Discussing, debating, and defining masculinity based on movies, tv serials, books or half-baked discussions on social media can never be productive to use as a parameter for real life. The reason is simple: there are a lot of ifs and buts when movies,tv-series, books, or any medium take up the subject of masculinity. It is true when people say that in real life there are a lot of variations in how things happen which cannot be simply defined objectively.

After World War II, the world changed dramatically both for men and women. There were a lot of conscious efforts to give women space in a lot of spheres, which now even continues. India, after independence, also gave women rights at par with men at least in the Constitution of India, which directly translated into legal rights for women. Though how much of it has resulted in action is always debatable, women also have failed to rise to the occasion ( this subject is beyond the scope of the topic).

Patriarchy and masculinity dominates society in many countries.

Despite the world achieving an unprecedented level of technological and scientific achievements, there are parts of the world that continue to be fully functional patriarchal. Here, fully functional patriarchy means men are in charge of all things and women having no voice at all even for small things.

What parts of the world are fully functional patriarchs? In the Indian subcontinent- Afghanistan, and Pakistan, beyond India- Syria, Iraq, Iran, or any country which is quite vocal about women should stay at home.

When discussing patriarchy flourishing in these countries, there are no half-baked truths about patriarchy. There is no confusion about how men operate when women have no dominant role. There is no dispute regarding what are the results of patriarchy. They are self-evident. What patriarchy actually looks like can be easily defined.

With the western world becoming more developed, these originally patriarchial countries/societies have turned into ultra patriarchial societies to defend themselves from western values. Then the big ultimate question is: What does the unadulterated and pure masculinity of patriarchial societies look like?

Before I start answering this question, I would like to warn men and women who always portray men as victims of circumstances will feel deeply offended. But here there will be no scope for counter-narrative because these societies are living breathing examples that cannot be falsified even if you want.

What Does Masculinity Patriarchal Society Look Like?

1. Masculinity here is extremely violent: Whether the adrenaline coursing through the body or the unchallenged power results in being violent is debatable, one thing is clear that the men clearly express their intent to be violent if things do not go their way. Any area whether the men of these ultra patriarchial societies feel challenged or disrespectful will not shy away from killing you and will find a way to justify it. In all, the violent tendencies can be exhibited even for small disagreements or offenses.

Also read: “Even After Decades Of Activism, Why Does Patriarchy Refuse To Go?“

2. Family life is a portrayed focal point of life but filled with abuse and cruelty: Illustrating this point is pointless because scientific knowledge and research abound here, though such researches are always dismissed by men of ultra patriarchial societies. Marry against the wishes of the male member of the family and the concept of the family is thrown out.

3. No regard for the human life and the fundamental rights of the individuals: The men of these ultra patriarchial societies can kill their own let alone the stranger. The societies are self-evident of this. Nothing more can be said to describe the situation.

4. Women are weak, an excuse to not exercise self-control by men: Strong belief that men are more powerful than women results in the shifting of responsibility on women to not provoke men so that they are not raped or beaten or any kind of abuse. Don’t wear clothes which men prohibit, don’t talk loudly so that men feel angry are such examples.

5. Women by their birth and body are sex objects and cannot have any identity beyond that: Iran’s highest political leader’s statement that women do not have the right to discard the role of wife or a mother is sufficient to say how important it is for a woman to provide sex to a man in the form of marriage. Even if she can refuse to have children depends on the rights of a man.

6. Weak people should not have free will: Women are weak, so they cannot demand even the slightest of respect from strong men. Women are weak, so they should follow the rules of the men discarding the free will and consciousness granted by the creator of the human beings. This also applies in the case of people who are not physically strong.

7. Only men suffer and women enjoy: There is always a faction of men in all religions of the world who would in a public shout that women only marry men for money. Some would say men work hard in their jobs, while women sit at home and spend money.

8. Marriage is treated as a form of slavery for women where they have to obey the husband.

9. Lastly, men are always the victims of their rules: Men don’t cry or men don’t take support from women have created a long line of troubled and mentally unstable men. Destiny does not allow all men to earn money or be rich. Similarly, not all women are on earth to be duty-bound to family only. But still, men have to earn for the family has always destroyed families in one form or the other even without divorce.

These are major characteristics shown by the patriarchy of any country. The minor characteristic of masculinity that deserves attention is polygamy. A major portion of the world has acknowledged the harmful effects of polygamy, but still religiously patriarchial societies treat polygamy as a full-blown expression of masculinity and virility.

The characteristics are shown by developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries in various proportions. The Western world (developed) from time to time shows a tendency to be masculine by taking up subjects like abortion, divorce, infidelity, and child custody.

The reason they (western societies) keep abandoning these masculine traits is because of two reasons. One is they value the social setup that has given them immense development which primarily depended on the all-inclusiveness of women in all spheres of life. The second is the Western societies are not deeply religious. They quickly discard ideas that have lost reason or have been proved wrong especially matters related to women.

Representational Image. Marriage is used as a tool to control women.

India (a developing country) fluctuates between patriarchy and Shakti devotion ( women as Goddess). In recent years, the masculinity debate is getting prominence because of the resurgence of discussion around Indian culture. Though Indian culture has fair regard to women particularly in Shaivism, today’s Indian men are more into their expression of masculinity.

Not only men, but Indian women are also equally into men’s supremacy. The momentum to portray the family as the central focus of Indian culture is bringing back masculinity in its pure form which existed till the Independence of India in 1947.

Indian men and women now spend time debating and enforcing women to wear sarees and salwar suits as a part of Indian culture. There is a whole league of Indian men who now discuss openly how women need to be controlled and they do not have rights beyond what man decides.

The underdeveloped countries have poor records of human conditions, let alone women. They are deeply patriarchial where the violence of any kind is rampant.

The Result Of Masculinity

Call it nature’s rule or the balance created by nature, where ever men have single-handed rule without voices of women are disruptive, unstabilized, and prone to kill people among themselves very often. Let’s take up the example of China. After the one-child policy, China had shown a decline in the women population. It is now estimated that 34 million men will have no women to get married. The aggression of China towards the world in recent years has sometimes been attributed to more men than women resulting in dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

A similar case is with India where it is estimated that 37 million men will never find a woman to marry because of the skewed sex ratio. But India never acknowledges this problem to show itself as a reformed and advanced country, unlike China.

Whatever the circumstances may be when women do not play a dominant role the world always suffer under the constant threat of violent and human rights violation. Taliban in Afghanistan and terrorism in Pakistan are end products of unbridled and unchallenged patriarchy/masculinity.

Poverty and thoughtlessness are also common to countries where masculinity is practiced as a cult. People struggle for food and basic amenities because the country’s focus is always on what women are doing, wearing, or thinking. The whole energy is spent in controlling women rather than thinking about necessary matters.

The Situation India

My main objective in writing this article is to shake Indian men and women. History is again repeating itself in India. India now faces multiple threats from its ultra patriarchial neighbors and countries which are deeply religious.

BJP and other major political parties in India still try to dictate patriarchal ideas on women.

The problem is Indian men and women are still investing time in what women’s roles should be, what should they wear from sarees to jeans, how should Indian women keep their husband’s families together, or how women neglect family. India had been a majorly patriarchial society but has been failed miserably for the past two centuries. Let’s remember this.

From BJP to RSS to leaders like Owaisi, instead of looking for development in India, hours and hours are wasted in keeping women in check. India needs to keep its excessive masculine tendencies in check more now. Crying always in the name of women will not help the Indian future.

Indian men in past centuries have failed to keep India safe. It’s time Indian men and women come together and start contributing in fields of defense, science, technology, economy, or social conditions to make India a powerful nation rather than spending hours to keep the focus on controlling women. The present scenario of India as a country requires immediate attention for all-around development so that enemies can be kept at bay.

Also read: “By Tackling Patriarchy And Misogyny, We Can Address The Roots Of Rape Culture“
Featured image is for representational purposes only


Established in 1929, the Jatadhari Daw and grandsons petrol pump was the first petrol pump in Eastern India. The concept of petrol pumps was not even introduced at that time. The Jatadhari Daw and grandsons petrol pump was the only petrol pump in this part of the country before independence, and now it is the only pump in between Girish Park and Esplanade. Before India’s independence, during the freedom struggle, Kanchan Daw’s grandfather decided to set up the first petrol pump. The concept of petrol pump had not even arrived in this part of India during that time.

Daw’s family had set up oil storage and used it to store imported gasoline from the seawater from the UK. The importers were then called Asiatic Petroleum. In the 1920’s they used to sell petrol from a small establishment in Kolkata’s China Bazaar Street. In the past, the hand-operated manual gas pump was used as it was not automated, said Narayan Saha, who has been working here since 1950.

When Kanchan Daw was around 10 years old in 1968, the petrol was priced at 90 paise per liter. Kanchan Daw, during his childhood days, used to hand out a change of 50 paise when somebody paid with a Rs 5 note for 1 gallon, or 5 liters. At present, Kanchan Daw along with his two brothers owns three petrol pumps in Kolkata. One on Jitindra Mohan Avenue and one at Ballygung Phari, apart from the pump on Central Avenue.

In 1976, when Bharat Refineries acquired complete ownership of Burmah-Shell’s interests in India, Daw had taken over control of the business from his father. According to Kanchan Daw, petrol was a luxury item during that time and now it has become essential. Previously, prices used to increase due to excise duties but now the government has to revise fuel rates due to various social objectives that’s why globally the price has dropped but not in India. Among all the changes that the fuel station has witnessed, Daw said the price rise has hurt him the most.

The rise is hampering the business but they will continue with the business and the legacy that their ancestors had initiated.

Also read: “Are Rising Petrol Prices And BJP’s Politics Interconnected?“

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Michael Jackson’s melodic inheritance never left, yet a sort of rebound is coming.

With a progression of court triumphs that carry the finish to genuine lawful emergencies, with a Broadway show starting and a Cirque du Soleil show returning after a long pandemic respite, the Jackson business is on the rise 12 years after the pop whiz’s passing.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Micheal Jackson in Lisbon, 1992.

As of late, things looked dreary. The 2019 HBO narrative ”Leaving Neverland” brought up youngster attack claims once again. The once-dead claims brought by the two men included in it had been restored by changes in the law. Also, a choice in the domain’s allure of a $700 million expense bill ai requiring a very long time to show up.

I was consistently hopeful,” John Branca, the amusement lawyer who worked with Jackson through large numbers of his greatest victories and presently fills in as co-agent of his home, revealed to The Associated Press in a meeting at his Beverly Hills home. “Michael motivated the planet and his music actually does. There was never any uncertainty about that.

The good faith was justified. A progression of court choices came. One informers’ claim was excused in October. The difference was thrown out in April. In May, a decision in the duty case sliced the bill drastically. The domain out of nowhere stands almost clear of twelve years of questions. That implies Branca expects that in the following year and a half it can at long last be removed from probate court and transformed into a trust for Jackson’s three kids, who are all now grown-ups.

Also, the focal point of the home would now be able to move back to introducing Jackson to the world.

The primary goal is the restoration of the Cirque du Soleil show, “Michael Jackson: One” at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. It is scheduled to resume Aug. 19 after a Covid conclusion of almost 18 months, on schedule for a significant festival there made arrangements for Jackson’s Aug. 27 birthday.

The Broadway show, “MJ: The Musical,” will follow rapidly behind it, the first of a few arranged ventures.

Branca said the postponement of well longer than a year, as occurred for the entirety of Broadway, was “disappointing” yet he has reestablished fervor about “MJ: The Musical” and shared new subtleties.

It’s anything but an ordered portrayal of Michael’s life,” he said. “It’s more impressionistic, roused by Michael’s life and his music. It happens as Michael is getting ready for a visit and MTV needs to get a meeting. Michael’s very press-modest, and gradually as they foster a relationship starts to discuss various pieces of his life that then, at that point get ordered in the show.

Double cross Pulitzer Prize champ Lynn Nottage composed the show’s book. Tony Award-champ Christopher Wheeldon is coordinating and arranging. Broadway newbie Myles Frost will star as Jackson after Ephraim Sykes’ exit. Practices continue in September, and reviews start in December.

Branca said he’s glad for the variety the show will bring to the stage.

The cast is clearly to a great extent Black,” Branca said, “In a time where that is woefully needed on Broadway.”

Victories to the side, Branca feels waiting for sharpness about chief Dan Reed’s “Leaving Neverland” and what he felt were American news sources that “don’t have the opportunity or the fortitude to examine to sort out what’s actual and what’s false.

Consequently, the domain’s last waiting claim, presently in private mediation, is one that it brought itself, and one Branca particularly needed recording, against HBO over the narrative.

“I was extremely furious at HBO and Dan Reed I actually because consider this: You can say anything you need about someone dead. They’re not here to secure themselves,” Branca said.

The two men highlighted in the narrative are engaging the excusals of their claims. HBO has protected “Leaving Neverland” as a substantial piece of narrative news-casting.

Unexpectedly, the triumph gave to the bequest in its expense case came to some degree because the adjudicator accepted the worth of Jackson’s picture and resemblance had been seriously lessened by such claims at the hour of his passing, regardless of his vindication at his 2005 preliminary for kid attack. It was one part of an inside and out triumph for the domain that is bringing a far more modest bill that is being determined at this point.

Under the direction of Branca and his more in the background co-agent John McClain, the domain has acquired $2.5 billion in income in the previous 11 years, and Jackson has stayed the top procuring expired big name each year since his passing at age 50 from a deadly portion of the sedative propofol.

Be that as it may, Branca says how Jackson’s melodic heritage echoes through current craftsmen might be his most amazing inheritance.

Kanye West, Drake, Beyoncé, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande — they all point back to Michael,” Branca said. “His impact is truly colossal.

Also read: “Transforming Music Into Motion, These Artists Are Dancing Their Way Through Life“

Source: People News Chronicle & Youthistaan

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep. ~ Robert Frost


Considered to be the world’s foremost scholar on the history of Early India, Romila Thapar, has spent 60 years of her rich life teaching. She started her career as a Reader in Ancient Indian History at Kurukshetra University (1961-62), followed by a stint at the University of Delhi in the same position till 1970.

After which she joined the of late started Jawaharlal Nehru University as Professor of Ancient Indian History. Here Prof. Thapar created a curriculum for History at the postgraduate level, which would include discussions and debates, open for all ideas and intellectually vibrant. Thapar along with some early colleagues of hers is the sole reason for the glory the Centre of Historical Studies has seen.

In a conversation with Karwaan: The Heritage Exploration Initiative, Prof. Thapar said, “with every branch of knowledge, it is essential to realize that you have to ask questions. That you have to question the existing knowledge and unless you question the existing knowledge, you cannot go any further.” Thapar and her colleagues had envisioned a way to have a healthy tradition of public discussion and questioning. Tagging her just as a historian will be an understatement. She has been a public intellectual, activist, feminist, and dedicated practitioner of the historian’s craft.

Prof. Thapar was a student of English literature at Panjab University in Shimla before becoming the master of the historian’s craft. As a young girl, her father Daya Ram Thapar offered her to choose between dowry for her marriage or money for a degree; deciding to pursue higher education, she has never looked back. She wanted to join the University of Oxford, she sat for the entrance, but they said she was substandard and refused to admit her. She made her mind and joined the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and earned a Doctorate in History in 1958 under Dr. A.L. Basham titled ‘Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas’ which came out as a book in 1961.

After she finished her Ph.D. in 1958, she was offered to stay on and teach at SOAS in a temporary position, which she took and then returned to India in 1961.

Thapar, above all her achievements, is a resilient, unapologetic, independent woman who challenged a patriarchal world, faced attacks on her scholarship from the extremists, not hindering her dedication towards doing an honest job as a historian – asking questions relentlessly. Her work on Asoka as an Emperor challenged all the existing scholarships of the 50s and shaped the conversation of future works on Asoka.

She tried to reassess Asoka both as a statesman who inherited and sustained a large Mauryan empire and as a person who had strong beliefs in changing society through what seems to have been a concern for social ethics. Over these years as an academic, she has widened her research interests from understanding empires and the making of societies and cultures and their interactions to how history has been written and perceived, the historiography and most recently the contemporary past and the relationship of the Past and the Present along with the history of Dissent in India.

At 89, she is ever so elegant, graceful, and humble. I first saw Prof. Thapar at an event at the University of Chicago, Centre in Delhi, but interacted only when we invited her to deliver the Karwaan Distinguished Lecture in September 2020 titled ‘Writing the Early Indian History’ marking her six decades in academia. Her house is home to not just her humble being, but to an immeasurable collection of books, any reader would be fascinated by. As I conclude this article, I am reminded of a phrase by Khushwant Singh to perfectly introduce Prof. Romila Thapar to the readers, ‘she is like the winter landscape in the mountains.’ On November 30, this year, Prof. Thapar will be completing ninety years of her rich life.

Also read: “Charvaka: The Ancient Indian School Of Thought That Preached Atheism And Rationality“

Feature Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What concerns the economists at present in the country is a high surge in the wholesale price-based inflation that has, according to them, touched a 30-year high leading to a very alarming situation.

Seeing no risk of hyperinflation the distinguished economist Kaushik Basu warned if the retail inflation follows wholesale prices, it might lead to an inflationary crisis. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) reflects changes in the average prices of goods at the wholesale level — that is, commodities sold in bulk and traded between businesses or entities rather than goods bought by consumers.

Yet, he accepts that the inflationary situation is at a very risky bend adding that most commonly wholesale price inflation seeps into the retail price inflation thereby creating a very dire situation for the country because prices are rising quite instantly.

Supervision over the resources are shrinking in the country and conflicts over the resources are rising very sharply. Representational image.

Intertwining monetary policy and fiscal policy is needed ultimately. A better curation of policy is not supposedly occurring between the Treasury, the Finance Ministry and the central bank for aptly dealing with the rising inflation.

How can another economist Arvind Subramanian differ from Kaushik Basu, as he was also very much afraid of the global situation that may turn a little bit more inflationary in the next one or two years?

Supervision over the resources are shrinking in the country and conflicts over the resources are rising very sharply. There is no vocation for the people hinting at shrinkage in the resources. If the resources do not grow rapidly, the conflicts will intensify with inklings of higher inflation.

Also read: Govt Is Brazenly Increasing Fuel Prices Because Public Is Silent On Rising Inflation

Side by side the worrying aspect is that poverty has started rising again diring the past few years, though our country’s economic growth in the last 30 years was driven by exports. Studying minutely such rude leanings, our economists had to point out that there was no economic model in the world where a country can grow 8-10 per cent without high exports.

In the meantime, the wholesale price-based inflation eased marginally to 12.07 per cent in the month of June this year as crude oil and food items noticed some softening in prices, while retail inflation slipped a tad to 6.26 per cent in the same month although it remains above the comfort level of the Reserve Bank for the second consecutive month in a row.

Featured image is for representational purposes only.

मेरे मर जाने के बाद

मेरे हिस्से की दौलत तुम हथियाओगे ना?

फिर किसी लड़की के आगे उसकी

दौलत के लिए अपनी अम्मा के साथ

भोली शक्ल लिए जाओगे ना?


फिर कैसे-कैसे नाटक रचाओगे तुम

फिर किसी की बहन-बेटी को अपने

जाल में फंसाओगे तुम बोलो ना मेरे

मर जाने के बाद ये सिलसिला

जारी रखोगे या बन्द कर दोगे?


अपनी गलतियों को छिपाने की खातिर

तुम और कितनी लड़कियों की हत्या करोगे?

ना रत्ती भर भी शर्म ना ही बाकी तुम में

ना दर्द किसी के लिए बचा

बोलो ना मेरे मर जाने के बाद ये सिलसिला

जारी रखोगे या बन्द कर दोगे?

Indian food is very popular all over the world.  The taste of most of us is not compatible with such spicy foods, but we enjoy eating Indian food. From a scientific point of view, our desire to eat grilled chicken and Indian tika spice is a reaction and outpouring of taste buds against the norm and moderation.

Our understanding of the taste of food is our body’s reaction to the molecules of the food ingredients. In Western cuisine, we are more in favour of foods that combine similar ingredients to create a combined flavour. Take cake, for example: butter, milk, flour and sugar have their own flavuors, but combining these flavours together does not change our taste buds.

Scientists at the University of Jahapur in India say that Indian food violates the rest of the world’s laws of cooking when it comes to combining flavours and molecular assembly. They have analysed thousands of Indian recipes and mapped out the taste of each of these flavors. The flavour composition of Indian food ingredients such as cayenne pepper, the main ingredient in curry, hot masala, coriander and green pepper are all at a molecular level.

Their contrast is what makes these foods taste unique, but that’s not the only reason. Remember, although the possibility of combining food ingredients seems endless, there are actually only 381 food ingredients in the world. In Western cuisine, on average, only 50 types of these raw materials are used.

Two or three types of these ingredients may be used in the preparation of a Western dish; foods like pasta and cheese, cheeseburgers and fried chicken. But more than 200 ingredients are used in the preparation of more than 200 Indian food. There is a large chain to create and combine delicious aromas and flavours. These flavours may be in harmony or deliciously contrasting.

Among all the local cuisines of the world, Indian cuisine is the most popular among other nations of the world. These two scientific evaluations show that in Indian food, not only do they use more spices than we do in their food, but they also combine them in new ways that surprise and delight our taste buds.

Also read: A Researcher’s Diary: Is There Healthcare For Adolescents On The Margins?

Why is it okay for the Tokyo Olympics organisers to ask for recycled items for use? Is it because only the recycled things can remove the tint of the scar of systemic industrial scraps? Is it so decided that they are fulfilling their purpose with the right sense and spirit? There is a very thin line between the brand new products and the recycled creations.

Also read: Here’s Why We Need Gender-Responsive Funding To Tackle Climate Change

Do we know that several materials right from gold, silver and bronze medals to broad beds to rest are made of the recycled materials? It looks just the same as the bamboo’s rep that stands as an eco-fibre. To put the point: the world, thus far, is confounded by the recycled materials. Why are winners made to wear such strong materials?

Why are they equating older things in a new form? This change is distinct from the use of the amazing days of inexplicably costly items. These might have created controversy but was always remarkable. However, it does not imply the organisers should need to renounce what is presented currently.

Tokyo Olympics: Mirabai Chanu के परिवार की पहली प्रतिक्रिया, जब उन्होंने भारत को दिलाया मेडल; देखें वीडियो
Tonnes of recycled electrical goods are being utilised to prepare the Olympic medals. Representational image.

Undeniably, the Tokyo Olympics also brings into its use, recycled items. The process that renders bamboo fibre into fabric is similar to that of recycling electronic waste into the normal glittering medals for honouring the winners. Conventional rayon is enormously chemical-intensive but the recycled medals are supposed to be chemically free.

If the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is not ignoring the usage of the recycled products, it is for the first time in the long history of the Olympics that such an initiative has taken place. According to the news reports, nearly 80,000 tonnes of recycled electrical goods are being utilised to prepare the Olympic medals.

Besides, the parts of more than six million used mobile phones were also brought to use. The creation of the environmentally-friendly gold, silver and bronze awards are all part of an effort by deft organisers to make this year’s competition as eco-conscious as possible.

Also read: Women In Sports Don’t Have It Easy, But They Still Persevere

The medalists will become the first in the history of the Olympics and Paralympics to win medals made out of recycled electrical goods. Only time will tell how far goes this year’s games are in line with desired eco-friendly objectives.

Other recycled inventions include Olympic uniforms produced entirely from reused plastic bottles. Further, the iconic torch used to light the flame to mark the start of the Tokyo Games is among the items made from recycled aluminium generally used for earthquake shelters.

Again, the competitors staying in the Athletes’ Village are sleeping in recyclable cardboard beds. At least 18,000 of these beds have been provided for the village located at Tokyo Bay. It can be said if the stadium is devoid of spectators, the tonnes of the waste materials have been uniquely recycled for the sportspersons to confer wider recognition.

Featured image is for representational purposes only.

बलात्कार एक ऐसा शब्द है, जिसे सुनते ही एक औरत की रूह कांप जाती है। इस शब्द का मतलब ही होता है कि इंसानियत को शर्मसार करना। यह दुनिया में होने वाले अपराधों का सबसे घिनौना रूप है, लेकिन आजकल यह शब्द सुनना सामान्य हो गया है। देश के अखबारों में आए दिन कहीं-ना-कहीं से बलात्कार की खबरें आती रहती हैं।

आप टीवी देखो या न्यूज़ पेपर आपको उनमें कुछ सुनने या देखने को मिले-ना-मिले, लेकिन बलात्कार की खबरें ज़रूर मिलेंगी। देश में अब तो हालात ऐसे हो गए हैं कि ऐसी खबरों को लोग देखते हैं और अगले दिन भूल जाते हैं और यह कहते हैं कि आजकल दुनिया बहुत खराब है। 

यही नहीं अब मीडिया वालों को भी देश में होने वाली ऐसी खबरों से कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता, वो ऐसी खबरों पर तभी प्रकाश डालते हैं, जब लड़की के साथ इतना बुरा हो जाता है कि वो खुद मर जाती है या उसे बुरी तरीके से मार दिया जाता है और नहीं तो उस घटना से कोई नामचीन आदमी जुड़ा हो। तभी हमारी देश की मीडिया ऐसे घटनाओं को तवज्जो देती है।

देश में महिलाएं कितनी सुरक्षित हैं?

अभी हाल ही में मध्यप्रदेश के सीधी से एक दिल दहलाने वाली घटना सामने आई है, जहां निर्भया से भी ज़्यादा क्रूरता देखने को मिली है। यहां एक महिला के साथ सामूहिक बलात्कर किया गया और उसके बाद महिला के हाथ, पैर काट कर और उसके गुप्तांग में पत्थर भर कर महिला के शव को जलाकर सोन नदी में फेंक दिया गया।

वहीं गोवा में एक समुद्र तट पर दो नाबालिग लड़कियों के साथ सामूहिक दुष्कर्म किया गया और जिस पर कुछ कहने को नहीं मिला, तो वहां के मुख्यमंत्री ने कहा कि सिर्फ इसलिए कि बच्चे अपने माता-पिता की नहीं सुन रहे हैं, हम पुलिस पर सारी ज़िम्मेदारी नहीं छोड़ सकते हैं। इसके साथ ही उन्होंने कहा कि समाज में माता-पिता को यह सोचने की ज़रूरत है कि उनके बच्चे रात में समुद्र तटों पर क्यों घूमते हैं?

और पढ़ें: “महिला उद्यमिता के बहुआयाम एवं उनसे आत्मनिर्भर बनती महिलाएं”

आखिर कब तक देश की बेटियों के साथ ऐसी दरिंदगी होती रहेगी? देश की सरकार कब तक चुपचाप यह तमाशा देखती रहेगी और सवाल पूछने पर ऐसे बेतुके और असंवेदनशील जवाब देगी। मैं वहां के मुख्यमंत्री जी से बस इतना पूछना चाहती हूं कि ये बच्ची तो देर रात को बाहर थी तो उसके साथ बलात्कार की यह अमानवीय घटना हुई, लेकिन उन हज़ारों मासूम लड़कियों का क्या जिनका बलात्कार दिन के साए में घर से बाहर निकलने पर हुआ, बाज़ार जाते, खेलते हुए, यात्रा करते हुए, स्कूल जाते हुए इसमें किसकी गलती है? कृपया आप मुझे बताएं।

देश में महिलाओं के प्रति होने वाले अपराधों में बढ़ोतरी 

हमारे देश में दिन-प्रतिदिन बलात्कार के मामले बढ़ते ही जा रहे हैं। अगर हम सिर्फ हमारी राजधानी दिल्ली के आंकड़ों की बात करें तो दिल्ली पुलिस की वेबसाइट पर अपलोड किए गए डेटा के मुताबिक, इस साल 15 जून तक दिल्ली में 1,23295 बलात्कार के मामले दर्ज़ हुए हैं। वहीं पिछले साल ऐसी घटनाओं के 1,13855 मामले दर्ज़ हुए थे। इस साल 15 जून तक देश की राष्ट्रीय राजधानी में हर दिन कम से कम पांच लोगों के साथ बलात्कार और छह का यौन उत्पीड़न किया गया।

समाज में महिलाओं को लेकर बढ़ता लैंगिक भेदभाव एवं द्वेष  

इस से आप अंदाजा लगा सकते हैं कि इस हमारे देश एवं समाज में लड़कियां कितनी सुरक्षित हैं? वर्तमान में देश के हालात ऐसे हो गए हैं कि लड़कियों को अपने घर से बाहर जाने से पहले सौ बार सोचना पड़ता हैं। अब देश के ऐसे हालातों में लड़कियां कैसे पढ़ेंगी और कैसे आगे बढ़ेंगी? हमारे समाज में बात की जाती है महिलाओं के सशक्तिकरण की, उनकी बराबरी की। क्या यह है हमारे समाज का महिला सशक्तिकरण? और वो समाज, जो कहता है कि मर्द और औरत बराबर हैं, जहां घर से बाहर निकलते ही रेप हो जाता है।

यह वो समाज है, जो कहता तो है मर्द और औरत बराबर है पर महिलाओं की पुरुषों के साथ राबरी देख नहीं पाता है। इस समाज में बहुत कम ऐसे लोग हैं, जो महिलाओं की पुरुषों के साथ बराबरी देख सकते हैं वरना बाकी तो बस इस फिराक में रहते हैं कि कब कैसे औरतों का इस्तेमाल किया जाए।

प्रिय समाज के पुरुषों सोचो ! आप कितने गिर गए हो कि जो औरत तुम्हें इस दुनिया में लाती है, तुम उन्हें ही इस दुनिया में जीने नहीं दे रहे हो। यहां, मैं उन मर्दों के बारे में बात कर रही हूं, जिनकी सोच घटिया है। आप और आपकी मानसिकता कितनी गिरी हुई है कि आप बड़े, बुजुर्ग, बच्ची किसी को भी नहीं छोड़ रहे हो। ऐसा सोचते हुए भी तुम्हें खुद से घिन आनी चाहिए।

और पढ़ें: “छात्रों को रोज़गार के योग्य बनाने के लिए हमें अपनी शिक्षा नीति में करने होंगे बड़े बदलाव”

पिछले दिनों मानवता को शर्मसार कर देने वाली कुछ घटनाएं

. 5 दिन पहले उत्तरप्रदेश में 9 महीने की बच्ची के साथ बलात्कार किया गया।

. कुछ दिन पहले उत्तरप्रदेश में डेढ़ वर्ष की बच्ची के साथ 30 वर्ष के आदमी ने बलात्कार किया।

. हरियाणा के रेवाड़ी में एक 10 साल की मासूम के साथ 7 लोगो ने मिलकर गैंगरेप किया और उसका वीडियो बनाकर वायरल कर दिया।

. महाराष्ट्र के अंधेरी में एक 16 साल की नाबालिग लड़की को ऐफ्रडिजीऐक इंजेक्शन लगाकर आठ सालों तक लगातार बलात्कार किया गया।

. वही कुछ महीने पहले बेंगलुरू में एक बुजुर्ग पुजारी ने 10 साल की मासूम लड़की के साथ रेप किया।

. छत्तीसगढ़ के बलौदा बाज़ार ज़िला में 7 साल की बच्ची के साथ दुष्कर्म किया गया और उसे जान से मार दिया। वहीं राजनांदगाँव ज़िले में 15 साल बच्ची के साथ दुष्कर्म हुआ।

यह सब लिखते हुए मुझे भी दर्द होता है और मेरी रूह भी कांप जाती हैं। आप जरा सोचिए, जिनके साथ ऐसी अमानवीय घटनाएं हुई हैं और उन पर उस समय क्या बीती होगी। ऐसी ना जाने कितनी अनगिनत घटनाएं हैं, जो अंदर से आत्मा को झकझोर कर रख देती हैं। मुझे लगता है कि समाज में सबसे पहले बलात्कार जैसे घिनौने अपराध को खत्म करना चाहिए। सरकार को इस अपराध को समाप्त करने के लिए कुछ ऐसे कठोर कदम उठाने  चाहिए, ताकि बलात्कार के बारे में सोचने से पहले बलात्कारियों की रूह कांप जाए।

सरकार को देश में महिलाओं की सुरक्षा के लिए कठोर कदम उठाने होंगे 

यदि हम बस ऐसे ही देखते रहे और सजा के नाम पर कुछ सालों के अपराधियों को जेल भेजते रहे तो कुछ सुधरने वाला नहीं है, क्योंकि फिर वो अपराधी कुछ साल बाद बाहर आएगा और फिर ऐसी हरकत करेगा और इससे दूसरे अपराधियों को भी बढ़ावा मिल रहा है, क्योंकि उनके दिमाग में यह बैठा हुआ है कि ज़्यादा-से-ज़्यादा क्या होगा? हम बस कुछ सालों के लिए जेल जाएंगे।

देश में अगर ऐसे ही हालात दिन-प्रतिदिन बद से बदतर होते रहे तो मुझे नहीं लगता कि इस समाज में कोई औरत ज़िन्दा रहेगी, क्योंकि बलात्कारियों को कुछ सालों की सजा देकर छोड़ दिया जाता है, उन सबको उम्रकैद और मौत की सजा क्यों नहीं दी जाती?

एक लडकी के साथ जब बलात्कार होता है तब या तो वो मर जाती है नहीं तो उसे मार दिया जाता है। अगर वह ज़िन्दा बच भी जाती है तब भी उसकी पूरी ज़िन्दगी खराब हो जाती है। वो ज़िन्दा रहते हुए भी एक मरे हुए इंसान के समान होती है, फिर बलात्कारियों को मौत क्यों नही दी जाती है? सरकार इन घटनाओं पर लगाम लगाने के लिए कोई कठोर कदम क्यों नहीं उठाती है? जिससे लड़कियां देश एवं समाज मे खुद को सुरक्षित महसूस करें।

और पढ़ें: “रेशम के धागों के लघु उद्योग से आत्मनिर्भर बनतीं ग्रामीण महिलाएं”

आप जरा सोचिए कि हमारे देश के आज़ाद होने के बाद से लेकर अब तक कितनी ही बलात्कार की अमानवीय घटनाएं हुईं हैं और उनमें से कितने अपराधियों को मौत की सजा हुई है? यह कड़वी सच्चाई है, हमारे इस समाज की जहां औरतों को इंसाफ, इज्जत, बराबरी सिर्फ सोशल साइट्स पर दी जाती है।

हमारे देश में देवी कहलाए जाने वाली महिलाओं के साथ बलात्कार किए जाते हैं, सरेआम उन्हें गालियां दी जाती हैं, उन्हें डराया, धमकाया जाता है और कुछ नहीं तो हमारे सभ्य समाज में उनके कपड़े को लेकर उन्हें जज किया जाता है। मैं बस इतना कहना चाहती हूं कि आप सब अपनी सोच बदलें और औरतों की इज्जत करें। उनको देखने का नज़रिया बदलें, क्योंकि जब तक आपकी उनकी बारे में सोच और उन्हें देखने का नज़रिया नहीं बदलेगा तब तक समाज में औरतों के प्रति होने वाले अपराध खत्म नहीं होंगे। 

Trigger Warning: Mentions of Molestation.

Recently, a Japanese player pulled out of the French Open after organisers threatened to expel her for not honouring media commitments. Naomi Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam champion, withdrew from the French Open, citing mental health issues.

Another athlete, Simone Biles, a US gymnast, pulled out of the Olympics earlier this week due to mental health issues. This ignited a cultural and political firestorm on Wednesday after right-wing critics and trolls attacked her for letting down her team and nation.

Her choice to exit the competition came hours after tennis star Osaka, the face of the Tokyo Olympics, failed in the third round of the singles competition. The Japanese favourite, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, also cited the mental toll of her profession as the cause for her early exit.

Naomi Osaka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

I put my mental health first because if you don’t, you’re not going to enjoy your sport, and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to,” Biles told a media conference. “It’s okay sometimes to even sit out big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person you are.

Biles touched upon the extra stress brought about by the Tokyo Olympics, which got delayed by a year due to the pandemic and wreaked havoc with training programmes. “It’s been stressful, these Olympic Games. It’s been a long week, a long Olympic process, a long year,” she said.

Also read: ‘Hustle Culture’ Is Costing Teachers Empathy, Individuality And Mental Health

This added pressure is showing even on some of China’s athletes. In the montage of Olympic emotions, it’s not often you see the visuals of a teared up Chinese athlete. It’s rare to see them submit to the pressure; rarer even for them to show it.

However, it happened, of all places, at the shooting range where China’s players have created a reputation of being impenetrable in victory or defeat. But Wang Luyao, a Chinese rifle shooter likened to win a medal, surrendered to the pressure and finished 18th in the 10m air rifle competition.

Consumed in self-guilt, she wrote a short message for her followers: “Sorry everyone, I admit I chickened out.” Wang would not have foretold the storm that the Weibo post would provoke. She got threatened and abused, and finally, the South China Morning Post reported, China censors had to remove dozens of posts and deactivate at least 33 accounts that attacked the athlete.

I have failed, and I will start from the beginning,” Wang wrote again, in a new post, almost apologising for her apology.

Did Wang Need To Apologise?

There is a stigma surrounding the mental health of athletes. Showing emotions in a profession that demands physical strength is difficult.

This is one of the main reason why elite athletes with mental health issues don’t seek the help they need. This finding was published in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine devoted to the topic.

A poor understanding of mental illness, busy schedules, and gender stereotyping also play a part.

Athletes fear, possibly rightly so, that disclosing mental health symptoms or disorders would reduce their chances of maintaining or signing a professional team contract or an advertising campaign,” note the researchers.

Talking about it can help ease this stigma. And significant efforts are needed to overcome stigma and boost mental health literacy among elite athletes.

Coaches could be important agents for supporting positive mental health attitudes within the elite athlete environment, including fostering an environment of mental health treatment-seeking,” they concluded.

US gymnasts were forced to perform even when they were injured, by Larry Nassar. Photo: Larry Nassar at Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

However, when coaches are like Larry Nassar, it can be for the worse.

Nassar was accused of sexually molesting hundreds of women gymnasts and was given life in prison. Moreover, US gymnasts were forced to perform even when they were injured. This all created a sense of fear and pressure in their minds. They were hushed and were not allowed to talk about this in public.

But, appropriate mechanisms can enable athletes to talk about mental health.

Michael Phelps,  a swimmer with more medals than anyone in Olympic history has spoken candidly for years about his struggles with depression. Longtime NFL receiver Brandon Marshall has gone public with his mental health issues, as has 2012 Olympic silver medalist in high jump Brigetta Barrett.

There are a slew of other issues, such as eating disorders, extreme stress levels, and burnout, that haven’t even been brought to the public’s attention yet.

Also read: Quick Bytes: Is A Toxic Work Environment Affecting Your Mental Health?

It Is Not Just Famous Athletes Though!

Neha, 2o, a state-level football player has represented Delhi State U-18 team on several occasions. She feels that it was really brave of Naomi to come up about her mental health concerns so openly and take such a significant step that may have far-reaching consequences for her entire career.

Her decision to withdraw from such a prominent tournament is also ‘revolutionary’ since now, people, board directors and team owners would recognise that a player’s mental health is just as vital as their physical health. Right now, the best thing to do is to let her be, to allow her to heal in her own time, and to give her some space,” Neha said.

She said that she has experienced anxiety off the field. There’s a lot on her mind during pre-season and tournaments. “During that time, my mood swings are intense. The night before matches, I barely get any sleep, and it’s become something of a pre-game ritual for me. Pre-game nervousness is just one of the issues I deal with during tournaments.

She added that she broke down after losing a finals match once, and it was as the team captain. Since she couldn’t handle herself after the struggle through the entire tournament, she stopped playing for 5 months.

I couldn’t get back on the field because I was afraid of the taunts and the comments waiting for me.” – Neha. Representational image.

I couldn’t get back on the field because I was afraid of the taunts and the comments waiting for me. After that burnout, I went through a time of static performance stage where I couldn’t seem to motivate myself to perform better, and it took me about a year to pull up my socks and be myself again.

She also said that she has experienced a few anxiety attacks in the past, which were always dismissed as pre-game nerves.

She noted that everything can influence an athlete’s overall performance, from locker room conversations to the coach’s pep talk to the reaction of their fans and family. “Even the tiniest change can have a tremendous impact, yet most people are unaware of this.

She wanted people to know that it is extremely difficult to perform flawlessly without making any mistakes, and people are quick to criticise when an athlete loses, claiming that the athlete must not be practicing enough or that the athlete lacks talent.

Fans have no idea what it’s like to be under such intense pressure and expectation, so they resort to social media and question the players’ ability, often urging them to retire, which only adds to the player’s anxiety. These insults and comments make it difficult for them to concentrate and focus during regular practice sessions and then eventually in tournaments.

She said what helped her was her team mates. “They knew exactly what I was going through because they’d been there before, and they were there for me no matter what. My parents and coach did assist me. but it wasn’t much help in terms of results. It did take constant talking to peers, teammates, parents, my team coach and manager to help me eventually heal and get back on my feet.

Also read: How Has The Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Sports And Those Who Watch It?

Similarly, Kavya Sawhney, a lawn tennis player at the international level, feels that mental health is a huge aspect in any sport. “There are two sides of it, physical and mental. If you feel great physically but horrible mentally and are struggling emotionally, it’s really hard to focus on one task and be able to play the sport peacefully. Specially for me in tennis if I am not calm and focused, I will make errors early in the game and get frustrated easily.

She too has experienced mental health issues. “There was a low phase in my career where I felt that I wasn’t going to get better and I kept losing a lot of matches, even though they were matches that I could win easily. I realised that what had changed was only my mentality. I stopped believing that I could, lost my confidence and started being hard on myself and eventually started feeling like giving up.

What helped her was meditation. “All I had to do is put in consistent work that would give me the confidence I needed again and I had to start believing in myself again. I started focusing on all my achievements and how far I’ve come and it wasn’t to give up. That worked best for me.

She feels one can be more mindful of mental health by questioning themselves whether they feel okay about something or not and recognise things that could potentially make them lose focus or their peace of mind. “Meditation has always helped me realise these things and helps me focus more on things that bring true purpose to my life.

However, there is still a long way for sports associations to realise this. It will take time but we will get there!

Featured image is for representational purposes only.

The aversion towards building a safe and inclusive workplace for employees in a workplace stems largely from a lack of knowledge. Corporate structures are unable to understand how diversity and inclusion mandates should be approached. This leads to them wholly ignoring the issue at hand.

Language plays an important role in building systems which are capable of being diverse and inclusive for employees in a workplace. Hence, a general understanding of the diversity and inclusion alphabet allows HR professionals and corporate structures to diversity and inclusion (D&I) mandates in a better way.

Starting conversations around diversity and inclusion helps organisations take on these issues head-on. Narratives that celebrate and incorporate differences among employees helps organisations attain an inclusive safe space while also optimising employee output.

HR professionals need to update themselves with D&I terminology in order to build safer work spaces for all. Representational image.

Following are a set of diversity and inclusion alphabets that organisations must take note of to build a dynamic and growing working environment.

Ableism: This refers to the biased mindset that society harbours about an ideal structure for body and mind. This mindset plays into hiring practices as well as workspaces too where disabled employees face prejudice from recruiters. Moreover, a lack of accessibility also presents infrastructural hindrances to them.

Accessibility: Accessibility refers to spaces, resources and digital or physical environments that are not difficult to reach or use for everyone.

Affinity Bias: This refers to the bias that plays into everyday interactions. Affinity bias is when individuals choose to associate with those who are most similar to them. Moreover, this leads to a lack of accessibility to spaces of networking for minority groups within workplaces.

Affirmative Action: This refers to actions and policies taken by authorities that are in favour of groups and sections who face the brunt of discrimination.

Ally: Ally is a person who stands in solidarity with groups that have a clear lack of privilege compared to their own spaces of privilege. Allies take active part in building and rebuilding systems of oppression, sometimes at the cost of their own privilege.

Behavioural Diversity: This is how personal experiences help individuals unlearn orthodox belief systems. Individuals learn to acknowledge and make space for a diverse group of employees through their own interactions with those who are different from them.

Bias: These are a systemic belief system that comes into play while rationalising. With biases in place, an individual’s brain registers only presupposed judgements against certain groups. Consequently, this leads to unfair attitudes towards said group.

Cognitive Diversity: This refers to the different ways in which different individuals register information differently. Moreover, cognitive diversity also leads to different perceptions of information and situations for different people.

Conscious Prejudice: This refers to preconceived notions that are largely negative. Conscious prejudice acts against individuals who are part of larger groups and sections like social position, caste location or religious identity.

Corporate Social Responsibility: This refers to positive actions taken by corporate sectors for minority groups. This also refers to corporates going beyond profit generation to make impactful changes within their work spaces as well as for communities outside their work spaces.

Also read: A Comprehensive Guide To Understanding Diversity And Inclusion At The Workplace

Culture Fit: This refers to when an individual’s ideologies and values align with the larger organisation’s values and ideologies.

DE&I: Acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Discrimination: While prejudice refers to the presupposed judgements one harbours towards a particular social group, discrimination refers to negative actions arising from the prejudice. Moreover, discrimination also refers to systemic behaviour that places certain social groups in a position of clear disadvantage.

Diversity: This refers to differences in cultural, behavioural as well as cross-functional knowledge.

Emotional Tax: This refers to an individual feeling out of place at work due to threats of bias. Moreover, this also refers to individuals feeling threatened for their gender identity, social position or ethnicity. Emotional tax also has effects on work output as well as general health and well-being for employees in workplaces.

Employee Resource Group: This refers to employee led volunteer groups that aim to create a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees within the workplace.

How Inclusion Audits Can Help Make Workplaces Safer for Non-Binary Employees
Companies need to equip themselves through training and awareness programs that focus on education and action, both. Representational image.

Equality: Equality refers to giving same access and resources to all. This notions functions on the basis that everyone starts off on an equal footing. Moreover, equality also functions on the notion that everyone has access to equal opportunities while treating everyone in the same way.

Equity: Equity is referring to designing policies that acknowledge age old barriers still in place. This also means creating access and resources that are present to remove unique barriers. Equity functions on the notion that not everyone has the same kind of systemic obstructions in place.

Groupthink: This refers to a collective way of thinking that hinders individual thought processes. Groupthink also causes barriers to innovation within workplaces.

Also read: Why Indian Media Houses ‘Must Fix Their Diversity Problem’

Inclusion: Inclusion refers to creating spaces and policies that provide access to resources and materials for individuals and groups belonging to diverse social categories. Moreover, inclusion also refers to empowering and valuing differences within workplaces and supporting said differences.

Intersectionality: This is when multiple identities exist in coalition. For example, a Dalit woman has intersections of caste and gender interacting in her experiences of workplace culture. Intersectionality also refers to acknowledging diverse identities while creating inclusive policies.

Microaffirmations: This refers to subtle gestures that are made to make an employee feel valued in the work they have done. Microaffirmations involve facial expressions, different tone of voice and so on that acknowledge an employee’s work while creating a sense of belonging.

Microaggressions: This refers to subtle exclusions that negatively impact someone. These may seem harmless on the surface but interact with larger systems of oppression.

Neurodiverse: This refers differences in neurological functioning. Neurodiversity also highlights learning and developmental disabilities like ADHD and Autism.

Prejudice: This refers to conscious or unconscious suppositions against a group of people. Consequently, prejudice also refers to attitudes and feelings one harbours towards certain individuals on the basis of them being part of a larger social group or against said social groups themselves.

Also read: Opinion: Our Inability To Accommodate Diversity Has Become The Root Cause Of All Problems

Stereotypes: These are once again presupposed representations of a particular group. Stereotypes are cognitive representations of certain traits associated with certain groups.

An understanding of the diversity and inclusion terminology can help workplaces adapt better to capacity building practices. Training and awareness programs that not only work towards educating workplaces about these terms, but also put positive affirmations into action, need to be conducted.

In a remote working environment as well as in a rapidly developing workforce, DE&I mandates help HR professionals build better and safer work spaces for all their employees.

Featured image, by Wim Klerkx, is for representational purposes only.

कोरोना महामारी की दूसरी लहर के दौरान मध्य प्रदेश के सुदूर आदिवासी अंचलों में स्वास्थ्य कर्मियों को काफी परेशानियों का सामना करना पड़ा था। ग्रामीण सर्दी, जुकाम, खांसी और बुखार से ग्रसित होने के बावजूद अस्पताल जाने से डर रहे थे। उनके मन में यह डर घर कर गया था कि कहीं डॉक्टर उन्हें कोरोना ना बता दे और उन्हें अस्पताल में भर्ती होना पड़े। 

जहां से जिंदा घर वापस आने की संभावना बहुत कम है। उनकी यही जिद उन्हें मौत के मुंह में धकेल रही थी। ऐसे में, उन्हें तीसरी लहर से बचाने और टीका लगाने के लिए स्वास्थ्य कर्मियों को काफी मेहनत करने की ज़रूरत पड़ गई थी। इससे बचने के लिए स्वास्थ्य विभाग ने एक तरकीब निकाली और विभाग ने गाँव की किशोरियों को उत्प्रेरक के रूप में काम लेना शुरू किया, जिसके बाद वे गाँव की हालत सुधारने तथा कोरोना से बचाव के लिए टीके लगवाने के लिए आशा कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ गाँव-गाँव का दौरा करने लगीं तब जाकर कहीं हालत थोड़ी संभली।

ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में कोरोना के टीके को लेकर व्याप्त अंधविश्वास 

इस सम्बन्ध में झाबुआ ज़िले की आशा कार्यकर्ता जंगली भूरिया बताती हैं कि शुरू में जो हमें परेशानी आ रही थी, इससे कैसे निपटा जाए? हमें कुछ समझ में नहीं आ रहा था तब स्वास्थ्य विभाग ने राष्ट्रीय किशोर स्वास्थ्य कार्यक्रम से जुड़े साथिया समूह के किशोरों को प्रशिक्षित करना शुरू किया। इस योजना में प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त करने वाले सारे किशोरों की उम्र 18 से 19 के बीच है और सभी ने 12वीं तक की पढ़ाई पूरी कर ली है। 

पहले भी ये किशोर इस कार्यक्रम के साथ जुड़कर स्वच्छता, माहवारी, एनिमिक, पोषण, सुरक्षा आदि के बारे में ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में जागरूकता फैलाने के सम्बन्ध में प्रशिक्षण ले रहे थे, लेकिन कोरोना महामारी के दौरान इनकी भूमिका बहुत बढ़ गई। गाँव में सबसे ज़्यादा पढ़े-लिखे होने के चलते इनके ऊपर ज़्यादा ज़िम्मेदारियां थीं।

और पढ़ें: किसी भी तकनीक का उपयोग ज़रूरत के लिए होना चाहिए, शौक के लिए नहीं : एग फ्रीजिंग

जंगली भूरिया ने हमें बताया कि वह इन किशोरों को अपने साथ लेकर घर-घर टीके के लिए जागरूक करने का काम करती हैं। इतने पर भी लोग नहीं मान रहे हैं, इसलिए सबसे पहले इन्हीं किशोरियों को कोरोना के टीके की पहली खुराक दी गई फिर उदाहरण के रूप में इन्हें समाज के सामने प्रस्तुत किया गया। हमने गाँव के समुदाय को बताया गया कि देखो इन सब को कोरोना का टीका लगाया गया है और ये सब पूर्ण रूप से स्वस्थ हैं। इन सब पर टीके लगने के बाद किसी तरह का कोई दुष्प्रभाव नहीं पड़ा है।

ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में टीके के लिए लोगों को प्रोत्साहित करने के लिए युवा शक्ति का उपयोग  

टीके के लिए लोगों को प्रोत्साहित करने वाली झाबुआ ज़िले की हिमांशी पुरोहित बताती हैं कि इसके लिए सबसे पहले उन्हें अपने ही परिजनों का विरोध झेलना पड़ा था। वह किसी भी कीमत पर नहीं चाहते थे कि उन सब की कोरोना की जांच कराई जाए और उन्हें टीके लगाए जाएं। उन्हें समझाना बहुत जोखिम भरा काम था। टीके लगने के बाद मरने की बात लगभग हर घर से उठ रही थी। जब गाँव वालों को समझाने का कोई और तरीका नज़र नहीं आया, तब सबसे पहले युवाओं ने टीके लगवाना शुरू किया।

हमें अपनी बात साझा करते हुए हिमांशी कहती हैं कि जब टीके की खुराक लेकर वह घर वापस आईं, तो पूरा घर उसकी देखरेख में जुट गया कि कहीं उसे बुखार तो नहीं आ रहा है। उसके हाथ-पैर में दर्द तो नहीं हो रहा है। टीके के दुष्प्रभाव का ऐसा गलत प्रचार हो चुका था कि इसे खत्म करने में हम लोगों को काफी मशक्कत करनी पड़ी। वर्तमान में हिमांशी के प्रयासों से उसके घर पर सभी हितग्राहियों का टीकाकरण हो चुका है। अब वह पीले चावल लेकर घर-घर टीके लगवाने के फायदे समझा रही हैं।

ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में टीके के लिए प्रोत्साहित करने में आशा कार्यकर्ताओं के साथ किशोरियों की महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका 

इसी तरह मोनिका भूरिया को तो टीका लगाने की बात पर मार भी पड़ी, लेकिन वे टस से मस नहीं हुई और अपनी सहेलियों के साथ टीकाकरण केंद्र जाकर टीका लगवा लिया, फिर गाँव-गाँव की आशा कार्यकर्ता इन्हीं किशोरियों की टोली लेकर आस-पास के गाँवों में प्रचार-प्रसार के लिए निकलने लगीं। हरिजन बस्ती की रहने वाली उन्नति मकवान कहती हैं कि बस्तियों में अभी भी हम लोगों को देखकर लोग छिप जाते हैं या भागने लगते हैं, कहीं हम उन्हें सुई ना लगा दें। 

गाँव के हालात अभी पूरी तरह से काबू में नहीं आए हैं। कोरोना महामारी की तीसरी लहर रोकने के लिए हमें रोज़ अपने घर से निकलकर गाँव वालों को बहुत समझाना पड़ता है। उन्नति बताती हैं कि झाबुआ ज़िले की ढेकल बड़ी हरिजन बस्ती मुख्यालय से 10 किलोमीटर दूर है। वह कहती हैं कि 10 किलोमीटर या इससे दूरी वाले गाँव के लोग अभी भी महामारी से बचने के लिए टीके लगवाने से कतरा रहे हैं।

किशोरियों के प्रयासों से ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में टीकाकरण सफलता पूर्वक हुआ है 

उन्नति, मोनिका और हिमांशी की तरह पूजा, शारदा, संगीता और करिश्मा जैसी सैकड़ों किशोरियां सुबह से गाँव -गाँव घूमकर लोगों को जागरूक करने का काम कर रही हैं। वह सफल भी हो रही हैं। इन्हीं के प्रयासों से झाबुआ ज़िले में करीब सवा दो लाख लोगों को टीके लगाए जा चुके हैं। इनमें पहली खुराक वाले एक लाख, 90 हज़ार से अधिक हैं, जबकि दूसरी खुराक वाले लगभग 32 हज़ार के आस-पास हैं। इस नेक काम के लिए ज़िला कलेक्टर ने इन किशोरियों को शाबाशी भी दी है। उन्होंने इन किशोरियों की प्रशंसा में ट्वीट भी किया है।

और पढ़ें: “रामदेव ने कोरोना महामारी में निजी स्वार्थ के लिए देशवासियों से किया भद्दा मजाक”

ज़िला टीकाकरण अधिकारी डॉ. राहुल गणावा के अनुसार 

ज़िला टीकाकरण अधिकारी डॉ. राहुल गणावा बताते हैं कि ज़िला मुख्यालय से 40 किमी दूर रामनगर गाँव में भी इसी तरह के प्रयोग किए जा रहे हैं। इनकी सक्रियता ने सरकार का काम आसान कर दिया है। उन्होंने कहा, ज़िले की कुल आबादी लगभग 12 लाख है, इनमें से 7 लाख, 76 हज़ार लोगों को टीके की खुराक दी जानी हैं। इन युवाओं के प्रोत्साहन से लगभग सवा दो लाख हितग्राहियों को टीके की खुराक दी जा चुकी हैं। 

उन्होंने कहा, दरअसल ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में आदिवासी समुदाय एक साथ मिलकर रहते हैं। इन्हें प्रेरित करने के लिए उन्हीं के बीच से किसी को आगे आना होता है, जो इनकी भाषा व व्यवहार को समझता हो। इन्हें प्रोत्साहित करने के लिए इनकी बोलचाल की भाषा में बात करना बहुत ज़रूरी होता है। इसलिए हमें यह तकनीक अपनानी पड़ी। उन्होंने आगे कहा कि अभी कॉलेज बंद हैं, इसलिए हमें दिन में भी किशोर आसानी से मिल जाते हैं।

डॉ. गणावा ने हमें बताया कि पिछले 5 वर्षों से ये किशोर इस कार्यक्रम के साथ जुड़कर स्वास्थ्य संबंधी कई बातों को समझ चुके हैं। ये क्षेत्रीय भाषा में बातचीत कर ग्रामीणों को समझाते हैं। इसी सोच के साथ इन किशोरियों को कोरोना से बचाव का प्रशिक्षण दिया गया, जिसमें स्वच्छता, बार-बार हाथ धोने के तरीके, मास्क लगाना और निश्चित सामाजिक दूरी के पालन के साथ-साथ कोरोना की जांच व टीके लगवाने की अनिवार्यता भी शामिल है।

हालांकि, अभी भी गाँव में चुनौतियां कम नहीं हैं। गाँवों में हमें बुजुर्गों का जबरदस्त विरोध झेलना पड़ रहा है। वह अभी भी झाड़-फूंक पर ज़्यादा विश्वास करते हैं। इसलिए गाँव में झोलाछाप डॉक्टरों और भूमका (गुनी ओझा) की पहुंच ज़्यादा है। गाँव में टीके के दुष्प्रभाव की भ्रांतियां खत्म करने में इनकी भी मदद ली जा रही है।

आदिवासी बहुल क्षेत्रों में युवाओं के माध्यम से टीके को लेकर जागरूकता में एक हद तक सफलता मिली है  

आदिवासी बाहुल क्षेत्र झाबुआ की ही तरह उमरिया और धार जैसे एक दर्जन ज़िलों में टीकाकरण के लिए गाँव के ही युवाओं की मदद ली जा रही है। अकेले स्वास्थ्यकर्मी गाँवों में जाने से डर रहे हैं। उन्हें डर है कि कहीं उनके साथ कोई अनहोनी ना हो जाए। धार ज़िले के हजरतपुर गाँव में ज़िला प्रशासन ने यूथ फॉर चिल्ड्रन के स्वयंसेवकों को तैयार किया है और उनके साथ आशा कार्यकर्ता घर-घर जाकर टीकाकरण के बारे में जानकारी दे रही हैं, ताकि पूरा गाँव कोरोना संक्रमण मुक्त हो जाए तथा इन गाँवों को सौ फीसदी टीकाकरण वाले गाँवों की सूची में शामिल किया जा सके।

और पढ़ें: “भविष्य चयन में मिल रही अब बच्चों को स्वतंत्रता, बदल रही माँ-बाप की सोच”

यही तरीका उमरिया ज़िले के गाँवों में भी अपनाया जा रहा है। ज़िला मुख्यालय से लगभग 25 किमी दूर आकाशकोट क्षेत्र के लगभग 25 गाँवों में युवाओं का सबसे पहले टीकाकरण किया गया है, जिससे वह अपने परिजनों की भ्रांतियां दूर कर सकें। जंगेला गाँव के 30 वर्षीय शंभू सिंह ने हमें बताया कि अपने परिवार में उसने सबसे पहले टीके लगवाया और उसके बाद पूरा परिवार का टीकाकरण हुआ। 

बिरहुलिया गाँव के 20 वर्षीय वृन्दावन सिंह की भी यही कहानी है। सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता संतोष कुमार द्विवेदी ने बताया कि यदि आदिवासी गाँवों का अध्ययन किया जाए, तो यह बात सामने आ जाएगी कि आदिवासी क्षेत्रों के टीकाकरण में युवाओं की संख्या सबसे अधिक है और वे ही अपने गाँवों में एक उत्प्रेरक के रूप में अपनी भागीदारी सुनिश्चित कर रहे हैं। युवा और किशोरों के कारण ही ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में कोरोना महामारी काबू में आया है। हालांकि, अभी भी सौ फीसदी लोगों को टीके लगवाना चुनौती भरा काम है।

नोट- यह आलेख भोपाल, म.प्र. से रूबी सरकार ने चरखा फीचर के लिए लिखा है।  

Why isn’t Parliament functioning normally involving the legislation of important bills apart from deliberations on issues like Pegasus spyware to the contentious farm law?

Indian Parliament
Representative Image.

If the opposition is the culprit then the government of the day is also equally at fault for pushing itself back on important questions concerning the common and ordinary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the BJP legislators to expose Congress for stalling the house doesn’t bode well for our democracy which is both argumentative and deliberative.

Also read: To Build Or Not To Build: Does India Really Need A New Parliament?

The opposition is within its rights to demand the issuance of a statement from the ruling dispensation bound by its constitutional duty and electoral mandate. Modi ji instead of deploying all sorts of ideological machinations against our opponents from dissenters to detractors it would be in your interest to hear the other side patiently and persuasively.

Maybe a special session of both the houses will do in clearing the commotion, chaos and confrontation in breaking the resolve. Who would want to show a big heart as for all the loud decibel slogans and slugfest on the floor of the house? Compassion and cooperation is all that gets counted.

Featured Image via flickr

देश की राजनीति और न्याय प्रणाली एक बदनुमा दाग जैसी हो गई है और दाग कहीं भी लगा हो अच्छा नहीं लगता है, उसे साफ करना बहुत ज़रूरी होता है इसलिए सरकारों को देश में कई तरह के सुधार करना बहुत ज़रूरी है। वर्तमान में हमारे देश में सामाजिक-राजनैतिक-धार्मिक-आर्थिक और न्यायिक सुधार की हमें बहुत ज़रूरत है अगर सभी कल्याणकारी योजनाओं को खत्म कर के सारा का सारा पैसा सीधे जनता के बैंक खातों मे डाल दिया जाए तो जनता अपना विकास खुद ही कर लेगी।

देश में कई लोग और आयोग ऐसे हैं जिनको मुफ्त का वेतन मिलता है। उनको पूरी तरह से समाप्त कर देना चाहिए ताकि देश की सकल और घरेलू आय तथा प्राकृतिक संसाधनों में हर नागरिक की समान भागीदारी हो।

एक जैसा कानून, समान शिक्षा और समान वेतन व्यवस्था पूरे भारत देश में लागू होनी चाहिए और सभी के पास मकान, ज़मीन और रोज़गार होना चाहिए, जिससे देश के हर नागरिक से अलग-अलग टैक्स वसूलने की बजाय सभी पर एक ही प्रकार का टैक्स लागू होना चाहिए।

देश के बड़े-बड़े मंत्रियों को सरकार, जो वेतन देती है उनको भी एक मज़दूर के बराबर ही वेतन मिलना चाहिए, क्योंकि वो लोग भी देश और देश की जनता के लिए ही काम करते हैं और जिन नेताओं, नौकरशाहों और जजों का  कम मज़दूरी में गुज़ारा नहीं होता है उन्हें भी अपनी नैतिकता के आधार पर अपने पदों से इस्तीफा दे देना चाहिए, जिससे देश के विकास में बढ़ोतरी हो सके।

और पढ़ें: लड़कियों को लेकर हमारे समाज में क्यों है लैंगिक भेदभाव की प्रवृत्ति?

देश में प्रतिभाशाली लोगों की कमी नहीं है। एक कम पढ़ा-लिखा आदमी भी हवाईजहाज बना सकता है, इसमें कोई दोराय नहीं होनी चाहिए। आज़ादी के बाद से ही सरकार शिक्षा के नाम पर केवल शिक्षा माफियों को ही बढ़ावा दे रही है। शिक्षा और रोज़गार में सरकार अब तक कोई फर्क तय नहीं कर पाई है। विद्यार्थियों की अपनी पढ़ाई के साथ-साथ अपने खर्चों को वहन करने के लिए भी कमाई भी होनी चाहिए, ताकि पढाई करने के साथ उन्हें अपने पैरों पर खड़ा होने में कोई कमज़ोरी या परेशानी महसूस ना हो सके। अगर अच्छे से पढ़-लिख कर भी कोई व्यक्ति  बेरोजगार रह जाए तो इसके लिए सरकार को उस व्यक्ति की ज़िम्मेदारी उठाने के बारे में सोचना चाहिए।

देश की अदालतों में कई सालों से अनेक मामले लंबित पड़े हुए हैं। हमें देश की अदालतों में जजों की संख्या बढ़ाने की ज़रूरत है, लेकिन यह काम भी एक प्रक्रिया के तहत होता है। हमें उस प्रक्रिया को ठीक करने की सख्त ज़रूरत है, जिससे देश के हर नागरिक को ज़ल्द-से-ज़ल्द और ठीक समय पर न्याय मिल सके।

हर विधानसभा या क्षेत्र में जनता की एक अदालत होनी चाहिए और न्याय में जनता की भागीदारी होनी चाहिए। देश की अदालतों में अंग्रेज़ी भाषा का इस्तेमाल कम-से-कम होना चाहिए, ताकि ग्रामीण क्षेत्र से आने वाले लोगों को उस वाद से सम्बन्धित तथ्यों एवं न्यायालय के निर्णय को सुनने-समझने में आसानी हो सके और जो अधिवक्ता आम जनता से बहुत पैसा वसूल करते हैं इससे उन पर लगाम लगाई जा सके और वो आम जनता को बेवकूफ ना बना सकें।

अगर किसी राजनीतिक पार्टी पर टिकट बेचने का आरोप लगे और वो उस आरोप में दोषी पाई जाए तो उस राजनैतिक पार्टी की मान्यता हमेशा-हमेशा के लिए समाप्त होनी चाहिएऔर  घोटालेबाज नेताओं की सम्पूर्ण संपत्ति जब्त होनी चाहिए।

The capital Delhi becomes uglier every time with rains clogging the drains potholes in the roads. A perennial phenomenon occurring every time around monsoons making the city look messier with hardly anyone taking cognizance of it.

Representative Image.

Passing the blame has become the favourite pass time of the authorities engaged and involved in ensuring maintenance and hygiene of the city. This tug of war has to be brought to an end with civic agencies PWD and MCD tasking themselves with their roles and responsibility for the better of the common and ordinary citizens of Delhi.

Also read: Once Offering Protection From Disasters, Pichavaram Mangrove Forests Face New Threats

Getting over political differences of opinion is integrally important for the best offices of Centre and Delhi government aiding in improving the scenario and situation. Cooperation, collaboration and coordination between their agencies and departments will be quite a meaningful turning and translating Delhi’s fate and future.

There shouldn’t be a recap of the COVID scare with people breathing their last in want of oxygen and ventilators. So, instead of advertising and postering one’s accomplishments, it would be ideal for Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi to get back to the drawing board without a further delay as already a lot has gone by.

Featured Image via flickr

Kriti Sanon and Pankaj Tripathi starrer film, “Mimi” is the latest attempt by Bollywood to bring the taboo topic of surrogacy back in the mainstream, the last being “Chori Chori Chupke Chupke”. The film showcases the story of Mimi, played by Kriti giving her career best performance, who wishes to become a heroine in Mumbai and for which she is saving money.

It is through a typical dance number (“Bikaner ki chokri, Santre ki tokri”) when an American couple wandering in India for over a year, John and Summer, the intended parents, see in “Mimi” a potential surrogate mother. Bhanu played by the enigmatic Pankaj Tripathi, plays the broker in here and convinces Mimi to be a surrogate and get compensated in return.

Considering the huge financial prospects involved, she agrees to it without much delay. The film is set in a small town of Rajasthan in the year 2013. The twist comes when the American couple abandons Mimi and the baby in the middle of the pregnancy and our surrogate Mimi is left all by herself. This tragic turn of events has been the harsh reality for many in India.

surrogacy india
Legalised in 2002, India has become a hub of commercial surrogacy, so much that it has been called ababy factory’. Representational image.

Legalised in 2002, India has become a hub of commercial surrogacy, so much that it has been called ababy factory’. Commercial surrogacy is legal in Russia, Ukraine and some States of the USA, but considering the cheaper costs, India becomes a preferable destination. A report estimates it to be worth more than $400, but the ethics of the practice has been largely questioned.

As in “Mimi”, the reference of “khet, ganna, beej” to the commercial surrogacy, the practice has led to the commodification of reproductive labour and women’s body. It is accused of treating the child as a good, reproduction as a service to be traded and establishing control over women’s bodies. Commercial surrogacy is likened to organ sale rackets.

There is also power dynamics involved where the rich try to rent the womb for themselves, the surrogates coming from the lowest economic rungs of society. Coming out of dire property, their consent to be surrogates can hardly be called informed. It is coercive since refusal is mostly difficult. Also, in majority of the cases, they are illiterate and barely get a copy of the contract signed. The broker keeps a major chunk of the compensation.

Also read: How The New Surrogacy Bill Actually Puts Added Pressure On Women In India

The commercial surrogacy in India has largely flourished because of absence of regulations and red-tapism. Come 2014 and the NDA government comes up with Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill which intended to ban commercial surrogacies over night. It allowed only altruistic surrogacy from close family members which would cover medical expenses and insurance and will be limited to Indian heterosexual and infertile couples, having completed five years of marriage.

This bill was passed by Lok Sabha in 2015 but could not steer through the upper house of parliament and was therefore, referred to a select committee. The Select Committee headed by Bhupendra Yadav, after consulting various stakeholders suggested that widows and divorced women be included, the five year marriage and infertility clause be removed from the bill. The bill accepting the recommendations is still pending in the Parliament.

But the bill has its share of shortcomings even now. It falls short of taking into account the rights of live-in couples and LGBTQ community who wish to start a family beyond the traditional nation of parents. The community has started to get legal recognition in India and their rights need to be protected.

Also read: Why I Think The Surrogacy Bill Is Both Unreasonable And Unjust

Further the interests of surrogates have also been ignored as banning surrogacy straight away leaves them out of economic opportunities and their chance to improve their lot. As Dr Patel of Akanksha Hospital, Anand, Gujarat says, “Banning is never the solution”. The ban will give rise to an underground market for surrogacy which will only worsen the situation for poor women.

The movie in the end strikes the right chords by focusing on adoption as a viable option. As it is conveyed, “If the orphaned children were to be a country, it would be the 7th largest in the world.” You can watch “Mimi” on Netflix and Jio Cinemas.

By: Anuj Dahiya, a student of Political Science.

Instagram: @anuj__dahiya  Twitter: @unujdahiya

Featured image is for representational purposes only.

With the pandemic in view, multiple educational institutions have shifted into an e-school. Children are spending more time than usual on the internet, which is resulting in an increased risk of cyber bullying and online child sexual abuse during the Covid-19 health crisis. Thus, Our Voix Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, has launched a comic book on cyber safety on July 27, 2021. Our Voix had partnered with Tagore International School and PRATYeK to curate the comic book. The comic book has been curated after interactions with children from different states in India, the voices of children have been involved in the making of the comic book. 

Cyber Safety Comic Book for Children

During the virtual launch, children, teachers and stakeholders from more than states had joined the virtual launch event and shared their views about the importance of knowledge about cyber safety. Megha Bhatia, Founder of Our Voix, talked about the statistics related to cyber bullying and abuse in India. She stated that “this is not just a comic book but a revolution against cyber abuse.”

After thjis, Mannat, a student of Sanskriti school, shared that “the ongoing pandemic has affected the school going children the most as they are more vulnerable and present on the internet for maximum hours.” She also reinforced the power of voice to speak up against abuse. 

Vedica Saxena, Project Director, Tagore International School, emphasised on the importance of keeping children’s voice first and including such resources as a part of the school library. Tia, a student of Tagore International School, shared her views about the importance to start the conversation about cyber security, sexual abuse and bullying as it empowers students as well as makes them feel welcomed.

Tamanna, a Class 6 student from PRATYeK, shared that it is very important for adults to listen to children so as to understand their point of views. She also mentioned a beautiful line that, “bacche safe honge tabhi duniya badhegi.”

Ayan, a student from PRATYeK mentioned that if he had a superpower, he would use it to protect and fight for the rights of children. He also wishes to engage in peaceful rallies to make children aware about their rights. Utkarsh, a student of Tagore International School, stated that we should always take safety measures while we are surfing on the internet. He also emphasised on the importance of cyber security for children as it is equally important as national security.

Mr Rakshit Tandon, Cyber Security Expert and Director/Co-founder, Hackershala, Consultant, IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India) Advisory, Cyber Crime Cells, shared key points about cyber hygiene, information distancing just like social distancing, screen time, digital responsibility and safety. He believes that children should read comic books on cyber safety as such resources will empower them with knowledge about cyber safety.


The session ended with an abundance of love, support and appreciation from the participants. Indian children are the most cyber bullied in the world. During Covid, such comic books will be a great resource for parents and teachers to start a conversation with children about cyber safety in a chil- friendly manner. The comic book includes topics such as cyber bullying, stalking, impact of sharing morphed images or private pictures on social media, privacy, fake news, digital footprint, finding the right balance, the right to stay safe offline as well as online and many more informative  topics to create a safe digital space for children. 

You can get your very own copy of the comic book by clicking on the link, get your Cyber Safety comic book today

Cyber safety comic book : Virtual launch

About the author: You may reach Our Voix at 9599860311 or by sending an email at ourvoix@gmail.com.

Also read:

This article contains phrases that can hurt the feelings of a nationalist.

We are taught to be nationalists right from our childhood. I remember drawing the Indian tricolour and how I used to feel this sense of pride about it. But today, I can’t even look at those three colours together for too long. It makes me feel sick.

The nationalist sentiment grew within me, but it always stayed hollow. So, it was easy to break through it with the resources I found because of my many privileges.

What is nationalism? Is it a love for one’s nation, for one’s country?

Indian flag
Representational image.

When you look at it, it seems quite justified, love for your own country. But what is “your country”? Someone told me that it means “the people of your country”. When I asked them about the people living beyond the territory of India, they said that they were talking about the country, not “the state”.

What Does Country Mean?

What does country mean? The Nehruvian hokum we are taught? Unity in diversity? The amalgamation of different cultures? Oh, it’s the era of globalisation! The whole human society is an amalgamation of cultures. What is there to be proud of about being born in India?

If you’re going to talk about beauty, believe me, the whole cosmos is beautiful.

One may say that, “Yeah, people speak in my first language and I feel comfortable around them,” or that, “I feel comfortable in my own town.” But, what about the whole country?

Okay, if you ask me about my patriotism towards my own culture: no, I don’t love it any more than any other culture around the world.

Is Nationalism Really That Bad?

They teach us about aggressive nationalism and perverted nationalism, which are obviously bad. Look at Hitler, or look at Mussolini! But plain nationalism, on the other hand, is good. Alfred Zimmern said, “The road to internationalism lies through nationalism.”

I respectfully disagree! The nationalist song by Dwijendralal Ray, ধন ধান্য পুষ্প ভরা  (dhono dhanno pushpo bhora), has got a line saying: সকল দেশের রানী সে যে আমার জন্মভূমি . Loosely translated, it means: “My motherland is the queen of all countries.” But this isn’t aggressive, is it? Oh, it is!

You can say that you don’t consider your own country to be the best, or believe that other countries are inferior, but you just love your own country. Well, I can only ask you, where is this love coming from?

Working Class Unity

The class interests of the working class and that of the bourgeois class are internationalist. From a macro perspective, they don’t care about their nationalities. The capitalists have got the world market to compete for.

The workers are oppressed all over the world, so they have the whole world to win, eh?

Yeah, the petit-bourgeois (of or characteristic of the lower middle class, especially with reference to perceived conventionalism and conservatism), the middle class, they care a lot about their nationalities.

They are the ones who have surplus time to feel “pride” and “love” for their races, nations or countries.

They influence others and this nationalism is useful for the bourgeoisie who use it to create a divide among the people. Thus, we are taught to be nationalists from our childhood.

Smash capitalism, globalisation and imperialism! “And the last fight let us face, the international unites the human race!”

Created by শঙ্কু_ পাগলা

Would you call yourself a patriot?
Featured image is for representational purposes only.

By the third win, one by one India strengthens its position in the second spot of six-team Pool A. It has so far three wins and one loss out of four games. It has to face Japan now. Hunt for securing its place for a quarterfinal berth is nearly narrowed down.

india hockey team
Representative Image.

Undeniably, Indian hockey players put an impressive play after Australian pain. They remained aggressive and covered the field like fine players of the yesteryears. Putting pressure on the rival teams was exhibited by them in the field. They were not only running but also marvelled at sticks.

Will it pass through the tough test of the quarterfinals? The way they played against Argentina showed their luck to win. Though its mounting attacks helped them enter the rival’s circle, it took 43 minutes to net the goal. The second came on a rebound and the third materialised in the nick of time. Varin, Vivek and Harmanpreet completed the goals.

Also read: Remembering Major Dhyan Chand-The Hockey Wizard Of India

Although India will play the next round, yet its encounter is supposed to be with a stronger hockey team. Will it break the ice of 41 long years to reach the final? The last gold medal was won in the year 1980. Will the coach’s four formulas work at Tokyo Olympics? It has certainly revived a positive hope.

Yes, it can be sort of doing directly a bit of the ratio coating on the earned points. Some performance allows them to share comparatively better play from the conventional. This is still way too cumbersome and seemingly useless. Handed out adequate space, the players should know they just took the match to a winning level and realise to automatically pop up the pick of packing the desired medal.

‘Bullshit Urbanism’ is a term coined by Dr Leon, who believes that wealth and power have made cities a joyless junk habitat that we can’t afford to support, and of which capitalism is a major cause. To learn more about Dr Leon’s concept and ways to break stratification of cities through material accumulation, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) of Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) organised a talk on ‘BS* Urbanism’ under #LocalGovernance.


Tikender S Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla, and Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI, commenced the session with a question on why bullshit urbanism, and contextualised it by talking about the humongous number of inequities that exist in urban centres and the stark difference between rural and urban areas, evident from the Oxfam report on inequality.

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He then introduces the speaker of the session Dr Leon A Morenas, Associate Professor, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi. Dr Leon started his presentation by quoting his inspiration for the topic ‘Bullshit Urbanism’ to originate from a term coined by American anthropologist and activist David Graeber in 2013 called ‘Bullshit Jobs’.

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The term tried entangling the concept of employment as completely pointless, unnecessary and pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence, even though the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case. Dr Leon finds this phenomenon fundamental and intuitive, which allows him to think that it’s not just jobs that are pernicious and unjustifiable, urbanism can be, too.


American writer James Howard Kunstler, in his book The Geography of Nowhere, examines how during the epoch of stupendous wealth and power we managed to ruin our greater cities, throw away small towns, and impose over the countryside a joyless junk habitat that we can’t afford to support. Dr Leon believed this was the beginning of the diagnose of bullshit urbanism.


He saw the vitiation of the public as an uncontrollable force that destroys conventional categories, distinguishing the urban from the rural. The massive hydraulics of the urban system untamable and bullshit jobs, as mentioned by David Graeber, then become life jackets keeping us afloat. However, the central concerns of his talk were not limited to material characteristics of the urban, but more importantly, the mutual construction of human beings and built environment.


He then talks about how during the pandemic, cities were not accommodative of caddies, delivery boys, labourers, loaders, cooks, painters etc. who are part of the same population that helps us run cities, yet, they had to head back to their villages barefoot.

Urbanism: A Fantasy Of Contemporary Capitalism

He then explained how both authors Kunstler and Graeber diagnose contemporary capitalism as the cause of our predicament. They thought capitalism to be too efficient and yet, there was a proliferation of bullshit jobs, which cannot be justified by economics. Thus, Graeber saw the need of studying the moral and political ramifications of the same.


Dr Leon argues that bullshit urbanism is nothing but capitalism perpetuating itself by patenting space, which is not just driven by economic rationale, but also moral and political reasons.

Metropolitan Dystopia

He then discusses his doctoral work that looked at the technological undergirdings of the Delhi Master Plan, devised as a prototype for Indian development aimed at delivering spatial equality to Delhi citizens. However, he observes this spatial fix to have created a metropolitan dystopia of ever-increasing unevenness between the urban poor and metropolitan rich.


He then expanded his doctoral work to look into the social history of the smart city mission in India that examined claims about data being empirical and non-ideological and the premise that algorithms analysing data and smart cities are neutral, and objective demonstrating the fact that such arrangements and assumptions affect the poor disproportionately and deleteriously.

He emphasised how 0.1% of the population controls 50% of the wealth all without addressing any of the factors that people actually object to about such unequal social arrangements. For instance, some manage to turn their wealth into power over others or others ends up being told their needs are not important and their lives have no intrinsic worth. The latter is the inevitable effect of inequality, and inequality is the inevitable result of living in any large, complex urban technologically sophisticated society.


Urbanism From Historical Perspective

To view this problem from a historical lens, he takes us to a period before the invention of inequality. He states that homo-sapiens emerged around 200,000 years ago and existed as small mobile units of around 40-80 individuals, who worked for some hours and there was no such formal structure of domination and thus, they existed as equals.

However, around 10,000 years ago, at the close of the last ice age, all changed. Neolithic farmers began cultivating crops as a result first settlement emerged. Then came private ownership of property, sporadic feuds and war ensued. Further, the production of surplus food allowed for the accumulation of wealth and influence beyond kinship groups and large concentrations of people, and the surplus of goods meant the natural emergence of inequality.

Also read: Can MGNREGA Provide Livelihood Relief In The COVID-Era?

Anthropologist Marcel Moss, however, observed that our remote ancestors were behaving in broadly similar ways to the present-day social order, shifting back and forth between alternative social arrangements, permitting the rise of authoritarian structures during certain times of the year on the understanding that no social order was ever fixed or immutable.

He says that early homo-sapiens were not just physically the same as modern humans. They were our intellectual peers who were more conscious of society’s potential than people generally are today, switching back and forth between different forms of organisations every year. Our previous ancestors confined inequality to ritual costume drama constructing gods and kingdoms as they did their monuments, then cheerfully disassembling them once again.


In the city of Mohenjo-Daro, most of its population around 40,000 residents lived in high-quality housing and lasted nearly 700 years. There is evidence that a majority of the city’s residence appears to have lived comfortable lives in brick-built of the lower town with grid-like street arrangements and remarkable infrastructure for drainage and sanitation. With no evidence in the Indus civilisation, we find any accommodation of sharia-type values, no tradition of monumental representation of pictorial narrative celebrating the deeds of charismatic leaders, and so on.

Thus, he concludes his presentation by refuting the myth that slavery, capitalism and inequality were natural and inevitable features of human civilisation earlier and now bullshitisation of urban spaces perpetuates these misconceptions and recast them in benign terms of the planetary ilk.

Questions And Reflections

Dr Tikender remarked how intriguing Dr Leon’s presentation was and posed a question asking how he correlate to SDGs released by the UN that aim at making cities more equitable and what various works of different authors suggest, which is democratisation or making resources accessible to everyone model.

Dr Leons states how the views of Harvey and Graeber are not compatible given their different political leanings. He views Marxism, which is about how you deal with the city without having to deal with the state. He then talks about the mode of production, a concept in Marxism, where if the proletariat were able to control the mode of production, then we could bring about real equitable change. Whereas, Graeber sees it not as a material production of the artifact but more about the social production of people and therefore, he advocates having an anarchist view and reimagine an urban scenario that is different and break the stratification of urban spaces through material accumulation.

Another question that was raised was: what is the role of technology in the new non-bullshit urbanism? And is it suitable and junctural to have a non-hierarchical world at this time and comfort?

Dr Leon answers by disagreeing that a non-hierarchical world is not suitable or attainable, and justifies it with Graeber’s view of how anything that you are able to make, you can unmake them and make them differently. Thus, views that there are no cast stone structures that cannot be remade.

On the role of technology, he takes work of Herbert’s marquis to explain how technology contours a person’s entire existence. He doesn’t see it as a tool or instrument, but something that should be approached with a larger vision and that cannot be pulled out in a cause-effect linear spectrum.

Dr Arjun Kumar, Director at IMPRI, asks how Dr Leon looks at the fast-paced urbanisation of Chinese cities and his views on the same. Dr Leon states how Chinese cities are fast-paced due to their capitalist nature and from an architectural standpoint. He argues there to be some formulaic applications and models of urban growth that, if applied with proper economic backup, can be a success.

Concluding Remarks

He concluded his lecture by giving a gender perspective to the topic. He emphasided how urbanism put women behind in some harems and would like to break this inherently possessed inequality.

Acknowledgment: Nikitha Gopi is a Research Intern at IMPRI. 


Also read: In The Name Of Environmentalism, Lakhs Have Been Displaced By Authorities

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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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