हाल ही में बेहद शर्मनाक खबर सामने आई है, जहां एक पिता चार सालों तक अपनी ही बेटी की इज्ज़त लूटता रहा। ये लड़की का सौतेला बाप था, जो लकड़ी के साथ चार साल तक दुष्कर्म करता रहा। जब इस मामले को लेकर पिता की रिपोर्ट दर्ज़ कराई गई, तो सौतेले पिता ने वीडियो वायरल करने की धमकी दी। ऐसा बताया जा रहा है कि लड़की की माँ ने धर्म बदलकर अलग समुदाय के व्यक्ति से विवाह किया था।

जिस रात पिता लकड़ी के साथ दुष्कर्म कर रहा था, उस रात मौके पर उसकी माँ आ गई थी। लड़की की माँ के विरोध करने के बाद सौतेले पिता ने माँ की पिटाई की जिसके चलते माँ वही पर घायल हो गई। इसके बाद ही माँ ने पुलिस स्टेशन जाकर रिपोर्ट दर्ज़ कराई। बताया जा रहा है कि रिपोर्ट दर्ज़ कर ली गई है। अब आगे कार्रवाई की जाएगी।

ये ऐसी घटनाएं हैं, जो हमारे देश में अक्सर सुनने को मिलती हैं। कुछ मामले होते हैं जो सामने आ जाते हैं मगर कुछ मामलों में आरोपी के आरोप जीवनभर के लिए दबे रह जाते हैं, क्योंकि ऐसी ही घटनाएं कई बार घर में लड़कियों के साथ हो जाती हैं, जहां पर कभी कोई उनका करीबी रिश्तेदार, कोई घर वाला या फिर कोई अध्यापक होता है।

लड़कियां यह सोचकर इन मामलों को उजाकर नहीं कर पाती हैं कि कहीं उनके रिश्ते खत्म ना हो जाएं या फिर कल को समाज क्या कहेगा।

एक बार मेरे करीबी रिश्तेदार ने अपनी बहन की इज़्जत तक का ख्याल ना रखते हुए उसकी गंदी तस्वीरें सोशल साइट्स पर डाल दी। लंबे समय तक वो फेक आईडी के ज़रिये यह काम करता रहा। जब रिपोर्ट लिखाई गई तो पता चला कि ये उस लड़की का सगा भाई है।

घरेलू दुष्कर्म के ऐसे कई मामले हैं, जो लड़कियों के साथ कम उम्र में हो जाते हैं लेकिन वो समाज के डर से किसी के साथ शेयर नहीं कर पाती हैं। कभी-कभी तो घिन आती है ऐसे समाज पर जहां एक ओर लोग स्त्री को पूजने का दिखावा करते हैं, वहीं दूसरी ओर एक स्त्री की इज़्जत के साथ खिलवाड़ करने से भी नहीं चूकते हैं। इसी कारण मासूम लड़कियां हवस का शिकार होती हैं।

दिल्ली दंगों में जिस नेता का नाम सबसे ज़्यादा सामने आ रहा है, वह है कपिल मिश्रा। हर दिन एक नई रिपोर्ट सामने आती है जिसमें कोई चश्मदीद गवाह यह कह रहा होता है कि उसने कपिल मिश्रा को खुद दंगाई भीड़ का नेतृत्व करते हुए और मुसलमानों पर हमला करते हुए देखा था।

इन गवाहों ने ऐसी कई शिकायतें दिल्ली पुलिस और यहां तक कि पीएमओ को भी सौंपी। अत: यह साफ है कि कपिल मिश्रा की भूमिका केवल भड़काऊ भाषण देने तक ही सीमित नहीं थी। उन शिकायतों में यह भी लिखा है कि दिल्ली पुलिस के अफसर यह कहते थे कि कपिल मिश्रा आज तुम लोगों को आज़ादी दिला देंगे। 

कपिल‌ मिश्रा कैसे इतना बड़ा नेता बना?

आखिर ये कपिल मिश्रा है कौन? क्या कपिल मिश्रा इतना बड़ा नेता है कि उसके एक इशारे पर हिन्दू गोलबंद हो सकते हैं? कपिल मिश्रा ने अगस्त 2019 में ही बीजेपी ज्वाइन की थी।

आखिर 6 महीनों में ही वह इतना बड़ा नेता कैसे बना कि भड़काऊ भाषण देते समय दिल्ली पुलिस के डीसीपी से विकेटकीपिंग करवा रहा था?

कपिल मिश्रा क्यों बन गए प्रेरणा

दिल्ली पुलिस की ही चार्जशीट के अनुसार, एक व्हाट्सएप ग्रुप था जिसमें मुसलमानों को मारने की योजना बनाई जा रही थी। उस ग्रुप में कई बार यह लिखा गया कि उन्हें कपिल भैया की बात सुननी चाहिए और उस पर अमल भी करना चाहिए। इससे साफ है कि कपिल मिश्रा उनकी प्रेरणा थे।

सोचिए उन विराट हिन्दुओं को कितना बड़ा झटका लगेगा जब उन्हें पता चलेगा कि बस चार साल पहले उनके कपिल भैया उनके पिता तुल्य शख्सियत को आईएसआई एजेंट कह रहे थे। कपिल भैया को ऐसा नहीं कहना चाहिए था। अपने हिन्दू भाइयों की भावनाओं का थोड़ा तो ख्याल कर लेते वह।

विराट हिन्दुओं का दिल भी इतना विराट है

हमारे विराट हिन्दुओं का दिल बड़ा विराट है कि उन्होंने कपिल मिश्रा के इस पाप को क्षमा करके उसे अपना नेता बना लिया। धिक्कार है ऐसे हिन्दुओं पर जो अपने पिता का इतना बड़ा अपमान बर्दाश्त कर जाए। इससे साफ है कि उनमें रैडिकलाइज़ेशन का स्तर इस हद तक बढ़ चुका है कि वे किसी को भी अपना नेता मान लेंगे जो मुसलमानों के खिलाफ ज़हर उगलेगा।

इसके लिए वे अपने सारे सिद्धांत दांव पर लगा देंगे। उनमें एक प्रकार की डेस्परेशन है। एक ऐसा नेता ढूंढने की जो खुलकर मुसलमानों को मारने की बात करे। वो उन्हें गारंटी दे कि वो उनके साथ खड़ा रहेगा।

दिल्ली बीजेपी के शीर्ष नेता खुलकर यह कह नहीं पाते। इसलिए यह भरोसा उनको कपिल भैया से मिला कि वह मुसलमानों के खिलाफ उनकी नफरत को अंजाम तक पहुंचाने में उनका नेतृत्व करेंगे।

एक सत्य यह भी

पीआर में पैसा फूंककर मोदी की तस्वीर आगे करके “सबका साथ सबका विकास” चिल्लाने वाली बीजेपी को कपिल मिश्रा से बेहतर कोई एक्सपोज़ नहीं कर सकता है। मतलब, एक ऐसा आदमी भी बीजेपी में शीर्ष पर पहुंच सकता है जो उनके पिता तुल्य शख्सियत को आईएसआई एजेंट बोले और वह भी बस पांच महीनों में ही हिन्दू हृदय सम्राट बन सकता है अगर मुसलमानों के खिलाफ‌ ज़हर उगले।

दिल्ली पुलिस की किसी चार्जशीट में कपिल मिश्रा का ज़िक्र तक नहीं है। शायद आगे भी नहीं होगा। अब तो कपिल मिश्रा की गिरफ्तारी की मांग करते हुए हम ऐसे लगते हैं जैसे दीवार के आगे चिल्ला रहे हैं।

उम्मीद है एक दिन यह दीवार टूटेगी और इतिहास की किताबों तक हमारी आवाज़ पहुंचेगी ताकि कपिल मिश्रा का नाम एक आतंकी के रूप में दर्ज़ हो सके।

भारत-चीन पड़ोसी एवं विश्व के दो बड़े विकासशील देश हैं। दोनों में प्राचीन काल से सांस्कृतिक तथा आर्थिक संबंध रहे हैं लेकिन सीमा विवाद पर दोनों देशों के संबंध सदैव तनावपूर्ण रहे हैं। वर्तमान समय में लद्दाख विवाद से दोनों के संबंधों में पुन: कटुता उत्पन्न हो गयी है।

लद्दाख के गलवान घाटी में चीन और भारतीय सैनिकों के बीच हुई हिंसक झड़प के बाद दोनों देशों के बीच सीमा विवाद चरम पर है। इस बीच दोनों ओर से शांति बहाली के लिए कमांडर स्तरीय वार्ता भी जारी है लेकिन अभी तक कोई ठोस नतीजा नहीं निकल पाया है।

दूसरी ओर, चीन सीमा पर लगातार सैन्य शक्ति बढ़ाता जा रहा है लेकिन इस बार भारत के साथ सीमा विवाद भड़काने का खामियाजा चीन को ना केवल सामरिक रूप से उठाना पड़ा है, बल्कि उसे भारी आर्थिक झटका भी लगा है।

India China Dispute

आर्थिक प्रतिबंध हो सकता है कारगर हथियार

भारत डिजिटल स्ट्राइक के ज़रिए चीन को सबक सीखाने की राह पर निकल पड़ा है। डिजिटल स्ट्राइक ने यह साबित कर दिया है कि आधुनिक युग में युद्ध जीतने के लिए मिसाइलों की जरूरत नहीं होती, आर्थिक प्रतिबंध भी एक कारगर हथियार साबित हो सकता है।

लद्दाख में चीन के साथ विवाद बढ़ने पर उसकी ‘सॉफ्ट पावर’ पर भारत ने सबसे बड़ी कारवाई करते हुए 59 मोबाइल ऐप पर आईटी कानून की धारा 69 ए के तहत सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी नियम के अंतर्गत मिले अधिकारों के ज़रिए प्रतिबंध लगा दिया है।

इसके पीछे भारत का तर्क है कि यह देश की संप्रभुता, अखंडता उसकी सुरक्षा और सार्वजनिक व्यवस्था के लिए नुकसानदेह है। इन 59 ऐप के ज़रिए जनता के डाटा की निजता को खतरा था। विशेषज्ञों के मुताबिक इस वर्चुअल स्ट्राइक के ज़रिए भारत चीन को ज़्यादा प्रभावी और मजबूत जवाब दे सकता है।

हिंदुस्तान में ऐप प्रतिबंध के निर्णय को कैसे देखा जा रहा है?  

रक्षा विशेषज्ञ मेजर जनरल अश्विनी सिवाच का कहना है कि चीन ऐसा देश है जो साइबर युद्ध, सूचना और मनोवैज्ञानिक युद्ध का महारथी हैं। चीन के ऐप दूसरों के मुकाबले 45 प्रतिशत ज़्यादा इजाज़त मांगते हैं। यह हमारे देश की सुरक्षा व अखंडता के लिए एक खतरा थे।

वहीं, साइबर एक्सपर्ट तरुण विज बताते हैं कि उनके द्वारा किए गए विश्लेषण में पाया गया कि यूसी ब्राउज़र पर यदि आप कुछ भी टाइप करते हैं तो वह सब कुछ चीन तक जा रहा है। वह उसकी पूरी प्रोफाइलिंग कर रहा हैं। इस तरह चीन हमारे देश के हर एक इंसान की प्रोफाइलिंग करने की कोशिश कर रहा है।

ऐसे में, सरकार द्वारा इन ऐपों पर प्रतिबंध लगाने से हमारा डाटा वहां जाना बंद हो जाएगा। यूसी ब्राउज़र के खिलाफ दिल्ली के पटयाला कोर्ट में मुकदमा भी चल रहा है जिसमें याचिकाकर्ता ने यह आरोप लगाया है कि यहां से सूचना चीन भेजी जा रही है।

इन ऐप्स के ज़रिए चीन हमारी जासूसी कर रहा था। ऐसे में, यह प्रतिबंध उसकी जासूसी पर एक प्रतिबंध है। ऐसा नहीं है कि चीन पर ऐसा आरोप सिर्फ भारत ने ही लगाया है, बल्कि दुनिया के दूसरे देश भी चीन पर साइबर अटैक का आरोप लगाते रहे हैं।

china ladakh border unrest tik tok app banned in india
प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

डिजिटल स्ट्राइक का भारत को फायदा या नुकसान?

भारत दुनिया में अपनी तकनीक के लिए जाना जाता है। अमेरिका की अर्थव्यवस्था को भारतीय पेशेवर चलाते हैं। यहां सवाल यह उठता है कि भारत सरकार ने आर्थिक अतिक्रमण पर जो डिजिटल स्ट्राइक की है उससे चीन को तो नुकसान होगा लेकिन भारत को कितना बड़ा फायदा होने वाला है।

चीन के ऐप्स भारत में किस तरह से मुनाफा कमा रहे हैं, इसका विश्लेषण करते हुए अर्थशास्त्री शरद कोहली बताते हैं कि आंकड़ों के मुताबिक दुनियाभर में अकेले टिकटॉक के दो अरब से ज़्यादा यूज़र्स हैं। इनमें करीब 30 प्रतिशत भारतीय हैं। इसके बाद चीन और अमेरिका में इसके यूज़र्स हैं।

इस ऐप का मूल्य निर्धारण (Valuation) करीब 100 बिलियन डॉलर है। ऐप की कुल कमाई का 30 प्रतिशत राजस्व केवल भारत से आता है। यह कंपनियां स्टार्टअप्स में दो तरह से मुनाफा कमाती हैं, पहला मूल्य निर्धारण से और दूसरा उनको जो लाभ होता है। इन ऐप्स को प्रतिबंधित करने से इनका मूल्य निर्धारण तुरंत नीचे आ जाएगा क्योंकि भारत इनके लिए बहुत बड़ा मार्केट है।

पिछले पांच साल में चीनी कंपनियों द्वारा स्टार्टअप्स में करीब 8 बिलियन डॉलर का निवेश किया गया है। भारत पिछले तीन साल में दुनिया में चीन के बाद सबसे ज़्यादा ऐप डाउनलोड करने वाला देश है। चीन मोबाइल ऐप पर 48 बिलियन डॉलर खर्च करता है जिससे चीन 40 प्रतिशत राजस्व प्राप्त करता है। ऐसे में ऐप्स प्रतिबंधित लगाने से चीन को आर्थिक तौर पर झटका तो लगेगा।

और पढ़ें: क्यों यह समाज काले लोगों को सम्मान नहीं दे पाता है?

टिकटॉक के बैन होने से कंपनी को करीब 100 करोड़ के घाटे का अनुमान

अकेले टिकटॉक के बैन होने से ही कंपनी को करीब 100 करोड़ रूपए का घाटा लगने का अनुमान जताया जा रहा है। इस हिसाब से अंदाज़ा लगाया जा सकता है कि चीन को कितना बड़ा नुकसान होने जा रहा है। उधर भारत को इससे यह फायदा है कि भारतीय ऐपों को आगे आने का मौका मिलेगा। भारत में इस तरह के एप्स की कमी नहीं है।

यूजर्स इन चीनी ऐप के विकल्प के तौर पर भारत में पहले से मौजूद ऐप टिकटॉक की जगह चिंगारी एवं रोपोसो, शेयरइट की जगह फाइल्स गो, कैम स्कैनर की जगह एडोब स्कैन, हेलो की जगह शेयर चैट ऐप का इस्तेमाल कर सकते हैं। अगर इन ऐप्स को भारत में बढ़ावा मिलेगा तो यह चीनी ऐपों से भी ज़्यादा बड़े स्तर पर पहुंच सकते हैं।

यह कदम हमारे उद्योगों को मज़बूती प्रदान करेगा। इसके साथ ही साइबर अटैक से निजात दिलाएगा, क्योंकि यह शस्त्र-बल और सेना आक्रमण के समान ही घातक है। यह पूरे देश को आर्थिक तौर पर खत्म कर सकता है। इसके अतिरिक्त भारतीय ऐपों का प्रयोग बड़ी मात्रा में रोज़गार सृजन में भी मदद करेगा।

और पढ़ें: क्यों सिर्फ महिलाओं के लिए ही ज़रूरी हैं शादी के प्रतीकात्मक चिन्ह?

चीनी सामानों के बहिष्कार का भारत पर असर

एक तरफ हम भूमंडलीकृत जगत में सर्वदेशीय (Cosmopolitan) समाज निर्माण की बात कर रहे हैं। जहां एक देश का दूसरे देशों के साथ आर्थिक, सामाजिक, राजनीतिक, सांस्कृतिक और वैचारिक आदान-प्रदान हो रहा है। वहीं, ऐसे में डिजिटल स्ट्राइक का क्या औचित्य है?

बहिष्कार से यह प्रश्न उठने लगा है कि यदि हम चीनी सामान का बहिष्कार करते हैं, तो कहीं हम अपने उद्योगों को तो नुकसान नहीं पंहुचा रहे हैं? अगर हम आर्थिक जगत में चीन पर अपनी निर्भरता को देखें तो वह कहीं ज़्यादा है। इस वास्तविकता को नकारा नहीं जा सकता। जटिल परस्पर निर्भरता वाले विश्व में भारत पर भी इसका असर दिख सकता है।

उदहारण के लिए, दवाइयों में इस्तेमाल होने वाला एपीआई (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) जिससे जैनेरिक ड्रग्स बनते हैं, भारत बहुत बड़ी मात्रा में इसका निर्यात भी करता है। इस निर्यात का करीब 90 प्रतिशत संघटक और दो-तिहाई जेनेरिक ड्रग्स चीन से आता हैं।

भविष्य में ऐसे हालात उत्पन्न हो सकते हैं कि चीन से एपीआई नहीं आने की वजह से भारत से होने वाला जेनेरिक ड्रग्स का निर्यात रुक जाए, क्योंकि हम उदारीकृत और वैश्वीकृत विश्व में जी रहे है। अत: हम सामान का आदान-प्रदान तुरंत नहीं रोक सकते हैं।

इस दिशा में धीरे-धीरे कदम उठाने की आवश्यकता है, क्योंकि कई वस्तुओं पर हमारी इतनी आत्मनिर्भरता नहीं हैं, दूसरा सभी चाइनीज सामानों का विकल्प मौजूद नहीं है।

और पढ़ें: क्यों पलायन कर बिहार के मज़दूरों को जाना पड़ता है राज्य से बाहर?

चीन भी है एप्स पर प्रतिबंध लगाने से चिंतित

ग्लोबल टाइम्स के कई लेखों में भारत से घट रहे व्यापार के प्रति चिंताएं व्यक्त की गई हैं। भले ही चीन लगातार यह कह रहा हो कि व्यापार घटने का भारत को ज़्यादा नुकसान है लेकिन चीन खुद भी डरा हुआ है।

चीनी मीडिया ने माना है कि तनाव के बाद और कोविड-19 के चलते भारत-चीन के बीच होने वाले व्यापार में इस साल 30 प्रतिशत तक की गिरावट दर्ज की जा सकती है। चीन के मुताबिक, कई क्षेत्रों में व्यापार घटने की शुरुआत हो चुकी है जो कि दोनों देशों के लिए महंगा सौदा साबित होने जा रहा है।

इन सब के वाबजूद सरकार ने इस फैसले से जहां चीन को सख्त संदेश दिया है। वहीं, इससे भारत में मोटा मुनाफा कमाते हुए यूजर्स डेटा से खिलवाड़ करने वाली कंपनियों को बड़ा धक्का लगा है।

एप्स को प्रतिबंधित करने के बाद चीन की प्रतिक्रिया सामने आई है। वह अब अंतरराष्ट्रीय कानूनों का हवाला देने लगा है। चीन के विदेश मंत्रालय के प्रवक्ता झाओ लिजीयान ने कहा कि हम इससे चिंतित है और स्थिति का आकलन कर रहे हैं।

अमेरिका में फिर से एक काले व्यक्ति को गोरे लोगों ने मार डाला। यह सुनकर बिल्कुल भी हैरानी नहीं हुई, क्योंकि उस देश में तो क्या इस दुनिया में यह हज़ारों सालो से होता आया है और आगे भी होता रहेगा। नेल्सन मंडेला ने अपनी एक उम्र इसी भेदभाव को खत्म करने में लगा दी थी लेकिन उनके जाने के इतने साल बाद भी यह अब तक खत्म नहीं हो पाया है।

A man holding a poster that says stop killing us during protests over George Floyd's death
प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर, फोटो साभार: गेटी इमेजेज

समाज की मानसिकता में है काले लोगों के लिए घृणा

वह इंसान तो शारीरिक मौत मरा है। अगर मैं बात करूं अपने आस-पास की, तो हम जैसे तमाम लोग ऐसी मानसिक मौत हर रोज़ मरा करते हैं, मगर अफसोस इस मृत्यु को कोई समझ नहीं पाता है। यह मौत पैदा हुए बच्चे को देखकर कहना कि बच्चा काला है से शुरू होती है और बच्चे के ये कहने कि आप मेरे स्कूल मत चलो क्योंकि आप काले हो तक जाती है।

पैदा होने के कुछ वक़्त बाद ही हमें हमारे असली नाम से नहीं बल्कि, कलुआ, कल्लू, कालिया जैसे नामों से बुलाया जाता है। ऐसा नहीं है कि इसमें सिर्फ समाज का ही हाथ है इसमें हमारे माता-पिता की भी भागदारी है, क्योंकि समझ नहीं आता दिन में दस बार साबुन से मुंह धुलने से और महंगे-मंहगे क्रीम पाउडर लगा कर वे किसको और क्या साबित करना चाहते हैं?

स्कूलों से लेकर आम ज़िंदगी तक में होता है भेदभाव

यह सब समाज के इस स्तर पर किया जाता है कि गोरे बच्चों के अंदर भी यह आ जाता है कि वे अच्छे हैं और काले लोग बुरे हैं। स्कूल में ऐसा होता है कि मानो जैसे काला होकर हमने कितना बड़ा पाप कर दिया है।

हमारी भावनाओं और प्रेम की किसी को कद्र नहीं होती और अगर उस प्रेम का इस्तेमाल करने वाला हमें कुछ वक़्त के लिए अपना भी ले, तो वो अपने दोस्तों और रिश्तेदारों से उसे इस तरह छुपाते हैं जैसे मानो उन्हें कोई अछूत की बीमारी लग गई हो।

Black lives Matter
प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

इस दुनिया का एक सबसे बड़ा सत्य यह है कि कुछ गोरे लोग जो यह कहते हैं ना कि उन्हें काले और गोरे से कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता। दरअसल सबसे ज़ादा फर्क इन्हें ही पड़ता है ये लोग हमारे साथ फोटो नहीं खिचवाते हैं। अगर कहीं साथ में कोई फोटो खिंच जाए तो सोशल मीडिया पर लगाने से पहले फोटो में इतने फिल्टर लगाते हैं कि किसी तरह बस हम इनके बराबर दिखने लगे।

जैसे-तैसे इस सब से गुज़र कर खुद को समझा भुजा कर रखते हैं, तो फिर दौर आता है विवाह का। यहां आप अपने काले रंग को दो चीजों से छुपा सकते हैं या तो आपके पास सरकारी नौकरी हो या फिर देने के लिए लाखों का दहेज।

इसके बावजूद भी कई सालों तक आपके कालेपन का एहसास आपको कराया जाता है। दुनिया तो गोल है ही यदि हमारे बच्चे गोरे हुए तो वो वे हमारा मज़ाक उड़ाएंगे और अगर वे काले हुए तो वो भी काले लोगों की तरह लोगो के लिए मज़ाक बनकर रह जाएंगे।

काले लोगों को कम आंकने की कोई ठोस वजह है क्या?

मेरा इन मज़ाक उड़ाने वालों से और भेदभाव करने वालो से सिर्फ एक सवाल है जब एक सिक्के के दो पहलू होते है जिनके रंग रूप अलग-अलग होते हैं, जब उस सिक्के की कीमत कम नहीं होती, तो फिर हम काले लोगों की कीमत कैसे कम हो जाती है ?

जब दिन की भाग दौड़ के बाद आराम का मौका काली रात में ही मिलता है जब उस काली रात का महत्व कम नहीं होता तो फिर हम काले लोगों का महत्व कम कैसे हो जाता है?

हर दिन भारत कोरोना संक्रमण की नई-नई ऊंचाइयों को छू रहा है। जहां पहले लगा था कि शायद कुछ महीनों के बाद कोरोना तबाही मचाना कम करेगा, वहीं अब कोरोना के मामले भारत में थमने का नाम ही नहीं ले रहे हैं।

अब तो ऐसा प्रतीत होता है जैसे प्रतिदिन कोरोना के आंकड़े शिखर को छूने लगे हैं।

कोरोना की रोकथाम के लिए ठोस कदम क्यों नहीं उठाए जा रहे हैं?

इस बीच सबसे बड़ा सवाल तो यह उठता है कि जब कोरोना का संक्रमण इस कदर हावी हो रहा है, तो ऐसे वक्त में इसके रोकथाम के लिए ठोस कदम क्यों नहीं उठाए जा रहे हैं? आज भी इतने लोग बिना मास्क के सरेआम बेलगाम होकर क्यों घूम रहे हैं?

प्रशासन द्वारा मास्क पहनना अनिवार्य क्यों नहीं किया जा रहा है? आखिरकार, ऐसे सख्त कदम कयों नहीं उठाए जा रहे हैं जिसके चलते लोग बिना मास्क के घर से बाहर निकलने के पहले भी 100 बार सोचें? आखिरकार इस अहम पहलू पर सख्ती क्यों नहीं बरती जा रही है?

इतनी लापरवाही क्यों?

बगैर मास्क पहने बस में यात्रा करते यात्री।

इस बात से तो सब अच्छी तरह से रुबरु हैं कि ऐसे समय में मास्क पहनना कितना अनिवार्य है मगर जानने के बाद भी आखिर लोग ऐसी लापरवाही क्यों कर रहे हैं? क्या इस बात से वे बेखबर हैं कि मास्क ना पहनने से सिर्फ उन पर ही संक्रमण का खतरा नहीं है, बल्कि उनकी वजह से दूसरों पर भी खतरा मंडराता है।

जब भी बाहर जाती हूं तो ना जाने ऐसे कितने लोग दिख जाते हैं, जो बिना मास्क के ही भीड़-भाड़ में ऐसे घूमते हैं जैसे दुनिया में कोरोना अब है ही नहीं! शहर के अधिकांश लोग अब मास्क नहीं लगाते हैं।

अभी हाल ही में अखबार में देखा कि दिल्ली के एक इलाके में लोग बिना मास्क के बेबाकी से घूम रहे हैं। यह एक ऐसी महामारी है जिसमें संक्रमण से नुकसान सिर्फ आपको नहीं होता है, बल्कि आपकी किसी भी तरीके की नासमझी से आपके परिवार वालों को भी कोरोना की गिरफ्त में आना पड़ सकता है।

और पढ़ें: पटना की एक शादी में 111 लोग पाए गए कोरोना पॉजिटिव, दूल्हे की हो गई मौत

एक छोटी सी चूक की वजह से आपको कोरोना दबोच सकता है। यह जानने के बाद भी आखिर क्यों आप मुसीबत को गले लगाने के लिए तैयार हैं?

खुद को सतर्क रखना बेहद ज़रूरी

बाहर जाते वक्त अगर हर कोई मास्क लगाकर जाना आरंभ कर दे तो कोरोना के संक्रमण को काफी हद तक रोका जा सकता है। इससे काफी लोगों की जान भी बच सकती है। कोरोना के जितने कम मामले होंगे, देश की आर्थिक स्थिति भी इससे ठीक रहेगी।

खुद के लिए, अपने परिजनों के लिए और अपने देश के वास्ते खुद को सतर्क रखें। अपने आप से वादा कीजिए कि कहीं भी बाहर जाएं तो मास्क के बिना हरगिज़ ना जाएं। आपके एक छोटे कदम से बड़ा बदलाव आ सकता है, इस बात को सदैव याद रखें।

The coronavirus pandemic has completely devastated the world economy, and thereby, the livelihood of millions. A multiple number of measures implemented by almost all the countries to contain the spread of COVID-19, such as total lockdown, have affected the supply chain, resulting in a global economic recession. While trying to contain the rapid spread of the virus, the countries simultaneously are also working on strategies for post-lockdown recovery.

The question on how to reduce the vulnerability of people of poor-income groups to coronavirus shocks is at the centrestage of debates and discussions today. Some lessons must be drawn from the experience of COVID-19 pandemic to enhance livelihood in a sustainable manner in the post-coronavirus future. The coronavirus negatively affects livelihood assets of communities that are already insecure.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defines a sustainable livelihood (SL) based on capabilities, assets (both material and social resources) and activities required for living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, both now and in the future, while not undermining natural resource bases. In recent years, a substantial range of work has been carried by academics and researchers of diverse fields in order to enlighten people about the potential of sustainable livelihood. We have also witnessed international organisations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other I-NGOs taking considerable steps to encourage people to practice sustainable forms of livelihood.

In context to Assam, the oil well explosion in Baghjan has added more fuel to the already worse situation as a result of coronavirus shock. According to an ecology expert, the Baghjan gas well fire is “set to” and has already triggered a local livelihood crisis. This has again flared up the “Environment vs Development” debate across all the quarters. The COVID-19 pandemic and tragedies such as Baghjan have made us aware that our development needs to be in accordance with environment and ecology. Policies must be introduced to create an ecosystem for sustainable businesses and sustainable livelihood practices to flourish.

In our state and also in rest of North-East India, there has been an increasing trend of out-migration to the rest of India for low-paying and manual jobs, leaving traditional community livelihood practices or being self-employed in the home state here. For instance, the community livelihood practices of ‘japi’ making clusters in Nalbari district or bamboo-based artisanship and pottery making (Salmara) in Majuli or other parts of Assam are in existential threat with youth being uninterested in these professions.

Alternatively speaking, these professions are essential not only for the sake of tradition, but they also serve the purpose of sustainable livelihood. What we miss in the big picture is that with technical market assessment and market linkages of the products, it promises a profitable revenue generation. Most importantly, these livelihood practices involve both men and women as they are home-based composing an inclusive system.

Bamboo traditional work
Alternatively speaking, these professions are essential not only for the sake of tradition, but they also serve the purpose of sustainable livelihood.

However, in contemporary times, any livelihood practice without skill-based dimension to it is an archaic tradition. Thus, vocational training centres should be established in the nook and corners of the region and popularized thereafter. According to a report published by Columbia University on “Youth and Sustainable Livelihoods,” more than a decade back (2008), “It (vocational training) is at the crossroads of economic recovery, education and rehabilitation and reintegration, and can be a key component of development, a method for upgrading the labour force and a factor in the holistic development of youth. Effective VT can provide skills for both agricultural and nonagricultural livelihoods, and for employment and self-employment.”

Therefore, precise information on market realities will advance the abilities of beneficiaries of vocational training to access sustainable livelihood opportunities. It would be unjustified to not mention the welfare-oriented policies of the government with regard to livelihood generation and skill development but what lacks in this is the fact that bureaucratic irregularities and failure of not locating market linkage mechanisms. This is the time of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model where such initiatives are funded by both government agencies and CSRs. Our state needs to explore such possibilities with tremendous effort for the livelihood of local people generated by the local people themselves.

Also read: Fire, Floods And A Pandemic: Assam Is Submerged In Crisis

Assam is yet to explore its authentic potential of bamboo cultivation. Assam is one of the largest bamboo-producing states in India, with bamboo being an integral part of our indigenous culture, social life and local economy.

In December 2019, while participating in research to assess the scope of bamboo cultivation and bamboo-based industries at ‘saporis’ of Majuli, we found that most of the bamboo produce gets wasted as there is no livelihood aspect associated with it. Bamboo cultivation with an economic dimension is not only a sustainable livelihood method but also creates better ecological conditions, particularly in river islands such as Majuli. In short, there remains a vast untapped resource of bamboo that can open scope and possibility for utilization for many productive jobs.

Additionally, with a range of artisans engaged in traditional craftwork of bamboo-based cultural artefacts, there is another reason for potential extensive bamboo cultivation. Majuli is one of the tourism hotspots in North-East India with a reputable record of attracting domestic and global tourists. Thus, a potential wide presence of market in the place of bamboo-based products such as bamboo baskets, bamboo mats, bamboo hats, fishing rods, tent poles, cordage, ladders, hand-fans and indigenous products such as leaf headgear, musical instruments and various domestic crafts would be another supplement to the other attract tourists in Majuli.

Along the lines of tourism, as a state, we need to invest our efforts in eco-cultural tourism in post-COVID Assam. It is a concept in which ecological and cultural aspects of a landscape are combined to create a site for tourism. Sustainability and participation of local communities are decisive in this approach of tourism. A central element to the success of eco-cultural tourism practised elsewhere in the world is local control in the planning, development and maintenance of the tourist sites.

The state of Assam is inhabited by multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious groups with around 115 ethnic groups and 18 major tribes. It is observed that most of these groups have their own sets of lifestyle, food habits and local drinks. ‘Eco’ comes in as most of these indigenous communities are located around ecological hotspots. For instance, there are four major ethnic communities in Kaziranga namely, Mising, Karbi, Tea tribes and Assamese-speaking caste groups or the Tai Phake community in Namphake village near Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary. Thus, Assam provides a great scope to strengthen eco-cultural tourism.

In order to assess the possible extent of eco-cultural tourism, we approached Abhishek Chakravarty, a well-known law academic and development professional specialised in the environment. Mr Chakravarty said:

“ Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park so far have been able to prove the possibility of eco-cultural tourism model in Assam. Efforts must be doubled to explore its true potential. If Maguri- Motapung Beel situated near Baghjan and Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is given the status of protected area/ bird sanctuary with ample promotion of tourism; it will open up wide opportunities for sustainable tourism projects for local communities. The sustainable tourism-based livelihood  can be in the range of local guides, craftsmanship in traditional artefacts, increase in the numbers of homestays etc.”

With more than a million people returning to the state, it is high time to explore diverse livelihood measures and enhance our traditional community livelihoods.

In conclusion, it is the need of the hour to start a dialogue on the possibilities of sustainable livelihood practices in Assam. With more than a million people returning to the state, it is high time to explore diverse livelihood measures and enhance our traditional community livelihoods. However, the process of livelihood generation must be in conformity to environment and ecology for maintaining sustainability.

The article is co-authored with Nazib Sohail, a postgraduate student of Peace & Conflict Studies (PaCs) at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati. His interest areas areas Religion, Politics, Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Transformation, Identity and Environment Conservation.

Also read: The Story Of How Bhupen Hazarika’s Tele-Films ‘Miri Jiyori’ And ‘Assam’ Came To Be

बिहार के इस चुनावी साल में सबसे बड़ा मुद्दा अगर कुछ है, तो वो है रोज़गार। रोज़गार के बारे में 60 के दशक में भोजपुरी के ‘शेक्सपियर’ कहे जाने वाले भिखारी ठाकुर ने एक अल्फाज़ दिया था। यह आज के समय में भी में काफी प्रसिद्ध है, “लागल झूलनियां के धक्का बलम गईलें कलकत्ता।”

यह शब्द उस समय के हैं, जब बिहार का श्रमिक समाज अपना पेट पालने के लिए कलकत्ता के चटकल फैक्ट्री और झरियां के कोईलवरी में जाया करता था। इससे पता चलता है कि इस राज्य में कई वर्षों से पलायन होता आ रहा है।

migrant labourers
परेशान मज़दूर, प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

पलायन रोकने में नकाम रही हैं सरकारें

बिहार की लगभग सभी सरकारें चाहे वो पिछली सरकार हो या वर्तमान सरकार सभी ने बिहारियों को पलायन रोकने के नाम पर ठगा ही है। बुद्धिजीवियों के एक समाज का मानना यह भी है कि राज्य में नदियों का जाल है और यहां बड़े पैमाने पर बंजर जमीन भी है। इसलिए यहां उद्योग लगाए जा सकते हैं। इसके अलावा लघु उद्योगों को प्रोत्साहित कर बड़े पैमाने पर रोज़गार भी मुहैया कराया जा सकता है।

अभी कुछ दिनों पहले एक खबर छपी थी कि राज्य के खगड़िया ज़िले के रहने वाले 300 मजदूरों को राइस मील में काम करने के लिए तेलंगाना के लिंगमपल्ली जाना पड़ा। जबकि बिहार में धान की पैदावार (लगभग 5.5 से 7.0 टन प्रति हेक्टेयर) काफी अधिक होती है।

और पढ़ें: रेलवे के निजीकरण से जनता को क्या नफा-नुकसान होगा?

क्यों जाना पड़ता है बिहार के मज़दूरों को राज्य से बाहर

राज्य के कई ज़िले जैसे कि रोहतास, पूर्णिया, कटिहार ज़िले को ‘धान का कटोरा’ कहा जाता है, अब ऐसे में सवाल यह उठता है कि फिर क्यों बिहार के मज़दूरों को अपना गृह राज्य छोड़कर काम के लिए किसी दूसरे राज्यों में जाना पड़ता है?

राज्य में राइस मिल चलाने वाले लोगों का मानना है कि बिहार सरकार कभी नहीं सोचती कि बिहार के ही पीडीएस में लगने वाला चावल यदि यहीं के राइस मीलों से लिया जाए, तो सिर्फ बिहार के ही राइस मिल अपने राज्य के प्रत्यक्ष रूप से 5 लाख मज़दूर और अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से 10 लाख लोगों को रोज़गार दे सकते है।

इस पर कभी राज्य सरकार का ध्यान नहीं जाता और लोग मज़बूर होकर दूसरे राज्यों में जाकर रोज़गार के तलाश में भटकते रहते हैं। ध्यान देने वाली बात है कि अभी राज्य सरकार पीडीएस में लगने वाले चावल का मात्र 20% ही राज्य के राइस मीलों से लेती है और बाकी का चावल दूसरे राज्यों से मांगती है।

migrant workers
परेशान गरीब मज़दूर

कोरोना काल में वापस आए लोग फिर से होंगे पलायन करने को मज़बूर

एक सरकारी आंकड़े के मुताबिक कोरोना काल में राज्य में लगभग 30 लाख मज़दूरों ने पलायन कर घर वापसी की है। अभी भी कम संख्या में ही सही पर कामगार मज़दूर राज्य छोड़ बिदेसिया बन दूसरे राज्य में टिके हुए हैं।

सरकार लाख दावा कर ले कि हम कामगार मज़दूरों को रोज़गार मुहैया कराएगें, मगर एक सच्चाई यह भी है कि यहां के सरकारी बाबू एक तो समय पर काम नहीं देते हैं और दूसरा यह कि जो काम देंगे भी उसपर उनका अपना कमीशन होता है।

कोरोना काल खत्म होने के बाद यह तय है कि पलायन फिर से होगा। अब ज़रा सोचिए अगर राज्य में ही लघु उद्योगों को बढ़ावा दिया जाए, राइस मिल को बढ़ावा दिया जाए, तो शायद बिहार भी सोने की चिड़िया बन सकता है।

TW: Mention of suicide.

Since the arrival of the pandemic and the outset of the lockdown, we have been noticing some new adaptations.

Right now, we’re witnessing a ‘new normal’. A new set of guidelines have been given for us to follow in every sphere of life. Rules and regulations have been tremendously changed. Most of the things have gone online

In this new world of digitization, regular classes have been transformed into online classes. It sounds cool; our wards are attending online classes. Different online courses have also been made available free of cost for not only students but also for elders to pass the time fruitfully. Many have also acquired knowledge about different subjects and adopted skills by learning online.

Girl students in a class sit facing a teacher who is writing on the backboard
How can we expect these schools to provide a proper online platform where the students can be taught? For representation only.

Everything is easy up to this. Private schools and colleges are running their classes on the Zoom App. However, this seems to be the smooth surface of this whole scenario. Beneath this, there lies a bitter truth. How many of us have thought about government schools? They hardly have computer rooms or science laboratories. How can we expect these schools to provide a proper online platform where the students can be taught?

Most underprivileged students attend these schools. They can hardly afford a smartphone. On top of that, it’s impossible for them to think about activating a net pack on their phones.

Net packs also do not come in handy. Government schools merely open a WhatsApp group and share some study material on it in the name ofonline classes. They absolutely don’t bother to check the number of participants in the group and, hence, attendance is poor, unlike in private schools.

No follow up calls are made by them. But, they’re also not to be blamed because most students can’t afford a phone. Even if they do, regularity can’t be maintained.

Most have been hit hard by this pandemic because of poverty. In these times of distress, they cannot ask for money for a net pack when their top priority is to feed themselves. In order to feed the family, children are often seen helping their parents these days. The parents being mostly poor might not get the idea of online classes and, therefore, ask for a helping hand.

In these times of distress, they cannot ask for money for a net pack when their top priority is to feed themselves. Representational image.

The whole situation of online classes is very chaotic in rural and poor areas. Network connectivity is also an issue.

We don’t know how long this ‘new normal’ is going to prevail, but children are seriously facing a lot of problems. The situation has gone so bad that some have come to the point of taking their own lives

Recently, a 15-year-old class 10 student in Chirang district of Western Assam had allegedly decided to take his own life because his father was unable to provide him with a smartphone. Many cases like these go unreported.

I strongly feel that this situation has been overlooked ever since the Coronavirus crisis started. It’s high time the concerned authorities take proper action before it’s too late.

Also read: “Can’t Afford A Smartphone”: Online Classes Are A Distant Dream For Most 
Featured image for representation only.
Slum
Inhabited primarily by impoverished people, according to the census of 2011, India is home to more than 65 million slum dwellers living across the country.

A slum is a highly populated urban residential area consisting of tightly-packed old housing units in a situation of deteriorated and incomplete infrastructure. Inhabited primarily by impoverished people, according to the census of 2011, India is home to more than 65 million slum dwellers living across the country. As per the Handbook of Urban Statistics, 2019, published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, 29.4% of India’s population represent the poorest of the urban poor living in slums. The growth of slums is highest in the five states with the highest urban populations — Maharasthra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Dharavi Model

Dharavi in Mumbai city is spread across 175 hectares, housing almost a million people. About 70% of the population is Hindu and the rest Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc. With an economy of $1 billion per year, the district has an estimated 5000 businesses and 15,000 single-room factories. Dharavi houses a number of industries like recycling, making clay pots, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, papad (poppadom) making and many others.

Though most of the goods produced are sold in the Indian markets without a brand name, many of these like embroidered clothes, clay pots, etc. are exported worldwide. In addition to the traditional pottery and textile industries in Dharavi, there is an increasingly large recycling industry, processing recyclable waste from other parts of Mumbai. Around 80% of Mumbai’s garbage is recycled at the Dharavi recycling industry.

The people living in Dharavi are known to have migrated from various regions of India. The leather tanners in this area are the local Maharashtrians and from Tamil Nadu (including Tamil Muslims), the potters from Gujarat, the embroiders from north India, etc. In terms of its enterprise industry, Dharavi surprisingly utilizes its resources and space; approximately 85% of the population is locally employed.

The most dominant industry in Dharavi is the leather industry. This industry employs thousands of people living in these slums and has an approximate turnover of ₹120 million. Manufacturers from Dharavi are known to export cheap, but pure leather goods, to many European and Middle Eastern Countries.

People of Dharavi are used to seeing tourists and do not mind being observed. They understand and appreciate that the tourism enterprise benefits their community. A tourist agency, known as ‘Reality Tours’, even specializes in conducting these tours for Indian and Foreign Nationals.

Also read: Review: Does ‘Gully Boy’ Portray The Realities Of Dharavi Wrong?

Ways Of Empowerment:

  • The slum dwelling community is largely recognized as unorganized labour. They do not have any union to provide them bargaining power. Due to lack of government documents like Voter card, Aadhaar card and Ration card, the socio-economic inclusion of slum dwellers does not happen. Bank accounts also cannot be opened without these identity documents from the government. Hence, the strategy of acquirement of government documents in a systematic approach should be implemented for ensuring socio-economic and financial inclusion of the slum dwellers.
  • There is a need for exploring alternative livelihood options, especially for the women. Probable challenges like a lack of skills and market opportunities while assessing other viable livelihood options are faced by the slum dwellers. In this case, expert livelihood promotion organizations should be involved for doing need assessments, market studies/viability assessments, including assessments of the perception/mindset and aspirations of the slum dwellers towards alternative livelihood and designing the said programs accordingly.
  • Geographical mapping of corporate offices to plan the mobility of particular groups of rag-pickers would be an important strategy to make it financially viable, that is to bear the infrastructural costs like transport, etc. for collecting waste from a certain area. This would definitely yield more revenue than just collecting from one office per visit. If one giant corporate is tapped on, then attempts could be made at mobilizing other smaller firms and offices in and around that location to increase the amount of waste per visit to the area. Apart from the corporate offices, linkage can also be established with Residential Complexes, Multi-Storied apartments, Commercial Complexes including shopping malls (these are increasing fast and thus a potential source of waste collection, till the time compactor machines enter these places), parks, tourist places and other public places.
  • Both children and adult education needs to be promoted. Exploration of alternative education needs to be undertaken through open education system, closely working with ICDS and government schools, etc. There is a need to closely work with the schools and SMC on Right to Education and Quality of Education.
  • The strategy to mainstream all drop outs and enroll out of school children is a necessary strategy. Informal coaching centers are effective institutional establishments, because they prepare the children for formal schools and ensure that they do not drop out once enrolled by providing them additional support free of cost. The capacity of the education centers needs to be increased by identifying places/increasing number of teachers/increasing number of batches.
  • Other means like training programs, group activities, street plays could be explored to develop their leadership qualities and communication skills. The adolescents could be entrusted with a more active role in spreading awareness and advocate for child rights in the community. Most importantly a sense of value addition to their own community needs to be developed among the adolescent groups.
  • Awareness generation and referral services through health camps need to be practiced. However, health camps should be continued only with the support of the government and other NGOs. They should also make steady efforts towards increasing the rate of immunization in the slum communities.
Also read: From Dharavi’s Slums To International Ballrooms: A Film On Jameel’s ‘Dancing Shoes’

India has seen a significant increase in the enrollment of students in higher education. As per the latest AISHE 2018-19 reports, Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER ) was 26.3, indicating 26.3% of the population of 18-23 age group enrolled in higher education. The GER was 11.6 in 2005-06.

The question arises whether these changes have been inclusive or have they widened the gaps, especially based on caste? How much population of SC-ST communities have access to higher education in today’s era? Have Dalits got similar access to colleges like the rest of the Indians in higher education? What is the state-wise scenario in this regard? How much is the difference between overall enrollment % and Dalits enrollments % across India and in states too? We will try to analyze the data in this regard.

There is no doubt the representation of students belonging to the SC-ST communities has increased. In 2005-06, the GER of SC and ST category population was a mere 8.4 and 6.6 respectively. It has now increased to 23 for the SC and 17.20 for the ST community. Let’s look at the ‘Representation Gap’, defined as a gap percentage of the category enrollment ratio to the overall enrollment ratio (=(Category GER-Overall GER)*100/Overall GER).

Graph by author. Data from AISHE Report 2018-19.

In 2005-06, the representation of the SC category was lagging by 27.59% to overall enrollment, this gap reduced to 12.55% in 2018-19. Reduction in the representation gap also happened for the ST community, but it is less, it was lagging by 43.1 in 2005-06 and now it is lagging by 34.6%. Reservation seems to have helped in reducing the gap for SCs but had not helped much for tribes.

Let’s look at the state-wise scenario. Among poor-performing states, J&K tops as here SC category GER is 32.04%  less than overall GER in Higher Education. Haryana, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, West Bengal, capital Delhi, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, all of these sates have at least 25% lower representation of SC community than overall population among 18-23 age group in Higher group.  Surprisingly, this gap is less in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra are near to close this gap while  Assam, Manipur, and Gujrat have a positive gap.

Graph by author. Data from AISHE Report 2018-19

Now, let’s look at the representation gap in one of the most ignored communities: Scheduled Tribes, who mostly live in close and isolated environments, often known as Adivasi. People from the Scheduled Tribes, in most of the states, have very little access to colleges or universities in comparison to total population of the state among the 18-23 age group of respective states. At all-India level, their access to higher education is one-third (34.6%) less than the total population.

Graph by author. Data from AISHE Report 2018-19

Maharashtra has the widest representation gap for tribes. Enrollment ratio of tribes in Higher education is 52.5%(more than half) less of the overall enrollment ratio in the state. The huge gap across most of the states solidifies the poor situation tribes in terms of access to higher education. People of ST communities are very less represented in Higher education in bigger states like, West Bengal, MP, Odisha, Karnataka in comparison to the total enrollment ratio of the 18-23 age group. UP and Bihar do have a positive gap in comparison to the total enrollment ratio in the state.

Tribes need to be given more attention by policymakers, educators, governments, so that they can be brought to higher education to realize the meaning of #DalitLivesMatters. While education is the key to their upliftment, they are very under-represented.

Considering the insights given above, what do you think? Do you think reservation has played a key role in increasing representation in education, do we need further reforms to achieve equal representation?

Created by SP Annotate

Has reservation helped in reducing the gap so far?

There is a big difference among states regarding the ‘Representation Gap’. Tell us about your state and the probable reason for that in the comments section.

Note: Values of Gross Enrollment Ratio have been taken from the AISHE 2018-19 report released by MHRD, Govt of India.

Also read: Our Selective Activism: “When Will Dalit Lives Begin To Matter In India?”

A picture of dogs tied and kept in sacks in a market claiming to be from Dimapur, Nagaland surfaced on social media platforms. As a necessary corollary, concerned animal lovers/animal rights activists went on a spree, signing petitions and sending e-mails to the Government of Nagaland requesting an outright ban of dog meat in the state.

Owing to this pressure from the mainstream media Sri Temjen Toy, Chief secretary to the state of Nagaland took to Twitter to announce that “The state government has decided to ban the commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked,” on the 3rd of July 2020.

And, while the ‘mainland’ animal lovers/animals rights activists celebrate this as a victory for their fight against animal cruelty, they failed to see into account the larger consequences of their demand. The Nagas, on the other hand, raised their concerns regarding ‘outsiders’ meddling in the local issue.

The Nagas are known to have unique food choices which are different and unlike any other state in mainland India, and we take pride in the diversity of delicacies we indulge ourselves in. The consumption of dog meat in our cuisine is prevalent but not favoured by all Nagas.

The Nagas comprises of 16 major tribes and many more sub-tribes, and each tribe has different culinary choices. So, it is difficult to attribute one tribe to this delicacy but it is to be noted that a very minuscule percentage of the population in Nagaland consumed dog meat in today’s time.

Food means different things to different people and for the Nagas, dog meat is believed to have great ‘medicinal’ value. Traditionally, dog meat is cooked and served to the men who’ve returned from wars to help them in a speedy recovery. Dog-bone marrow soup is fed to women who are recovering after giving birth because it is believed to have high nutritional value, and such is how dog meat continue to find space in Naga kitchens among the ‘exotic’ delicacies the tribes of the state has to offer.

While this is a cultural significance of the meat, it is also important to understand the socio-economic aspect of how this controversial food fits into the ‘modern’ Naga society. As mentioned above, currently there exists a very small number of people who still continue to consume dog meat.

As a result of globalization, and the flourishing of Eurocentric food businesses in the Naga communities, the Naga palate has also transformed over the years and we’ve found alternatives to meet the demands of our nutrition intake. But, dog meat still remains one of the most easily accessible and cost-efficient meat, as compared to wildly consumed pork and beef, for which prices surge every now and then.

While dog meat can be bought for ₹200/kg, pork and beef meat prices are ₹350 and ₹450 respectively. And hence, the ban on the consumption of dog meat will hit the poor and vulnerable disproportionately. As much as dog meat indicates the social structure and economy of the state, it has more cultural significance for the Nagas.

Image credit: Getty Images

Now, one may wonder that if the choice of meat in question here is rooted in the history and cultural practices of the Nagas, then how was the state government able to come into consensus to ban commercialisation of dog meat in Nagaland in a matter of two days?

The answer to that question is evident, that it is due to the pressure that the government received from the mainstream media and animal rights activists from different parts of the country, in the form of social media outrage. This sadly proves that time and again the ‘Mainland’ has failed to understand and respect the culture and traditions of the Native and Indigenous people from the North-east.

Food is more than what meets our palate. Food is devotion for some, a way of life for others, and for many, it is their identity. So, to take our food away from us would mean erasing our culture and our very existence.

We need to be able to locate intersectionality between animal rights activism and rights of indigenous people to preserve and protect their culture and traditions. One needs to understand that advocating against animal cruelty is one thing and policing the food choices of native and indigenous people is another.

It is disappointing to see that just a few weeks ago India was applauding the movie Axone for representing the plight of the North-eastern youth living in the metropolitan cities of the ‘Mainland’ India. The movie revolved around food politics, and how a group of youth from the North-East struggle to cook a dish, which becomes a problem because of the strong aroma the dish produces. It is an unpleasant smell for the nose of mainlanders, and today you’ve managed to impose this idea of what is the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ kind of food in our homes.

But, as we celebrate this as a victory, there arise some important questions that need to be answered.

Nagaland is known to be home to wide varieties of meat delicacies then why is the outrage limited just to dog meat? The Nagas have been known to consume dog meat for time immemorial now, then, why did we choose this time to cry for justice for ‘man’s best friend’, just a day after the central government decided to extend the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) by another 6 months and declared the whole of the state as a “disturbed area“. Perhaps the timing can be coincidental and this analogy could be presumptuous but I feel it definitely leaves room for doubts.

The ban on dog meat itself does not assure that the community of people who have been consuming it for all this while, despite the stigma attached to it, will stop its consumption abruptly. Instead, it may possibly lead to the creation of more unethical practices to sell and procure the meat through illegal means, like the black market.

Representational image.

 

This will have a huge impact on people with lower income, who depend on dog meat to meet their nutritional needs. Also, in the absence of regulation of these ‘illegal’ markets, the animals may be subjected to more cruelty.

Not forgetting to mention how this public outcry has strengthened the stereotypes about people from the North-East being ‘savages’ and ‘uncivilised’ because we do not adhere to the ‘norms’ of the mainland.

We cannot tell if the delicacy would continue to be cooked in the private kitchens of Naga homes, but animal lovers and animal rights activists sure need to be clear on their objectives, because pushing of banning of dog meat in Nagaland wasn’t animal rights activism.

It was selective outrage coded with racism, ignorance, and an outright attack on the identity of the indigenous people of Nagaland.

Non-consumption of meat has nothing to do with the love for animals, just like consumption of meat doesn’t imply that one is ‘barbaric’ or ‘savage’.

And, it is better the ‘mainland’ does not impose their moral ‘standard’ and brahmanical diet on indigenous people who have had better, and more sustainable, food practices than the rest of the country.

And, since we’ve established that this is not animal rights activism and rather, is selective outrage backed by the question of morality, we might as well leave this choice to individuals to choose for themselves, and not impose our beliefs on someone else.

Also read: “The COVID-19 Outbreak Is Just An Excuse To Discriminate Against Us.”
Featured image for representation only.
Featured image source: Better India and Facebook.

As lockdown continues to remain in force in containment zones, and schools and colleges closed until July 31st, the government issued fresh new guidelines for Unlock 2.0, bringing some respite in restrictions for the public. While India is gradually reopening, COVID-19 is fiercely still raging across the country, whether it is in terms of the rise in the number of cases or casualties. Malls, religious places, restaurants have reopened and are awaiting their usual hustle and bustle along with a relaxation in the curfew time, but the easing of restrictions does not interpret that the threat has passed.

It is now more crucial than ever as restrictions begin to relax to practice and maintain good hygiene, to practice social distancing, maintain respiratory precaution and build a healthy immunity. Another healthy way to fight this pandemic is by keeping yourself and your surroundings well-informed and educated about the government guidelines and information on coronavirus.

We’re curious to know how closely you’ve been following the Government’s Unlock guidelines and how much correct information do you really hold. Take this quiz to find out how well you score on the Unlocking India metre. Don’t forget to share your results with us by tagging us on your social media handles and challenge your friends and family for a perfect score!

How have you been coping with the pandemic? Join #ReimagineTogether, a campaign to spark conversations for a better, safer post-pandemic future and publish your story today!

These 41 coal mines are in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.

Dissenting arguments on the auction of 41 coal mines by state governments, coal unions, youth groups and environmentalists are worth contemplating upon.

What Is The Concern?

On June 18, 2020, the government announced the auctioning of 41 coal blocks to private companies for first-ever commercial mining. Big players like metal, power and cement producers are expected to participate in the bidding process for large mines. These 41 coal mines are in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha. This includes 16 aspirational districts and eco-sensitive areas with dense forests, pristine coal reserves, and tribal and forest dwellers.

The mining decision is facing denunciation by the governments of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Out of the three auctioned coal mines of Maharashtra, Bander coal block has the highest ecological sensitivity. Bander coal mine is only 7-9 km away from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Forest clearances for coal mining around TATR, over 20 years, have fragmented the forest corridors of tigers, heavily interrupting the movement of animals.

Chhattisgarh government has pleaded the center to exempt auctioning of coal blocks around two prime rivers, Hasdeo and Mand. The 1995-sq-km area adjacent to Hasdeo River is a proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve. Mining activities around the Reserve will accentuate the ongoing man-elephant conflicts in the region. Out of 41 coal mines, 9 in each state—Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, are opened for the auction. Around 8,000-10,000 tribal families fear displacement in each of the three states.

Proposed Bander Coal Block / Source: TOI

Lacking Strong Commitments For Sensitive Zones

From 2007 to August 2011, the government granted environment clearance (EC) to 181 coal mines and forest clearance (FC) to 113 coal mining projects. This diverted 26,000 ha of forest area to coal mining alone. Crucially, to counter-act diversion of forests land into coal mining, in 2010, MoEF and Ministry of Coal (MoC) jointly classified coal blocks into “NO-GO” and “GO” categories. The “GO” category demarcated the fragmented forest landscapes. While, the “NO-GO” category included rich forest covers comprising 30% of the rich coal blocks, barring mining operations. Industrial lobbies—steel, power, and coal sectors, resisted this.

July 2012, MoEF report suggested identifying inviolate forest areas to protect. Inviolate forests are unique and ecologically valuable where damage from mining is irreversible. The report did not find favor of ministries like coal. In November 2014, a high-level committee of MoEFCC also recommended identification of “NO-GO” areas in normal and inviolate forests areas. Currently in 2020, out of 41 auctioning coal blocks, five blocks of Chhattisgarh come under “NO-GO” areas and are inviolate forests.

Also read: Corporate Greed For Coal Is Threatening To Destroy Adivasi Livelihoods In Chhattisgarh

Despite time to time recommendations, till now no policy exists on the protection of inviolate forests.

How The EIA Notification 2020 supports coal mining

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020 is set to replace existing EIA, 2006, changing 12 out of its 14 clauses.

1. Strategic reduction in Public hearing

The draft faced criticism for expediting the process of granting environment clearance to industries by reducing the public hearing period.

Projects under category ‘A’ or ‘B1’ pass through environment clearance process.

Coal mining projects with area up to 100 hectare falls in ‘B1’ category, while mining area greater than 100 hectares falls in ‘A’ category. Since coal mining projects fall under both ‘A’ and ‘B1’ categories, hence coal mining projects require environment clearance.

The EIA process involves a scientific assessment of the project. Consequently, the prepared EIA report is opened for a public hearing to suggest or object the proposed draft. Outcomes from the public hearing and detailed scrutiny decide whether to grant or reject environmental clearance to a project. Tightening the slot, 2020 notification reduces public hearing period from 30 days to 20 days.

Expanding areas of coal mining projects without a public hearing has been a strategic process ever since 2012. In December 2012, coal mining projects expanding their capacity by 25% were exempted from public hearings on the pretext of already given environment clearance. In January 2014, the projects with production capacity up to 8 MTPA tending to expand up to 50% were exempted from public hearings.

A young boy in Jharkhand mines / Source: National Geographic

2. Moving development closer to ecologically fragile areas

Coke is prepared by destructive distillation of coal in coke ovens, emitting hazardous substances. In 2006 EIA notification, coke oven plants with annual production greater than 2.5 lakh tones were included in Category ‘A’. The 2020 EIA notification draft raised the qualifying production limit of plants to 8 lakh tonnes per annum to fall in Category ‘A’. From 2006 to 2020, 3.2 times increase in the qualifying parameter is a clear indication of profuse upcoming increment in coke productions.

In 2016, coke-making industries were listed in the Red category and not permitted in protected or ecologically sensitive areas. According to the 2006 EIA Draft, any ‘B’ category project will shift to ‘A’ category if it is located within 10 km from the boundary of protected or eco-sensitive areas. But 2020 EIA notification draft reduced this 10 km to 5 km. This implies projects like coke oven plants can open within 5 km from the boundary of protected areas, with a central appraisal.

Coal Import Or Extraction: None Is Cheaper

India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world. It emerged as the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of thermal coal. India generates 70% of its electricity from coal-fired power plants. Coal power plants have hazardous consequences, like large emissions, acid rain, water and air quality degradation, biodiversity loss and health implications.

Coal in India has been mined since 1774 at the second-fastest pace in the world. The energy demand grew and domestic coal ran short, leaving India either to import coal or expand mining.

Today, India is world’s second largest importer of coal. This is primarily because Indian coal has a lower gross calorific value and higher ash content compared to the international coal; this reduces heat liberation during coal combustion and releases higher pollutants. Costlier imported coal is India’s worry. The other alternative is to expand mining activities.

Evacuation and rehabilitation of inhabitants from mining areas have socio-political implications and expenditures. In the past few decades, India has heavily invested on new coal-fired plants and continues to do so despite current economic crunches. In 2020, India has decided to invest ₹1 Lakh crore in the next 3-4 years to facilitate coal production. But the extractable Indian coal reserves will finish within 17 years [report 2013]. Rich coal repositories will be targeted further to invest in growing energy demand, till coal reserves exhaust.  Auctioning 41 coal mines to private companies is expected to generate 20,000 crores revenue per annum. However, cold response of bidders is feared, owing to poor market conditions during COVID-19. This makes revenue generation further uncertain.

Granting absolute freedom to private sectors to scale numberless coal production and export is like handing over exploitation rights. The local inhabitants who equally exercise rights over natural resources will bear ecological consequences. Working as labor in coal mines is neither a quality job nor encourages self-dependency.

Also read: 15 Photos That Reveal The ‘Dirty’ Work That Sustains One Of India’s Largest Coal Mines

Renewable Energy Is Cheaper

1. Must stick to Renewable Energy targets

India’s targets to achieve 175 GW renewable energy by 2022 can be met by solar-100 GW and wind-60 GW alone.

Coal power economy is on a drastic downside, says Forbes magazine, 2018. India’s 65% coal-generated power is costlier than renewable energy. Wind and solar bid 20% cheaper wholesale power price than coal. This is because renewable energy set-ups are easier to build than running aged coal-power plants violating the emission norms. Also water consumption by thermal plants is 3.8 cubic meters per Megawatt (MW), way higher to 0.1 cubic meter/MW of water for solar and negligible for wind.

Turning ecologically and economically viable, India’s renewable energy sector was attracting global investors till early 2020. European Investment Bank in 2017 invested $400m in India as a potential renewable energy sector.

India’s energy demand fell by nearly 30% during COVID-19 lockdown, offering a historic chance to shift from coal to renewable. By 2030, India can meet 40% of its power need by increasing renewable energy capacity to 500 GW.

A hybrid solar-wind energy park/ Source: EQ Int’l

2. Decentralize energy to boost the local economy

Coal from the 41 auctioned mines will be gasified to produce synthetic natural gas (SNG). SNG will be used for cooking and transportation. SNG emits seven times more greenhouse gases than natural gas. Coal-to-gas conversion is a water-demanding process. Fifty such plants in China are facing water scarcity due to it.

Alternatively, ‘Biomass gasification’ emits lower greenhouse gases than coal gasification. This gas can be used to produce electricity, fuel a vehicle, or in other industrial applications. Gosaba Island, Sundarbans, uses biomass gasifier of 500 kW capacity to supply electricity to 10,000 people. Some Indian sugar industries are using sugarcane residue called Bagasse as raw material to produce steam used for electricity generation. The surplus electricity is sold-off, creating additional income for the industry out of sugarcane waste. Brazil sugar factories utilize sugarcane to produce ethanol. Ethanol is used as an alternative fuel to run vehicles there. India, which imports over 80 per cent of its oil needs can adopt Brazil sugar factories model.

India’s small-hydro projects have 7 GW power production capacity, that can meet the power needs of close by communities without transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. India faced Rs 27,000 crores loss in 2018-19 due to electricity T&D losses. A Micro hydro-plant can provide 100 kW of electricity to isolated communities. Similarly, a 600 kW-1000 kW capacity wind turbine can supply electricity to 600-1000 homes.

India is ready to invest ₹20,000 crore in coal gasification and ₹50,000 crore on coal infrastructure, while under-estimating safe, cheap and efficient renewable energy sources. Great Britain is using COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to rapidly phase out coal and switching to renewable like biomass and wind energy. Considering investment, social and environmental cost, quick economic returns will be nullified by long term repercussions.

Also read: ‘We Live On Top Of An Oven. There Is Burning Coal Beneath Our Feet’

हाल ही में रिलीज़ हुई फिल्म ‘बुलबुल’ में जब बच्ची बुलबुल की शादी होने वाली होती है तो वह अपनी मां से पूछती है “पांव में बिछुआ क्यों पहनते है?” पिसी मां कहती है “उड़ने वाली लड़की को वश में करने के लिए।” लेकिन आज की सच्चाई यह कि बिछुआ भी उड़ने वाली लड़कियों को वश में नहीं कर सकता है।

गुवाहाटी हाईकोर्ट ने हाल ही में दिए अपने एक फैसले में कहा है कि पत्नी के सिंदूर लगाने से इंकार का मतलब यह है कि वह शादीशुदा ज़िंदगी को आगे नहीं जीना चाहती, यह तालाक का आधार है। बेंच ने अपने फैसले में कहा,

“हिंदू रीति-रिवाजों के हिसाब से शादी करने वाली महिला अगर सिंदूर नहीं लगाती, बिछुआ नहीं पहनती और चूड़ी नहीं पहनती है, तो ऐसा करने से वह अविवाहिता लगेगी और यह प्रतीकात्मक तौर पर शादी से इंकार माना जाएगा।”

मुख्य न्यायाधीश अजय लांबा और न्यायमूर्ति सौमित्र सैकिया सहित हाईकोर्ट के दो सदस्यों ने कहा कि ऐसी परिस्थितियों में, पति को पत्नी के साथ वैवाहिक संबंध जारी रखने के लिए मज़बूर करना उत्पीड़न माना जा सकता है।

गुवाहाटी हाईकोर्ट ने अपनी इस टिप्प्णी के साथ एक पति की ओर से दायर की गई तालाक याचिका को मंजूर भी कर लिया।

guwahati high court decision about marriage
प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

पुरूष क्यों नहीं पहनते हैं विवाह के प्रतीकात्मक चिन्ह?

अधिकांश महिलाएं सधवा धर्म के पालन के लिए सिंदूर के साथ अन्य प्रतिकात्मक चिन्हों का प्रयोग करती हैं, जबकि पुरुष इस तरह का कोई विवाह चिह्न धारण नहीं करते हैं। यह सामाजिक विभेद की प्रवृत्ति को बतता है।

आज की युवा पीढ़ी धीरे-धीरे इससे दूर जा रही है, वह भी बिना किसी हो-हल्ला के। यह बात भी उतनी ही सही है जितनी पहली बात। तब कोई न्यायालय सिंदूर के प्रयोग को तालाक का आधार कैसे मान सकता है?

साफ है ब्राह्मणवादी पितृसत्तात्मक सोच के अनुसार, महिला का शादी-शुदा दिखना ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है इसलिए इस तरह के फैसले सामने आते है। इस फैसले को सर्वोच्च अदालत में चुनौती तो ज़रूरी ही दी जानी चाहिए।

साथ-ही-साथ यह सवाल भी किया जाना चाहिए कि महिलाएं अनिवार्य रूप से शादीशुदा चिन्हों का प्रयोग क्यों करें? यदि महिलाओं के लिए यह ज़रूरी है, तो शादीशुदा पति भी कोई प्रतिकात्मक चिन्ह का प्रयोग क्यों नहीं करता है?

अगर पति इस प्रतीकात्मक चिन्ह का प्रयोग नहीं करता है तो वह भी तालाक का आधार बने। इससे और कुछ हो ना हो पारिवारिक अदालतों में लटके पड़े तालाक के मामलों का निपटारा जल्दी हो जाएगा।

प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

यह फैसला महिलाओं के सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक स्वतंत्रता का हनन नहीं है?

आज से पहले धार्मिक पंडित, मौलवियों और उलेमाओं से महिलाओं की स्वतंत्रता के विरोध में बैसिर-पैर के फतबे सुनने को मिलते थे। अब न्याय देने वाली लोकतांत्रिक संस्था इस तरह के फैसले देने लगी, तो आधी आबादी के संवैधानिक स्वतंत्रता के अधिकारों की रक्षा कौन करेगा? यह सवाल अधिक प्रासंगिक हो जाता है कि क्या यह महिलाओं को संविधान में मिले स्वतंत्रता के अधिकार का हनन नहीं है?

जहां तक बात है कि सिंदूर के साथ अन्य प्रतीकचिन्हों जैसे मंगल-सूत्र या अन्य प्रतीकात्मक सामाजिक व्यवहार का, तो उनमें से मंगलसूत्र का प्रयोग मैंने अपनी मां-दादी और नानी को करते हुए नहीं देखा है।

फिल्मों में इसके प्रयोग की प्रासंगिकता से यह हमारे सामाजिक व्यवहार का हिस्सा बनते चले गए और धीरे-धीरे यह फैलता चला गया। फिर इसके प्रयोग ना करने को वैवाहिक जीवन का आधार कैसे माना जा सकता है?

सिंदूर लगाना महिलाओं के व्यक्तिगत आज़ादी का मामला है

ज़ाहिर है यह महिलाओं के अपने स्वायत्त समाज में सांस्कृतिक विविधता का मामला भी है जिसे पूरी महिला आबादी पर थोपा नहीं जा सकता है। सिंदूर लगाना और अन्य प्रतीकात्मक चिन्हों का प्रयोग किसी महिला का व्यक्तिगत मामला हो सकता है।

यह बात अलग है कि भारतीय हिंदू समाज में महिलाएं मांग में सिंदूर लगाए, इसके आध्यात्मिक और वैज्ञानिक दोनों ही तरह के तर्क दिए जाते रहे हैं जो अपने-आप में कई रहस्य को समेटे हुए हैं। इस पर यदा-कदा अखबारों और पत्रिकाओं के फीचर पेज पर विमर्श भी चस्पा किए जाते हैं।

आज ज़रूरत इस बात की अधिक है कि महिलाओं को इस बात के लिए जागरूक किया जाए कि वैवाहिक जीवन में प्रवेश के साथ ही इस तरह के प्रतीकों का इस्तेमाल कैसे उनको सांस्कृतिक गुलाम बनाता है? इसके प्रयोग के साथ ही वे वैवाहिक जीवन में प्रवेश तो पा जाती हैं लेकिन यही प्रतीक उनकी व्यक्तिगत आज़ादी को नियंत्रित भी करती है।

प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर

महिलाओं लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का नहीं होनी चाहिए हनन

आज महिलाओं को जो भी सामाजिक स्वतंत्रता मिली है फिर चाहे वह पढ़ने-लिखने की हो या निजी और सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र में काम करने की। वह संवैधानिक अधिकारों से मिली है ना कि सांस्कृतिक प्रतीकों के इस्तेमाल करने से यह स्वतंत्रता उन्हें मिली है।

जिस तरह समाज को गतिशील रखने के लिए लोकतांत्रिक परिवार और विवाह जैसी संस्था का होना ज़रूरी है। उसी तरह इन संस्थाओं में महिलाओं को आत्मनिर्भर होने के लिए लोकतांत्रिक अधिकारों का होना भी ज़रूरी है। यही लोकतांत्रिक अधिकार महिलाओं को सुरक्षित रख सकते हैं ना कि विवाह संस्था में प्रवेश दिलाने वाले प्रतीकात्मक चिन्हों का प्रयोग। इसके बारे में पूरी आबादी को सचेत और जागरूक होना होगा।

जेंडर के मसले पर होना पड़ेगा संवेदनशील

दूसरी मुख्य बात यह है कि आज़ादी के बाद समाज के बड़े हिस्से को महिलाओं के संघर्ष के इतिहास के साथ अन्य कई सामाजिक व्यवहारों से परिचित कराकर, जेंडर के मसले पर संवेदनशील बनाने का प्रयास किया जाता रहा है।

लेकिन, तमाम सामाजिक संस्थाओं को जेंडर संवेदनशील बनाने के लिए जो प्रयास होने चाहिए थे वो कभी नहीं किए गए। शायह इसी के नतीजे के रूप में इस तरह के  गैर-ज़रूरी फैसले, फतवे और फरमान हमारे सामने आते रहते हैं।

समाज के साथ-साथ सामाजिक संस्थाओं का जेंडर के प्रति संवेदनशील होना अधिक आवश्यक है, क्योंकि सामाजिक संस्थाओं के सामाजिक व्यवहार से ही समाज का जीवन संचालित होता है। गुवाहाटी हाईकोर्ट का हलिया फैसला उन महिलाओं के सामाजिक जीवन में आघात है जो विवाह से जुड़ी सांस्कृतिक दास्तां के बेड़ियों से आज़ाद और आत्मनिर्भर हैं। गुवाहाटी हाईकोर्ट का फैसला पुरुषवादी फैमिनिज़्म का पहला पाठ है।

Retired Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju recently said that, India was never a secular country, where most Hindus are communal and so are Muslims. Justice Katju is often defined as an outspoken man who is not always politically correct, and rightly so. But politically incorrect statements do not mean always they are factually incorrect statements.

Though I agree with Justice Katju that both Hindus and Muslims are communal, as a Muslim, I would say that communalism is far deeply entrenched in Muslim minds than their Hindu counterparts. And probably this is the reason why most Indian Muslims could not actually integrate with the society at large for so many years, which resulted in their slow alienation from the ‘others’.

I believe, Muslims must focus on developing the community, which comes through good education, good values and good habits.

Being born in a mixed-value Muslim family where the parents were moderate — but not highly liberal, while the grandparents and relatives were highly orthodox, I saw and gained perspective of growing up in such environment. I realised that for Hindus, education came first, religion came second and nation came third, while for Muslims, religion came first, education came second and nation did not figure anywhere. While I do not mean to discredit millions of Muslims who are actually helping in nation building across India, I think somehow some Muslims are reluctant to embrace the nation and nationalism as they should have, often making them targets of the now-famous Anti-National barb by the Hindu nationalists.

The problem lies within, as many Muslims who generally get touchy by being made to feel now that they are living in Hindu-stan, have somehow always believed the same. Though they were born here, went to school here, worked here, but they never felt they belonged here as they believed India is not their natural habitat. The same was fuelled by the polarising politics of this country where one party made them believe that Muslims have to keep them in power, else the party of the “others” will trouble them.

The Muslims got so entrapped in this permanent black-hole of Indian politics, where to save themselves and their identity from the “others”, they became more and more closed, and more sensitive and paranoid towards the “threat to their religion”, which prevented their growth and integration with the larger society.

Now, the question is, what is the future of Muslims in India while the government of the “others” is in power? Since Muslims cannot go to Pakistan, as many Hindu nationalists would like them to do, the onus lies with Muslims only. To co-exist, to develop and to help in nation building. For that to happen, I believe, Muslims must stop wearing religion on their sleeves and focus on developing the community, which comes through good education, good values and good habits.

I also think Muslims need to stop competing with Hindus about who is the bigger bigot. Since charity always starts at home, to bring a change, one must change themselves first. Muslims must start doing the right thing than being in constant denial and/or conflict, which includes being sensitive to others’ faith, customs and comfort.

If cow is sacred to Hindus, Muslims must shun its use. If Azan on a loudspeaker brings discomfort to others, it can be stopped. If Friday prayers eat precious road space, it can be avoided. If culling a goat at home during Bakr-Eid discomforts your neighbours, it can be avoided. Being out on lunch with friends or colleagues and saying out loud that “I don’t eat jhatka meat” never helps and makes you look different. Instead of that declaration, you can simply order vegetarian food for yourself.

And lastly, Muslims, I think, must stop feeling insecure and shun the overused Minority status quickly, as this Minority-Majority business has helped no-one except those in power. Muslims would do well by being defined as equal citizens by merit and not by being tagged as minorities. And equality comes from acceptance, confidence, education, liberalism and prosperity.

Also read: Islamophobia And Prejudice Against Muslims: Stop Equating Islam To Terrorism

New Book, Venture Capital Investments by Raj Kumar and Manu Sharma, published under the SAGE Essentials series by SAGE Publications India, provides an overview of the industry in India, its history and delves into how venture capitalists evaluate potential investment deals.

Laced with extensive examples, the book broadly discusses the fund-raising process of venture capital general partners and explains how fund structures and fund economics of venture capital firms are evaluated.

Venture Capital Investments by Raj Kumar and Manu Sharma

Terms And Conditions Of The Deal

Amount of Funds

The amount of funds that would be raised through this source of financing is something that should be clearly discussed. The entrepreneur and the VC list should be straightforward about what to expect from one another. The number of funds that the entrepreneur requires should be clearly discussed so that the investors understand whether they can provide that sort of amount of investment or not. This is not something that can be ignored when discussing the terms and conditions of the deal. Instead, it is something around which the whole deal would be based so it should be clearly discussed. The amount that the entrepreneurs have and the amount that it would be borrowed or expected from the venture capitalist to be invested should be at the forefront.[1] If anything is unclear or not specified, then respective parties should reach out and discuss it for clarification. The investors in case of VC would only be paid back in case of an IPO, a merger or an acquisition. Thus, the entrepreneurs would not have to take out cash that could have been used for other aspects of the business.

Purpose of Funds

An entrepreneur should be particular about the purpose of the funds, why the business is reaching out to venture capitalists for a source of funding and how it will be used. This information would develop a sense of transparency between the entrepreneur and venture capitalists, ensuring the latter that their funds are not being misused or misappropriated. If the investors are not provided with the relevant information about the purpose and uses of the investment, it will make it difficult for the general partners to justify the investment to the LPs. Whether the business would use the funds for buying assets, raw materials, setting up a plant or any other purpose, a clear financial justification should be provided to the investors.

Necessary Capital

The amount of working capital and runaway capital that the business has and would need should be discussed and explained as well. This information would provide the investors with the necessary numbers, that would show that the management has done its work and understand where and how their capital will be used. Having a substantial amount of working capital would ensure that the business has the opportunity for more investment and growth. Using its own capital for further investment in the business would make it easy for the business to operate over a long time, as it would not have to rely on investment and to borrow more than it should. Having a low level of working and runaway capital would make even basic operations for the business very difficult.

man writing down accounts money in his book
Representational image.

Record Ownership

The entrepreneur should be able to provide the investors with a basic and to the point overview of the record of ownership. This information should include the percentage of ownership that the founders and investors have in the business, dilution of the equity, and value that equity would have in each of the investment rounds.

The formation should provide all the details about the investors, the sources of investment and the owners of the business. Managing this information would be beneficial for the investors as well as the owners as they share the equity with ease.

Along with this, such information is beneficial when the business plans on expanding and growing. The general partners would benefit from this information a lot, as they would be able to provide the facts and figures to the LPs if they ever ask for it. Along with this, it would help in calculating the return and profit on the investment quickly at any time.

Burn Rate

The impact that the funding would have on the monthly cash burn is something that should be looked into and shared with the investors as well. The burn rate of any company is the speed at which it would be using up the investment from the VC, to pay for the overhead and operational expenses, before any cash flow can be generated. The rate is mostly estimated as the amount of cash that is spent every month. For instance, if the company has estimated to have a burn rate of $5 million, it means that every month it would be spending an amount of $5 million. This rate is used by both the VC and the start-up firm to keep track of the monthly cash flow before it can generate any income.

[1] Pearce and Barnes, Raising Venture Capital.

Note: An excerpt from Venture Capital Investments by Raj Kumar and Manu Sharma, published under the SAGE Essentials series by SAGE Publications India.

Were you taught the reproduction chapter in Class 10? Or was it out of your syllabus too? How many of you feel comfortable talking to your parents about healthy sex, or vice versa? Not too many, right?

In times when sex education is still a taboo among the majority of people, porn continues to shape society’s mindset about sex and its related aspects. With the imposition of a lockdown amid the global pandemic, porn consumption has boosted by 95%, despite the fact that it is banned in the country.

We are the third-largest consumer of porn in the world, and this consumption comes with its consequences. In many cases, pornographic depiction normalises violence against women, or other marginalised groups including the LGBTQIA+. Such videos show demeaning treatment of these people just for the sake of entertainment and increasing views. The way sex is fantasised in pornography creates a mythical image of it in people’s mind.

Important issues such as consent, sexuality, reproductive health and rights, emotional relationships etc. are left untouched because these topics are not what get money. There is little sensitivity in the portrayal of sex as a leisurely activity. And pornography remains the only source of sex education for most in the country.

It is the need of the hour to impart legitimate sex education, to bridge the gap between the fantasy world and reality; not to keep pushing it aside because of awkwardness and societal stigma.

But this should not mean that the aforementioned issues aren’t important and it is okay to overlook them. Lack of legitimate sex education in schools is already showing fatal results, and pornography is only aggravating the problem.

HIV/AIDS is almost an epidemic in our country. Sexual crime and abuse against women and people from the LGBTQIA+ community is surging at an alarming rate. It is noteworthy that at the same time, “lesbian and gay porn” remains one of the fastest-growing searches, and the depiction of people or their relationships nowhere stands true to their reality.

At the same time, porn can be seen affecting people’s relationships. Studies speculate that pornography influences our treatment of sex workers. It makes them feel that they are justifiable in asking the workers for fulfillment of desires as they’re paying for it. Because of this, the use of contraceptives is very low.

Due to several of such reasons, we’re aggravating problems such as unintended pregnancies among the youth and lack of awareness of family planning among couples. People feel shy about working on any problems they might be facing with their sexologist. This is only going to deepen such issues in society.

This is where real sex education should come to the rescue. Often, parents and political leaders preach that sex education corrupts and offends Indian values. But it needs to be acknowledged that more than sex education, it is an increasing unsupervised encounter with explicit material through social media and the internet that has already damaged our society and ‘values’.

It is the need of the hour to impart legitimate sex education, to bridge the gap between the fantasy world and reality; not to keep pushing it aside because of awkwardness and societal stigma. It’s important to address our confusions and doubts that are otherwise left unsolved. Many organisations are working in this sphere.

However, the best thing a person can do to change the world is by changing oneself. Educate yourself because no one is doing that for you. Read about it, consult some experts. Keep a check of what you’re watching over the internet. In the case of porn, it never shows the real picture. Start a conversation with your children and loved ones so that they don’t have to bear the burden of your casual attitude in the future.

Also read: What Porn Is Not: Kiwis Use Humour To Talk Sex With Teens, Watch This Video!

Indian urban slum dwellers and the urban poor make up a heterogeneous group with differing levels of deprivation and vulnerability. The situation is so common that one in every six urban Indians lives in slums.

In Andhra Pradesh, 36.1 % of its urban population has been living in slums. Nine out of every ten slum households in Odisha are either without a drainage connection or connected to an open drain (making the population more vulnerable to diseases).

Even though cities have many resources, such as clean water, sanitation, and waste disposal systems, they are often accessible to only a small portion of the population, excluding hundreds of millions of people of their fundamental rights.

Health Starts From Toilets

WomenFor women to live healthy, productive, and dignified lives, they need to manage their menstrual cycles effectively. The scenario is possible with access to running water and clean and hygienic toilets. If no appropriate facilities are available, they revert to open defecation and seek railway tracks and municipal dumps under cover of night, as in Mumbai.

The concept of sharing washrooms by multiple households is increasing in urban slums in which women are not comfortable and face issues. The male-dominated engineering and planning may fail to account for the needs of the women. The toilets mostly face the street with no place to dispose of menstrual waste.

When Disposal Is A Problem

There is also a practice seen of disposing of menstrual waste into pit latrines. Disposing into the toilet is also done because women do not want men to see the “blood-soaked cloth/sanitary pad” seen as symbols of witchcraft. But as sanitation systems are not designed to flush sanitary pads, they are unable to cope with them and end up clogging the sewage pipes.

WaterAid India found that women who have access to toilets refrained from using them during their periods due to the fear of staining them. While in some communities, women, and girls are not allowed to use water sources during menstruation. Our country lacks the necessary facilities for menstruating women to handle menstrual hygiene, especially in slum areas.

In a community in the state of Gujarat, 91% of girls reported staying away from flowing water during menstruation. Although managing menstruation requires access to water and sanitation facilities, cultural beliefs and silence that surrounds it results in unhealthy situations for those who menstruate.

The Impact On Women’s Health Living In Urban Slums

There is a clear link between poor menstrual hygiene and urinary tract infections and other illnesses. When women have no access to toilet facilities, they routinely withhold food and water, which subsequently leads to dehydration, discomfort, and urinary tract infections.

Incidences of reproductive tract infections (RTI) are more common amongst women who use unhygienic materials during menstruation. There is an upfront problem when women are not able to practice hygiene-related behaviour such as bathing and cleaning of genitals. This leads to worry, fear, and anxiety. In India, the women have expressed concern of sexual assault due to broken latch or absent doors on shared toilets.

The widespread “Stay Home Stay Safe” message had urged people to stay indoors in the pandemic situation. But it failed for many families in the slums. Families faced the issue of not having the means to earn for food, limited access to water and no toilets in their houses.

“Neither do we have money to buy sanitary napkins, nor can we get them in shops as they are closed since the lockdown. We have to use cloth rags for periods,” expressed Gurubari Digi, a young married woman in Biruasa slum in the western part of Bhubaneswar city.

She further states “It is tough to wash the period rags. For a bucket of water, I have to toil for 30 minutes – 10 minutes each to walk to and from the stand post and at least 10 minutes to wait in the queue. And to wash a used period cloth, it requires at least two buckets of water,” she mentioned. This makes MHM in times of crisis even more difficult.

The period does not stop in a pandemic situation. Looking at these challenges, the Supreme Court had asked the governments to provide basic necessities like water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in these areas. It is to see how the short term solution relieves women in urban slums.

The author is a part of the current batch of the #PeriodParGyan Writer’s Training Program

Also read: “During My Mother’s Funeral Rites, I Was Asked Again And Again If I Was On My Period”

When #MeToo jolted Bollywood, a lot of people were quick to point that those survivors had the choice to say no and were equally responsible for their conditions. Even though choices are seemingly available in any situation, power dynamics in any profession are quick to negate the availability of choices. Over the years, people have overlooked the power dynamics, especially in India, for the sake of growth and development, be it Bollywood, or any other industry. Even religion.

What is Power Dynamics?

Power dynamics in their natural environment mean taking control over the other person’s capacity to make choices that might be beneficial to that individual and their family. When TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal criticised the #MeToo movement on the basis of one’s choice to say no and failure to believe in oneself, he simply failed to take into account the power dynamics within the profession.

This control forces the individual to either abandon the profession altogether, or suffer consequences. It is also true that some people are lucky as this power dynamic escapes them, but in reality, the percentage of such people is very low.

Components Of Power Dynamics

How do power dynamics exist? It has three major components.

  • First, there is a power holder and power receiver. These are simple terms, but when witnessed in real life, you’d realise how much people try to manipulate each other.
  • Second, in power dynamics, power is used for attaining selfish gains at the expense of others. In other words, power is used negatively.
  • Third, power dynamics often deplete mental and physical strength.

Power Dynamics Through the Ages

Power dynamics is not a new-age concept. Kings, merchants, landowners, big farmers, bureaucrats, or people in possession of valuable resources have exerted their power for their own concern and self-satisfaction. Centuries ago, people, in general, had to struggle more than they do today, and life span of ordinary folks was also minimal, making power dynamics more bearable. Now, more available time and larger life span, power dynamics have a deeper impact.

Power Dynamics Are Either Underestimated Or Ignored

People are always quick to judge whenever someone raises a voice against another. Such instances suddenly harp on the opinion of the public to establish reliability with either party. But what happens in public is ignorance or blatant disregard for the use of power dynamics. This is the root cause of the problem.

For example, in The Mahabharata, the use of power dynamics by Shakuni are undervalued in the whole book. But actually, he is the root cause of the whole war. Instead, Draupadi is partially blamed for the war, as she insulted Duryodhan. What we fail to probe is that in our daily lives, we insult many in many ways. Does this mean everyone should go for war?

In India, differently-abled people and transgender folks are mocked and insulted every day. So should they also go to war? Wars or disputes happen because of power dynamics. Ignorance of power dynamics never resolves the problem at its core.

Power Dynamics In Bollywood

Whether there is blatant or unapologetic nepotism in display in Bollywood or not, there is definite abuse of power. Popular or successful celebrities indulge in questionable activities and are able to walk out without impunity. Power dynamics among them come from money and public opinion. Fans refuse to treat celebrities as humans who need to be held accountable for their actions. This simply results in a great tornado of power dynamics in which several innocents get hurt eventually.

Unlike other professions, Bollywood lacks structure. There is no defined recruitment procedure to enter the Hindi film industry. It is not easy to define talent. Moreover, the regular contract-making law in India does not restrict Bollywood in any way. This broad framework is never discussed rationally to establish transparency in the industry.  These contracts simply state their terms and conditions to abuse others who have no other solution but to accept. Unless these unstructured parameters are discussed meaningfully, this abuse will remain the root cause of power dynamics.

Power Dynamics In Politics

It is public opinion that politicians are corrupt. But it never translates into containing the action of politicians, unlike in Bollywood. The reason is simple — unlimited availability of resources at the disposal of a politician results in power vacuum like no one else. This was visible in case of migrant labourers, wherein the public refused to come together to seek justice for these people, unlike in case of Bollywood.

Power dynamics in politics affect lives in ways that cannot even be comprehended, but the general public refuses to acknowledge this absurd power dynamics in order to escape the reality of life.

प्रतीकात्मक तस्वीर
Representative image. 

Power Dynamics In Religion

Religion for centuries has fostered power dynamics by using faith and faulty understanding of human nature. This power dynamics has created so much tension that we tend to give into all kinds of negative emotions. This has now become the new normal against the stated objective of every religion.

Power Dynamics On Social Media

Power dynamics within social media are evolving at a faster pace than in anything else. People are abusing others at unprecedented levels in new ways every day. People are losing their mental sanity, jobs and morality. Power dynamics on social media are unfortunately used for trivial matters and not real-life issues. There was no demand for justice for those affected during the pandemic. Such power dynamics will have far-reaching consequences that cannot be quantified.

Power Dynamics Among Men

This is the least talked about or discussed power dynamics. A lot of people from Bollywood are speaking against injustice perpetrated by men against men. The reason is simple: a large number of men are at positions of power. Power dynamics among men are thus more common in politics, bureaucracy, business and culture. Men destroy other men blatantly, and jobs are taken away by men more easily, destroying families in the process.

Vikas Gupta from the TV industry has shown incredible strength by publicly accepting himself as bisexual. Sadly, this was the result of bullying by two men, which was very conveniently ignored by the public as always. If a woman’s name had come up, God save that woman.

In colleges, men still rag men to the point where freshmen die due to suicide. Yet, these topics are never discussed or taken seriously. Sadly, men refuse to talk about this situation. Fathers teaching their sons to not cry, and enforcing this rule in all kinds of ways has been documented for centuries, having resulted in only fragile toxic mental health. What is even more disturbing is that men encourage this destructive power to prove their dominance, which is considered a desirable trait among them.

For How Long Are We Going To Remain Silent?

The real purpose of democracy is to have a voice in matters that really affect our everyday lives. It is invoked regularly for abusing and demeaning others, but the same hatred is not invoked when it comes to issues such as price rise of petroleum without any valid reason, pitting of two religions for the sake of diverting attention, or failing our economy in spite of having all the knowledge pool under your belt.

Why does power dynamics exist to cause as much destruction as possible? Why do people with easy access to power find it easier to get away with their cruel and inhumane behaviour? Why don’t we demand accountability from people with great power rather than succumbing to an agenda that plays with emotions and desires blatantly? People forget easily that an ordinary citizen is the most vulnerable to power dynamics, which can even take your right to live with dignity.

Also read: Popular Arguments Against Feminism That Only Reveal Our Ingrained Patriarchy

COVID-19 has brought drastic changes in work culture and the learning pattern. The culture of telecommuting is rising in case of big organisations of the world who are successfully operating online. While India was gradually accepting the concept of work-from-home culture and flexible working hours, this lockdown has made organisations realise that employees can be equally, or in many cases more, productive when provided with the liberty of working remotely and with flexible working hours.

Regardless of their field, work culture of most of the organisations will change after everything normalises. Organisations might partially or wholly adopt the work-from-home culture, as it helps in cost-cutting, saving resources, and is environment-friendly. The demanded skill-set, hiring trends and work practices would also change accordingly.

However, not everyone has skills required to work from home, and acquiring those is not an easy task. Utilising this time to upskill and reskill would help you grow in your existing roles, or explore new opportunities with more dynamic and adaptive organisations that can guarantee job security during such difficult times.

Some of the most in-demand work-from-home skills, which can help in your career advancement post lockdown include:

a person working on a laptop, online

Web Development

Every organisation operating online trades with its target customers through a website. During the lockdown, many ed-tech firms, game-makers, online grocery stores, online cleaning services providers and other home delivery services have flourished. Even local supermarket chains have now come online to ensure safe deliver essentials in their respective cities or localities.

The trend of choosing online services post lockdown would continue as people would avoid social gatherings. In such a situation, web development will offer great career opportunities as more organisations would want a website to operate.

Learning web development would help you master the art of developing, designing and managing a website for various companies while sitting at home. Through an online web development training, you can learn HTML and CSS to build well-structured web pages — Bootstrap for developing responsive web pages, SQL for writing queries and managing information, and PHP for performing operations and building functional logic.

With this skill, you can start sharing exciting inputs with your organisation’s existing web development team, find opportunities as a freelancer, build websites for different clients, or start your own online business from scratch.

Content Writing

Content writing involves ideating, planning, writing, editing and proofreading content for the web. Articles, blogs, homepage content, marketing campaign content and scripts for videos, radio or podcasts are broadly a few things content writers work on. This is one of the most in-demand skills, for which employers mostly hire freelancers and virtual interns.

Content attracts an organisation’s target audience to its website, which ultimately helps in increasing its sales and revenue. More companies will gradually start functioning online after the lockdown, leading to an increase in the requirement of professional content creators.

Enrolling in an online creative writing training would be the best way to begin your journey as a content writer. It will help you develop your observational skills and understand how to find ideas to write. You will also get to strengthen your command on fictional and non-fictional writing, screenplay, and advertising writing, and learn to create crisp, coherent and error-free content. Through content, you will then be able to start writing from home for any industry of your interest such as automobile, sports, manufacturing, education, healthcare and information technology. You can even start your own blog.

employee working on a laptop and smartphone
Digital marketing is the easiest, most efficient, effective, and affordable way to reach your target audience, breaking all geographical boundaries.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is an umbrella term comprising multiple internet marketing concepts. It is the art of marketing an organisation’s offerings through a blog, email, social media, or any digital platform available to connect with existing and potential customers. It involves pay per click, SEO, content marketing, social media campaigns, affiliate marketing, email marketing, inbound marketing, and so on. It is the easiest, most efficient, effective, and affordable way to reach your target audience, breaking all geographical boundaries.

Imagining a world without digital marketing is impossible for companies in today’s time, as they cannot sustain the cut-throat competition and increase their visibility in the market without it. The need for digital marketers is booming exceptionally, bringing great work-from-home opportunities for skilled professionals.

You could enrol yourself in an online digital marketing training and learn multiple concepts such as blogging and analytics, online advertising — search, display, and video, social media marketing, ORM and automation — and mobile marketing. After getting skilled in digital marketing, you can work from home in different roles such as digital marketing manager, social media executive/manager, PPC/SEM expert, email marketing manager, analytics manager, or CRM manager. You can also contribute to your existing organisation’s online marketing practices or start working as a remote freelancer for different companies.

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (trainings.internshala.com) — an online training platform

Also read: How Parents And Teachers Can Support Students In The Face Of A Global Pandemic

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below