “पिता को आखिरी वक्त में भी नहीं देख पाईं नताशा, सत्ता इससे ज़्यादा और कितनी क्रूर होगी?”

वर्तमान में राज्य में 16 लाख कोविशिल्ड टीके और 4 लाख कोवैक्सीन के ऐसे कुल मिलाकर अभी 20 लाख टीके बचे हैं। 7 लाख कोविशिल्ड, जबकि 4 लाख कोवैक्सीन प्राप्तकर्ताओं की संख्या शेष है। इसे ध्यान में रखते हुए, सरकार ने केवल टीकाकरण केंद्रों को प्राथमिकता देने का फैसला किया है।

अंकित भारद्वाज निर्देशित फिल्म ‘वो खास’ वास्तव में एक बहुत ही खास फिल्म है। अंकित ने न केवल एक अच्छी लघु फिल्म बनाई है, बल्कि यह युवा फिल्म निर्माताओं के लिए एक केस स्टडी भी है। ऋचा सिंह जो इस फिल्म की निर्माता हैं, उन्हें कलाकारों को खुद को अभिव्यक्त करने की आज़ादी देने का पूरा श्रेय मिलना चाहिए।

क्या है कहानी?

एक व्यवसायी अपने नीरस काम जीवन से ऊब एक दिन के लिए अपने कॉर्पोरेट सेटअप से भाग जाता है और एक लड़की से मिलता है। वह ‘एक सपने की तरह’ उसके जीवन को ‘फिल्मी शैली’ में बदल देती है। ‘वो खास’ बॉलीवुड रोमांस को एक श्रद्धांजलि है, जो मनोरंजक और समृद्ध तरीके से प्यार की वास्तविकता और भारतीय सिनेमा के संगीतमय प्रवाह को मिलाने की कोशिश करती है।

निर्देशक नया, मगर निर्देशन शानदार

अंकित भारद्वाज फिल्म के संपादक और छायाकार भी हैं, इसका मतलब है कि वह फिल्म के लगभग सब कुछ हैं। उनका निर्देशन शानदार है। हर फ्रेम ए-लिस्ट फिल्म की तरह है। उन्होंने एक्टर्स से भी कमाल की अदाकारी निकाली है। कोई भी अभिनेता और अभिनेत्री ऐसा नहीं लग रहा जैसे वे पहली बार कैमरे का सामना कर रहे हों।

यह अंकित की जीत भी है, क्योंकि उन्होंने शूटिंग के उत्साह को इतना आरामदायक बना दिया। उनका संपादन भी एक पेशेवर की तरह है। उन्होंने ध्वनि विभाग को भी बहुत अच्छी तरह से संभाला है। फिल्म का संगीत सुरीला है, पार्श्व संगीत भी प्यारा है। अब बात करते हैं अगम आनंद की।

वह एक प्रसिद्ध उपन्यासकार हैं, इसीलिए उनके द्वारा लिखे गए संवाद और स्क्रीनप्ले इतने बेहतरीन हैं कि मुझे फिल्म किसी भी अन्य रोमांटिक लघु फिल्म से ज्यादा पसंद आई। फिल्म के संवाद को अलंकृत, स्मार्ट और बौद्धिक रूप से लिखा गया है।

शुरुआती दृश्य में विहान कहता है ‘वह 90 के दशक में पैदा हुआ है और वह रचनात्मक स्वतंत्रता का हकदार है’ और अगले दृश्य में ड्राइवर कहता है ‘देश लोगों से भरा है, मुझे ठीक से बताएं कि आप कहां जाना चाहते हैं?’ ये देश में अधिक जनसंख्या और 90 के दशक के सिनेमा की शिथिलता पर बनी व्यंग्य की पंक्तियां हैं। कॉमिक सीन बहुत शहरी हैं लेकिन यह सभी को पसंद आएगा।

कुछ हद तक यह फिल्म मुझे इम्तियाज़ अली की लघु फिल्म की तरह लगी। फिल्म में रोमांस इतनी समझदारी से किया गया है कि यह कभी अजीब नहीं लगता, और निशान छोड़ जाता है। फिल्म का क्लाइमेक्स हाइलाइट है। यह इतनी अच्छी तरह से लिखा और निर्देशित किया गया है कि आप इन पात्रों को और अधिक जानना चाहते हैं।

फिल्म में कुछ चीज़ें खराब भी हैं, चाहे वह निरंतरता हो या कुछ स्थानों पर ध्वनि प्रभाव। मगर पूरी टीम की पहली फिल्म होने के नाते इसे नजरअंदाज़ किया जाना चाहिए। यह छोटे शहर के फिल्म निर्माताओं के लिए एक सबक है कि आप एक गुणवत्ता वाली फिल्म कैसे बना सकते हैं।

बड़े पर्दों की फ़िल्म जितनी शानदार

आगम आनंद का अभिनय बहुत ही समझदारी से किया गया है। वह कभी भी अपने चरित्र की सीमा नहीं छोड़ता है और फिर भी बॉलीवुड नायकों को एक स्टाइलिश तरीके से श्रद्धांजलि देता है। शांभवी सिंह इस फिल्म की दिल हैं, वह बहुत खूबसूरत हैं और उन्होंने अपनी भूमिका के साथ न्याय किया है।

अगम आनंद की तरह उन्होंने भी अपना हिस्सा स्टाइलिश तरीके से निभाया और वह एक बॉलीवुड हिरोइन की तरह दिखती हैं। दोनों की केमिस्ट्री सराहनीय है, वे एक साथ मनमोहक लगते हैं। आर जे चोखा कार चालक के रूप में एकदम सही हैं। वह वास्तव में छोटे शहर का एक व्यक्ति दिखता है, जो दर्शकों की तरह अपने यात्रियों के बारे में बातें जानने की कोशिश कर रहा है। अन्य सभी सहायक पात्र केवल कथा को भरने के लिए हैं और वे भी ठीक हैं।

ऐनाशा मोशन पिक्चर्स और पॉकेट फिल्म्स के प्रत्येक सदस्य को बधाई, यह लघु फिल्म बड़े पर्दे की फिल्म जितनी अच्छी है। यह एक मस्ट वॉच है और मेरी तरफ से 4 स्टार।

This Mother’s Day, I would like to pray, feel gratitude and request to our common Mother, Mother Nature, to help the world in speedy healing.

Oh Mother Nature,

What you and our moms have similar in nature is the practice of giving. They give us birth, and you give us this entire world and all the necessities for survival. Be it food, water or oxygen, you have always been kind to your children.

We know that you are hurting and suffering because of the selfishness, ignorance and irresponsibility of your children. We enter this world only to poison your streams and seas, destroy your forests, and slowly kill you. You have been protecting and nurturing us for ages, and for that, we should be grateful to you forever.

pollution, meat, corona virus, health, environment, green, earth
Covid has attacked the world’s physical and mental strength. So, I ask you, our Mother, to pardon your children and help this world to heal faster.

Covid has attacked this world with its ability to destroy our physical and mental strength. So, I ask you, our Mother, to pardon your children and help this world to heal faster. Oh mother nature, we need you today more than ever. Please forgive us and embrace us, give us one more chance to please you and make you feel proud. Oh compassionate and loving God, we are thankful to you for giving birth on such a beautiful planet.

Today, when I see disease, violence and insensitivity of people around, my heart cries and I feel we have failed as your children. We apologise for letting you down. Please give us a chance, one more chance, to please you. Please help this world recover better and faster.

Also read: 12 Questions That Will Put Your COVID Vaccine Queries To Rest

“If you give hope on life to at least one, you are successful as a human. We have no idea whom we are inspiring,” is what he believes. Manikanta Badam is an award-winning author from Southern India who has self-published his debut book and made it to top charts and people’s hearts. He often feels that ‘the underrated are those in whom the passion is overrated’.

His book is titled ‘Time to Inspire: The Compilation Of 25 Untold Stories’ and available on all major e-commerce sites under the non-fiction self-help genre. He shares that writing has always been a major part of his life and remembers writing his first article when he was a 5-year-old and keeping a diary since he was 14. Though his limbs were small back then, he had big dreams and the same might have triggered him to write his first article on a one-rupee coin.

Image has been provided by the author.

Like many others, he flew to Chennai on a scholarship post his higher education. Despite having thoughts of excelling in academics, he didn’t really like the concepts he was being taught in his university. He had 14 backlogs in his engineering course and almost thought of giving up as he felt that he wouldn’t be able to make it to graduation.

Instead of working on his degree that was uncertain, he thought of building something that he can take wherever he goes. That’s where he started to write and share on different social media platforms. All his nonfiction articles were born into a book and the reception was lovable. He respects the versatility of others and his own. He said:

“Writing has taught me so many things. Especially in countries such as India, it’s very hard to establish your career as a full-time writer. After my first book, I understood how complicated the publishing industry is and how important marketing is. I feel that my first book is a memorable candid and this time I am on a plan to make something big. Apart from books, I have many other ideas to explore the globe. The first book happened post-traumatically and it has recurred and it can recur further as well. That is uncertain. What’s certain is how you handle your mental wellness and how dedicated you are to self-care. Dreams definitely do better our life.”

Also read: ‘Three Thousand Stitches’ By Sudha Murthy Makes You Laugh, Cry And Think- A Lot!

शीर्षक – कार्यकर्ता

बैठकों से लेकर सभाओं तक
घर से लेकर पूरे शहर तक
अपनी जी जान लगा देता है
बस इसी बात के लिए अब जीतेंगे

हार जीत का सबसे ज़्यादा फर्क
उसको ही पड़ता है
नेता आते हैं जाते हैं
कार्यकर्ता वहीं रह जाता है
आशाओं उमंगों की दुनिया में खड़ा

एक इंसान जो अपने जीवन से ज़्यादा
अपने विचारों की जंग को ज़िन्दा रखता है
अपने आदर्शों को दिल में समाए
जूझता रहता है इस दोगली दुनिया से

तब टूटता है कार्यकर्ता
जब संकट में साथ नहीं देता कोई
फिर भी कलेजे पर हाथ रख
जलाए रहता है विचारधारा की ज्वाला
क्योंकि उसी ने उसको जिंदा कर रखा है
बाकि मौन मूर्तियों ने तो
उसके कत्ल की आह तक नहीं सुनी

जलते घरों को देख
बौखला जाता है
अपनों के फोन ना लगने पर सहम जाता है
किसी से कुछ कहता नहीं
पर अंतर द्वंद मे मारा जाता है कार्यकर्ता
बैठकों से लेकर सभाओं तक
घर से लेकर पूरे शहर तक
अपनी जी जान लगा देता है कार्यकर्ता

-अघोरी अमली सिंह

Elections are considered the bedrock of a democracy. The fairness of elections is sine qua non to maintain the quality of the democracy in a country. Maintaining the fairness and freedom of elections is the first-hand duty of the Election Commission. And here comes the role of the EC in a democracy which is, in fact, very important. India is one of the few countries to have independent election commissions.

Articles 324 to 329 of the Indian Constitution provide for the establishment of the Election Commission of India and give it the power to conduct, supervise, administer and control elections. Further, 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments also make similar provisions for state election commissions. The roles assigned to both of them are somewhat similar, though there are specific areas of functioning. These various roles are registration of political parties, assigning them symbols, conduction of periodic elections, checking for malpractices in any election, resolving electoral disputes, disqualifying candidates according to various laws etc. Besides, enforcing the Moral Code of Conduct and taking appropriate action in case of violation are two of the most important functions of the EC, for which, the credit goes to TN Sheshan, who is considered the cleaner of electoral politics in India.

TN Sheshan, the cleaner of electoral politics in India.

Hence, the EC is the guardian of free and fair elections. Additionally, it upholds the values enshrined in the Constitution, i.e. equality, equity, impartiality, independence and rule of law. It takes into cognisance electoral malpractices during elections and takes appropriate action. For example, during the recent Assembly elections in West Bengal, action was taken against many candidates who were allegedly involved in electoral malpractice.

In spite of having such powers, the credibility of the EC has been in question as various issues have surfaced over the last few years. Indirect control of the government and its executives over the EC has seemingly increased. The executives at helm of all affairs of the EC seemed to be taking biased action or in fact, not taking appropriate action at all.

Due to this, the transparency of institutional working has been compromised. Also, the EC has been unable to deal with challenges such as criminalisation of electoral politics (as has been witnessed in the recent Assembly elections in many states) and inappropriate funding of elections through unjust means. Further, the EC is inadequately equipped to regulate political parties and enforce inner party democracy.

Therefore, these challenges are vigilant and watchful, and require an appropriate response. In order to do so, more legal backing is required for the EC to function well. Reports of the Tarkunde Committee (1975) and Goswami Committee (1990) must be taken into consideration to provide legal measures, as should the second ARC recommended for the establishment of a collegium of several members including leader of the opposition party and members of judiciary to appoint election commissioners.

The honourable Supreme court has also asserted that no bureaucrat serving or has served in the government should be given charge of state election commissions. The EC must be given the power to deregister political parties, something it has been demanding for a long time to have effective control over. Also, the use of technology should be enhanced for transparency. Though, with the use of EVMs, VVPATs and NOTA, the EC has gained much confidence of the people, it is not sufficient as there have been allegations of hacking these machines.

Thus, the role of the EC in a democracy is one which ought not to be compromised. This becomes even more essential in a country such as ours where we claim of having the largest democracy. The reforms are the need of the day to not just substantiate our claim, but also to make the EC more powerful and independent. This is an imperative to have more healthy, clean and representative democracy.

Also read: Democracy: Available To All, Accessible To Some, Affordable To Few

Covid-19 or coronavirus is an infectious disease caused by a virus. This disease spreads throughout the body and can cause respiratory problems, high fever, and in severe cases, can cause difficulty in breathing. The disease can be prevented by maintaining regular hygiene and keeping distance from those affected people.

What Are The Symptoms?

The first symptoms are usually dry cough and high fever in the host body. In severe cases, the patient has trouble in breathing. It sounds like a normal flu, but you should get a check-up done if you have these symptoms. The most important thing is that you will have both dry cough and fever. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it can take up to 14 days between the time the virus enters the body and shows symptoms. However, some researchers believe that this time can also be up to 24 days.

child wearing mask

The coronavirus spreads more in the host body of people once the first symptom appears. But many experts believe that this virus can spread even before making a person sick. The damage that the coronavirus can cause to one’s immunity system can also prove to be fatal.

How Can We Avoid From Getting Infected?

To prevent this disease from entering one’s body, proper hygiene must be maintained all the time. Wash your hands every 1-2 hours. One should not come in contact with a person already infected with the virus. Eating outside should be avoided. We must follow physical distancing to avoid the spread of this virus.

If we have to go out, we must wear a mask, and after coming back home, we should wash our hands with soap or hand sanitiser. We can use any alcohol-based sanitiser to sanitise ourselves. We should avoid touching our face or eyes when outdoors.

Also read: 12 Questions That Will Put Your COVID Vaccine Queries To Rest

When I ask you to consider small companies, what type of business comes to your mind? Maximum people think about their nearby grocery stores, bakery shops, photography studios, internet cafes, a small manufacturing unit etc. when they think about small businesses.

The definition of a small business also varies depending on the concerned authority’s regulations and specificities. But the ultimate purpose of any business remains the same, and that is to attract clients to purchase your services and products.

Having stated that, small agencies, via their inherent nature, are constrained in terms of finances and sources. They don’t have massive a advertising and marketing budget to reach clients for their business. Let us see how a small commercial business proprietor can gain from a digital marketing course in Bangalore.

Why A Digital Marketing Course

1. To create brand awareness

Even small businesses want to brand themselves. A digital advertising and marketing training module can teach a business owner how to create a compelling digital presence either through a website or social media. Many customers are moving online and there is a massive market out there that businesses want to harness. These customer groups can be reached without difficulty.

2. To increase reach

Each business wants to reach its potential customers. While traditionally, businesses used marketing channels such as print media, fliers, coupon sales and so on, they’re no longer as powerful. Lamentably, due to changing customer conduct, the reach you attain through these traditional methods is neither good-sized nor predictable.

Digital marketing teaches a commercial business owner how to use digital marketing techniques to attain a wider audience. Many clients are shifting online and business owners can reach clients outside their physical vicinity to sell nationally and even internationally.

3. To save on advertising costs

There are numerous paid advertising alternatives that can be used by small companies to reach their customers online. The fee incurred in running those ads is very low as compared to the fee for traditional advertising channels. If a business owner takes up digital marketing, they can learn how to run paid advertising and marketing campaigns for their commercial business and achieve many dreams such as branding, generating leads and conversions.

4. To connect with relevant customers

One main disadvantage of traditional advertising and marketing is that we cannot deeply target our clients. Consequently, the leads we get from traditional campaigning are not of highest satisfaction. In a digital marketing syllabus structure, you’re taught how to discover and target your applicable target audience using various filters such as demographics, age, place, hobbies and behaviour. A commercial business owner can use this know-how to get quality leads that are most likely to buy their services or products.

5. To help in business analysis

Digital marketing scores more over traditional advertising and marketing as it is easier to research campaign activities and consequences in digital marketing. The digital marketing course in Bangalore offers commercial business owners an understanding of how to analyse their advertising activities for each paid, organic or first-class-song they get and their the first-class returns for their funding.

Conclusion

We’ve seen how small commercial business owners can take advantage of digital marketing. So, if you are a business owner, you can find the best digital marketing training institute in Bangalore, Jayanagar, Indiranagar, Malleshwaram, HSR Layout, Hebbal and Marathahalli, and enrol today to push your marketing efforts to the next level.

Have you been using digital marketing in your commercial business? Do remark and allow us to know which gain you found the most relevant.

Also read: How To Conquer India’s Skill Gap

With stay-at-home orders, unemployment, and infection,  the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. As the Coronavirus spreads, public health actions such as isolation and social distancing are necessary to reduce the spread, but they can make us feel isolated and lonely and can also increase stress and anxiety, worsening our mental health. The Coronavirus has upended our daily routines, future plans, and lifestyles. Our new reality poses a unique set of challenges for all of us. This is the time to do all we can to protect our own mental health as well as of those we love. Taking care of ourselves is important, so that we are equipped to help our families through these tough times.

Listed below are things we can do to strengthen our mental health during the pandemic:

  • We should try to limit our media intake to a couple of times a day and use trusted news sources only. We should take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories because hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting.
  • We should take care of our body by trying meditation, yoga, deep breathing, stretching, eating healthy, keeping ourselves hydrated all day, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and so on. Getting plenty of sleep can keep our immune system running at its best to fight off infections. It also keeps stress in check.
  • Try out intuitive eating. It is important to pay attention to our body and what it needs in the moment: a meal or a snack?
  • We should add preventive measures like taking vitamins, calculating our oxygen level everyday, and getting vaccinated whenever it is available.
  • We should clean our hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and use alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it.
  • We should always look for opportunities to laugh. Laughing is a great therapy.
Reading books is a great way of spending time and exercising our brains during the ample free time we have in the lockdown. Representational Image.
  • There are several qualified mental health counselors available to help us. We can talk to them virtually about our worries.
  • Besides healing ourselves, we can make a donation of money, supplies, or time to a cause we care about, including blood donations.
  • Besides this, we should try to do some activities we enjoy doing like deep cleaning our living space, re-organizing our closet, starting a new creative project, and so on.
  • We should also try to talk with people we trust through mail or on the phone. Moreover, helping others cope with stress through phone or video calls can help us and our loved ones feel less lonely or isolated.
  • If we are feeling lonely, we can jump out to YKA forums which are safe and supportive.
  • We can also make a music playlists for our different moods/vibes, asking our friends to add their favorites too. We can also read books and novels from our favorite genres.
  • The best and most common way people are spending their time is by trying out DIY tips and tricks from YouTube and making their homes beautiful. In addition to this, learning how to cook tasty and healthy recipes and letting your mother rest a bit is also a great initiative.
  • Have you ever wanted to get into drawing or learning a musical instrument? If yes, this is the perfect time to make a start. I am learning to sing along, while playing my ukulele these days. YouTube has great free online tutorials for pretty much everything. We can also share videos and lectures on how to stay healthy and positive through our YouTube channels, if you have one.

Along with these, we need to remind ourselves that it will end someday, even if we might not have a clear end date. We will definitely return to our regular lives in the days to come.

Also read: My Quarantine Story: “I Had To Remind Myself That It Was Not An Apocalyptic Movie”

भारत के किसी भी शहर में आप जाएं, हर जगह किसी न किसी एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस या खिलाड़ियों की तस्वीरें दिखाई पड़ ही जाएंगी। हर सुबह किसी चाय की दुकान पर अनगिनत जवान, बच्चे और बुजुर्ग इत्यादि इनके बारे में चर्चा करते दिख ही जाएंगे।

आप किसी भी नाई की दुकान में जाएं, वहां पर अनेक फिल्मी एक्टर के फोटो मिल जाते हैं। जब कोई अपना बाल कटवाने के लिए पहुंचता है, तो उसे किसी एक्टर का हेयर स्टाइल दिखाया जाता है और उसकी पसंद या नापसंद के अनुसार ही अक्सर नाई बाल काटते नज़र आते हैं। खासकर युवाओं में तो किसी विशेष फिल्मी एक्टर के हेयर स्टाइल को कॉपी करने के लिए होड़ सी मची रहती है।

यही बात किसी ब्यूटिशियन के साथ भी लागू होती है। अगर आप किसी ब्यूटिशियन के पास जाएं तो वहां भी अनगिनत एक्ट्रेस की फोटोज़ मिल जाती हैं। किसी भी लोकल मार्किट में जाएं, चाहे कपड़ों की दुकानें हों, लोकल गहनों की दुकान हो या जूस कॉर्नर, हर जगह किसी न किसी एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस या किसी खेल के खिलाड़ियों की तस्वीरें मिल ही जाती हैं।

टीवी, अखबार से लेकर चौक-चौराहों तक हर जगह इनकी उपस्थिति

अगर टी वी पर आने वाले प्रचारों की बातें करें तो साबुन, सर्फ, बाइक, शैंपू इत्यादि के उत्पादों के लिए अनगिनत कंपनियां प्रसिद्ध एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस या प्रसिद्ध खेल के खिलाड़ियों का इस्तेमाल करते हुए दिख जाती हैं। टी.वी. के अनेक लाइव शो में ये साफ-साफ दिखाई पड़ता है कि अपने पसंदीदा एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस या किसी खेल के खिलाड़ी के लिए उनके फैन की दीवानगी किस हद तक होती है। इनके कुछ फैन तो अपने पसंदीदा कलाकार का नाम अपने शरीर पर लिखवा लिए रहते हैं।

इसका मूल कारण ये है कि ज़्यादातर लोगों पर इन एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस या किसी खेल के खिलाड़ियों के प्रति सम्मान का भाव रहता है। लोग इनके आचरण का अनुसरण कर इनके जैसा ही बनना चाहते हैं या इनके जैसा ही दिखना चाहते हैं। इसी दीवानगी के कारण छोटे-छोटे दुकानदार या बड़ी-बड़ी कंपनियां इस प्रसिद्ध सेलिब्रिटी का इस्तेमाल अपने उत्पादों के प्रचार के लिए करती आ रही हैं। इसी कारण हर गली, हर नुक्कड़, हर मुहल्ले पर इन पब्लिक सेलिब्रिटी के फोटोज़ मिल जाएंगे।

ऐसा इसलिए क्योंकि इन सेलिब्रिटी का समाज पर व्यापक असर होता है। लोग इनके जैसा ही प्रसिद्ध होना चाहते हैं। समाज में यदि ये सेलिब्रिटी अगर किसी उत्पाद का प्रचार कर दें तो उसकी बिक्री निश्चित रूप से बढ़ जाती है। समाज पर इनका व्यापक प्रभाव होता है। लोगों पर् इनका खूब असर होता है। समाज से इनको मान, सम्मान, प्रतिष्ठा, ताकत सब कुछ मिल रहा है लेकिन ये मनोरंजन करने के अलावा समाज को क्या दे रहे हैं? ये बड़ा महत्वपूर्ण हो जाता है।

सिलिब्रिटीज़ को नकारात्मक चीज़ों के प्रचार से बचना चाहिए

आश्चर्यजनक तरीके से अनेक एक्टर, एक्ट्रेस, पब्लिक सेलिब्रिटीज़ पान, खैनी, सिगरेट, गुटका, शराब, जंक फूड प्रॉडक्ट्स, ऑनलाइन गेम इत्यादि का प्रचार करते हुए दिख जाते हैं। क्या इन्हें समाज के प्रति अपनी जिम्मेदारी का कोई एहसास नहीं होता?

पान, खैनी, सिगरेट, गुटका, शराब, जंक फूड प्रॉडक्ट्स, ऑनलाइन गेम्स इत्यादि के प्रचार का सबसे खराब असर नई पीढ़ी पर होता है। यह सबको पता है कि इनका असर शरीर पर खराब ही होता है। समाज ने इनको इतनी ताकत दी हुई है और इस ताकत का इस्तेमाल ये सेलिब्रिटी केवल अपने आर्थिक लाभ के लिए करते हैं।

क्या ये पब्लिक सेलिब्रिटी अपने बच्चों को इन चीज़ों के सेवन के लिए प्रोत्साहित करेंगे? क्या ये चाहेंगे कि स्कूलों में इन चीज़ों को बढ़ावा मिले? इसका उत्तर तो नकारात्मक ही होना चाहिए। ये जानी पहचानी कहावत है कि बड़ी ताकत के साथ बड़ी जिम्मेदारी भी आती है। यदि इन सिलिब्रिटीज़ के पास समाज को प्रभावित करने की इतनी बड़ी ताकत जनता प्रदान कर रही है, तो क्या इनकी कोई जिम्मेदारी समाज के प्रति नहीं बनती?
क्या ये बेहतर नहीं होगा कि ये पब्लिक सेलिब्रिटीज़ अपनी नैतिक जिम्मेदारी समझते हुए पान, खैनी, सिगरेट, गुटका, शराब, जंक फूड प्रॉडक्ट्स, ऑनलाइन गेम्स जैसे खतरनाक उत्पादों को प्रोत्साहन देना बंद कर दें? आखिर ये ज़रूरी नहीं कि हर अनैतिक कार्य को कानूनी प्रक्रिया द्वारा ही रोका जाए। नैतिक जिम्मेदारी का एहसास होना भी तो ज़रूरी है।

हम अक्सर सरकारी स्कूलों में शिक्षण गुणवत्ता की बातें करते हैं और सारी सरकारी मशीनरी इन स्कूलों को बेहतर बनाने में लगी हुई है। इन स्कूलों में विद्यार्थी-संख्या बढ़ाने हेतु अधिकारियों द्वारा प्लान बनाए जाते हैं। पर विडंबना देखिए कि लगभग सभी शासकीय शिक्ष, बड़े-बड़े अधिकारियों और नेताओं के बच्चे इन स्कूलों में कभी नहीं पढ़ते हैं। अब जब सरकार द्वारा संचालित सरकारी स्कूलों के कर्ता-धर्ताओं को ही विश्वास नहीं इन स्कूलों में, तो शिक्षण गुणवत्ता कैसे बेहतर होगी?  यह बात तो वो स्वयं ही बता सकते हैं.

हम लोग अपनी ईमानदारी का दावा करते हुए और उसका बैंड बजाते हुए,  भ्रष्टाचार पर दूसरों को कोसते हैं। पर, हम लोग सबसे पहले अपना काम ज़ल्दी करवाने हेतु अंडर द टेबल लेन-देन से भी नहीं कतराते हैं।

और पढ़ें: “पिता को आखिरी वक्त में भी नहीं देख पाईं नताशा, सत्ता इससे ज़्यादा और कितनी क्रूर होगी?”

किसी रेल में बिना टिकट के यात्रा करते हुए पकडे जाने पर, ईमानदार TTE साहब ने ज़ुर्माने के रूप में 1,000 की रसीद फाड़ दी, तो हम अपना बुरा सा मुहं बना लेते हैं। वहीं अगर TTE साहब ने 100 लेकर मामला रफा-दफा कर दिया। तो हम अपने मन में बहुत प्रसन्ता का अनुभव करते हैं।

हम कोरोना जैसी आपदाओं के समय अर्थशास्त्र के डिमांड सप्लाई नियम का अति-निष्ठा से पालन करते हुए, निर्धन और बेरोजगार जनता को दो रुपये की वस्तु को चार रुपये में बेचते हैं।

हमारे परिवार के महिला सदस्यों को कोई देखे, तो हम लोग क्रोधित हो जाते हैं और वहीं दूसरे परिवारों की महिला सदस्यों को अपनी बुरी नज़रों से घूरते रहते हैं।

हम लोग अनेकता में एकता का दावा करते हुए, हम एक हैं का नारा लगाते हैं और जाति, धर्म, क्षेत्र, नस्ल, लिंग आदि पर एक -दूसरे से लड़ते रहते हैं। क्या हम कभी सुधरेंगे?

It is so unfortunate and admirable at the same time to see young students and volunteers from all across the country stepping up to help battle the second wave of Covid when the government seems to have turned an blind eye over the same.

There are not many instances in modern history when people stepped up as the chosen government failed to subsidise basic amenities to its crippling nation amidst a fatal pandemic.

As the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country, the healthcare system collapsed and began running out of essential resources such as oxygen cylinders and beds needed to supplement the lives of hard-hit patients. Being observed since the beginning of March, the second wave of the virus caused a rapid shortage of essentials in hospitals across the country. Because of no efficient channel run by the government to locate Covid resources, the youth of the land utilised the internet to make way for the same.

Umang Galaiya, a young software engineer, is one of the many volunteers who realised the dire need to step up as India surpassed Brazil, Russia, Italy and the UK, second only to America, to become the country with the highest number of recorded Covid-19 infected individuals. “If patients are able to search on Twitter efficiently, they would be able to find the resources they are looking for,” said Umang, creator of covid19-twitter. He added:

“If patients are able to search on Twitter efficiently, they would be able to find the resources they are looking for,” said Umang, creator of covid19-twitter.

“At the time I made the website, Twitter was more-or-less a centralised database of people looking for resources or of people posting about them. But since Twitter’s advanced search isn’t that intuitive for users, it made sense to have another website where users could select the things they were looking for and automatically generate an advanced Twitter search query.”

Websites like the one by Umang have been making headlines across social media. “People who’ve found these websites to be helpful are amplifying it, including those with a following of millions of followers, such as Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Biswa Kalyan Rath and Kenny Sebastian, to name a few,” Umang said.

The website has also featured on various news portals as well.

“Covid-twitter is a simple aggregator tool that lets you search for medicines, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, etc. for your city. Make sure you tick the right boxes and the results will show verified leads for the concerned information,” Indian Express reported on the utility of the website.

Regarding the authenticity of the information shared through the website, Umang said, “I don’t store any tweets and neither do I personally verify any of them. For the tweets, I just rely on people to use the word “verified” in their tweets judiciously.” Because of the absence of any trusted source of verification, I asked Umang if there had been any trouble because of this, to which he said, “None that I’m aware of. Information gets outdated quickly, though. If I verify that someone has ten cylinders in stock in Delhi right now, they would have run out all 10 in the next half an hour. So the “verified” information would become unverified after an hour. That’s why I try sorting by Latest and ask people to manually click on Latest in case it doesn’t get sorted automatically.” 

Another efficient website, Covid-19 resources, which has over 300,000 visits to date, was started casually while directing people in need of comprehensive lists of available resources in Delhi to the website. “I met a few people on Instagram and other social media platforms who were also helping people locate resources. I got in touch with them and decided to scale up the process to help people throughout the country, and not just limited to the Capital,” said Faraz Iqbal, a second-year engineering student at the Aligarh Muslim University, told me while talking about the developmental process of the website.

“I gathered around a bunch of 25-30 volunteers, allotted them each with a state and the kind of work they could do for the website to run and serve the motive effectively,” said Covid-19 resources creator Faraz Iqbal.

“I gathered around a bunch of 25-30 volunteers, allotted them each with a state and the kind of work they could do for the website to run and serve the motive effectively,” Faraz is accompanied by many volunteers, and one of them is Saumya Sagarika, whom I had the opportunity to talk to about the ongoing efforts made by people of her likes to aid the people of the country.

“I get non-stop calls throughout the day by people in dire need of resources, they get angry at times when we fail at providing the right resources at the right time, though it is rare and is caused not because of our inefficiency but because of the sheer lack of resources at our disposal,” she Saumya.

All these websites could have been made and run by the government, but unfortunately, it is not. Let us try to understand, however, where and how the government of India is using its power and resources in these trying times. A budget of Rs 201.58 crores has sanctioned by the government of India to set up PSA oxygen plants across the country, out of which only 33 have been set up till date. A PSA oxygen plant with a capacity to deliver 24 cylinders every day costs about Rs 33 lakhs and takes a span of about two weeks to be built.

The budget was allocated almost a year after the virus was observed in the country. Nothing, I repeat, nothing crucial was done in the span of this one year to aid the lives of the dying citizens. Surprisingly enough, amidst all of this, the work to build Central Vista (Prime Minister’s New Residence) is going in continuity without any halt, and the budget for the project, which is expected to be finished by the 2024 before the general elections, is Rs 20,000 crores. Let me try to bring the amount to a comparative for you to better understand where this amount could have been used and how.

We as a country are witnessing a death toll of tens of thousands of people everyday due to lack of amenities such as oxygen cylinders, ventilators and beds. With an amount as big as Rs 20,000 crores, one could have built around 61,000 PSA oxygen plants, delivering in total about 15,00,000 oxygen cylinders each day. The amount sanctioned for setting up oxygen plants is nowhere near the amount sanctioned for building up the new residence for the Prime Minister. It is, I believe, just a matter of priority.

Dying due to the lack of essential resources is nothing but taking our one of the most important fundamental rights away i.e., the right to life. A successful democracy can only be the one that guarantees its citizens the right to protect their own life and liberty. In India, the Protection of Life and Personal Liberty is a fundamental right granted to citizens under Part III of the Constitution of India, 1950. The government of India should be held on trial to murder its citizens by not providing them with the essentials of humans existence. I rest my case.

Also read: Are You Black Marketing COVID-19 Medicines? Think Twice Before Doing It In Kanpur

I am not a Modi Bhakt. In fact, I am a fierce and passionate critic of him who even holds him mainly But, facts and political positions must not be biased and based on which party you support. Unbiasedness is one thing missing in a lot many political commentators and observers. Things only rot and rust in darkness and lies. So in this article, I’ll be defending a much-criticized project dubbed “Modi Mahal” and “PM’s Lavish Vanity Project” by its opponents. The Central Vista Project redevelop the entire Power corridor in New Delhi from the Central Secretariat to the Parliament.

Modi has come under criticism for his Central Vista project.

The opposition parties have quite hypocritically railed against it. The liberal and woke circles have questioned the necessity to waste an estimated 20,000 crore on what they call a vanity project considering it to be for no useful purpose and only for show. Additionally, they have questioned its categorizing as “essential” in the midst of a pandemic. They have raised the issue as one where Modi is making his house and offices better when facing a pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods and asked for the money to be redirected towards pandemic response.

Here I’ll provide the rationale behind the project:

PARLIAMENT

In 2026, there is a high possibility of there being an expansion of the number of MPs in the Lok Sabha from the current maximum of 552 to an estimated 800. This is due to a twice-delayed 25 years re-numbering of the Lok Sabha due to population changes. The Lok Sabha was supposed to expand in size every 10 years and reorganized as the Indian population grew to make sure that every MP represented the same amount of people. This though was delayed twice for 25 years amounting to a freeze of 50 years in expansion due to concerns over the process.

See, this expansion was supposed to happen by re-organizing seats given to each state based on their population, but, after we adopted a population control policy, it was argued that states which were successful in controlling population growth (mainly the south) would be penalized for their success, in comparison to unsuccessful states (mainly the North Hindi speaking states). So it was shelved twice. But after a gap of 50 years, this is not expected to happen again in 2026. One problem? The capacity of the present Lok Sabha is barely 552. And by barely, I mean super-duper barely.

It is conducted. (Like Mumbai public transit. The same pinch) It has a seating style of connected benches. the Lok Sabha does not even have benches beyond the first two rows, which puts it behind even school classrooms in the privileged parts of India. Forget any technology or such modern expectations for the highest law-making body of the largest democracy in the world. And this after, options like breaking down the back walls and expanding to a nearby corridor have already been explored and gone through with. The new plan is expected to have space for nearly 1300 members with modest upgrades in technology that may come in handy.

Example? Today all of us know about the teeny-weeny problem of our legislators acting like buffoons and shouting over, cutting in, or in general creating ruckus in the parliament. Well, the present parliament does not have the tech to block a member’s microphone. Hopefully, the new one will. Plus it is also supposed to be completely a digital parliament and help save trees. The spaces in the central hall, the lobby, and Rajya Sabha too is not enough. It is to be noted that these spaces are needed for lobbying and networking as well as for joint sessions.

Infrastructure

The parliament building while looking great in pictures and from the outsides is nowhere as nice in the insides. It has antiqued and crumbling infrastructure. Drilling and other work for electrical lines, telephone lines, water, and sewage networks have all contributed to weakening infrastructure. The current parliament is also not earthquake-proof which the new one will be.

Finance

The Central Secretariat project in the CVP will involve building a connected secretariat situated together in the Central Vista Area. Currently, a part of ministerial buildings and offices are located outside which causes a waste of inter-ministerial time. But even more importantly, a lot of these outside offices are in rented spaces and we pay a bill of 1000 crore for them annually. The total cost of the CVP being 20,000 crores means that the project will pay for itself in 20 years and then actually save us money. This simple consideration is enough to validate the project.

Transit And Time

Another thing in the new central secretariat plan is the building of an underground system of transit to move around, connected to metro networks. No requirement for cars, as shuttles will be used to move around underground. This could save a lot of time and ease traffic in the area and beyond.

Public Areas

A last point of consideration is that under the project, public and tourist areas near the Central Vista Area will be expanded and developed. Public amenities will be added and infrastructure will be upgraded. The lawns and gardens will be improved and encroachment of governmental buildings in public spaces will end.

Not Alone

One thing to note here is that while the CVP might be the most massive one, it most definitely isn’t the only such project. The Maharashtra government has put in 900 crore plans for MLAs. Lawmakers have many times are laws to tighten their salaries and gifted themselves official bungalows and apartments. State assemblies have gone through redevelopment.

Now, this was the reason why the CVP is an important project. But is it essential during the pandemic as the government has categorized it? Arguably, yes. There could be any reasons for this and here I speculate:

  • Such a huge project right in the middle of our union power corridor may be causing significant time and traveling difficulties in the administration. Therefore, it might be in our best interests to go forth with it.
  • The 1000 crore rent I mentioned earlier could be a reason to not waste money by extending timelines.
  • Being part of the power circle in the capital, it has a lot more strictly implemented procedures and rules to prevent Covid outbreaks.
  • As I also mentioned we have a deadline till 2026 for the completion of the new parliament to accommodate the expected larger number of MPs.

So in conclusion I would like to reaffirm to everyone reading this, if you’re into politics and social issues, practice actively unbiasedness and critical thinking. Because the Central Vista Project is anything but useless.

Writer’s Note: Heya Readers, I just wanted to appeal to you to support my writing if you enjoyed this article, by upvoting it, sharing it on social media like WhatsApp and Instagram, and following my Youth Ki Awaaz profile. I would love to hear from you in the comments section or at darshilsh125@gmail.com or darshilsh125 username on Instagram. Your feedback is invaluable.

Also read: “Central Vista Project: The Same Old Tussle Between Modernization And Heritage “

वक्त ने फसाया है, लेकिन परेशान ना हो

यह अजीब बीमारी का इलाज

सिर्फ दूरी है, तन्हाई है और जुदाई है। 

हमारे जीवन में बहुत सारी चीज़े ऐसी हैं, जिन्हें हम अच्छी तरह से समझते हैं। जीवन में मुश्किलें तब होती हैं, जब हमारे लिए चीज़ें अनजान होती हैं। ऐसी मुश्किल घड़ी में हमें करना क्या है? यह जानना बहुत ज़रूरी होता है। पिछले एक वर्ष से हम बहुत कुछ देश-दुनिया एवं अपने आसपास देख रहे हैं। दरअसल, कोरोना संक्रमण महामारी की ऐसी कई घटनाएं हैं, जो हमें शर्मसार कर रही हैं।

और पढ़ें: आखिर हमारे समाज में महिलाएं लैंगिक भेदभाव में क्यों जकड़ी हुईं हैं?

महामारी के समय अपने देश, घर-परिवार, समाज, पड़ोसी, दोस्त व सारे अपनों की अब पहचान हो रही है। जिनसे रिश्तों में अनायास दूरी भी बढ़ रही है। कोरोना संक्रमण का डर ऐसा है कि हम सही से यह भी नहीं जानते हैं कि हमें करना क्या है? अगर कोई सेवाभाव करना भी चाहे, तो इसका डर ऐसा है कि एक पल के लिए मन की स्थिति  पर घर के अपनों की परिस्थिति का प्रभाव पड़ता है। अगर मैं अपनी बात कहूं, तो बीते कई दिनों से मैं रातों को सो नहीं पाता बस जागता रहता हूं।

मुझे बहुत घबराहट भी होती है और सोचता रहता हूं कि मेरे माता-पिता का या मेरी बीवी-बेटे का मेरे अपनों का और मेरा भविष्य क्या होगा? यह बड़े दुर्भाग्य की बात है कि जिस कोरोना वायरस की शुरुआत दिसंबर 2019 के मध्य में शुरु हुई थी और कुछ हफ्तों में ही यह हमारी पूरी दुनिया में फैल गया। वर्ष 2021 में इसकी दूसरी लहर की भयावहता से बच्चों की पढ़ाई, नौकरी, व्यवसाय, पर्व-त्यौहार का उल्लास सारा जन-जीवन ठहर सा गया है। अभी  इस वायरस की दूसरी लहर का अभी अंत भी नहीं हुआ है और तीसरी लहर के आने की संभावना तेज़ है कि उससे सबसे अधिक बच्चे प्रभावित होंगे।

महामारी का यह एक भयावह पहलू है कि अक्सर बीमारी अकेली नहीं होती है। बीमारी के साथ मृत्यु और मृत्यु के साथ भय होता है। आज हमारे आसपास एक ऐसा ही माहौल बनता जा रहा है। भय और डर, जो बहुत ज़्यादा  हमारे ऊपर हावी होता जा रहा है। कोरोना की परिस्थिति में सारे रिश्ते-नाते और कसमें, वादे, प्यार,वफा, सब बातें हैं।

और पढ़ें: “महिलाओं में माहवारी तो प्राकृतिक है, फिर ये शुद्ध-अशुद्ध का मामला क्यों आ जाता है?”

वैसे, बातों का क्या? कोई किसी का नहीं यह सब झूठे नाते हैं और नातों का क्या? किसी भी संकट के समय गर हमारे पुराने रिश्ते तड़कते हैं, तो हमारे नए रिश्ते बनते भी हैं। शायद, इसलिए कभी-कभी लगता है कि सब उस रब पर छोड़ दें और यह सोचकर जिएं कि एक दिन हमारी ज़िन्दगी बेहतर होगी, लेकिन उसके लिए हमें शांत, स्थिर और निडर रहना ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है

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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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