8 Sep 2017

If You Give A Damn About These 8 Issues, You Know What It Means To Speak Up


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Have you ever been bothered by the world that you live in? Do you ever think of raising your voice to start a change? What stops you?

All of us want to live in a better world. Some of us find the courage to do something about it. But here’s the thing. Each one of us, in our own little way, has the power to bring about change. It doesn’t have to be nuclear power level change. Maybe it’s just about getting a street light in your colony fixed that makes people feel safer. Or standing up for a total stranger being harassed on public transport. Or even speaking up about issues that matter to you. It seems like a small thing, but it makes a big difference.
In August, these are the issues that top users at Youth Ki Awaaz raised their voices about.

1. What Privilege Looks Like In India

In our country, if you are a Hindu, upper-caste, wealthy, able-bodied, heterosexual cis-gendered man, the amount of privilege you possess is unparalleled. There is little discrimination you would face, oblivious to the stigma faced by minorities on the lines of caste, class, gender, sexuality. Breaking down all these privileges and recognising the responsibility that comes with it are The Savarna Files. This month, in a series of posts, they spell out small and big things we often take for granted in the spaces we occupy.

2. Blind Faith For A Convicted Rapist

The violence and destruction that followed the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in two rape cases show the dangerous levels our faith for self-styled men and women of God reaches. Over 30 people lost their lives, many states in North India were put on high alert, media vans were torched in an attempt to limit the coverage of the violence. What does it say about us as a society that mindlessly follows criminals in the garb of religious leaders? Is our faith so weak?
Shobha Rana Grover’s powerful story questions this poison that has spread way too far amongst us.

3. The Damage Caused In Assam Floods That Could Have Been Avoided

Every year, Assam gets ravaged by floods. Every year people are killed, livelihoods are lost, families are uprooted. And yet, this disaster never seems important enough for the mainstream media to cover or the government to pay attention to.

A majority of the damage done during the floods could have been avoided by only paying a little more attention to how cities are being developed. Throughout the month, Kumar Deepak has covered the floods in Assam and Bihar, and the havoc that they brought.

4. Travelling In India As A Person With Disability

Making travel plans can be unnerving. Finalising a place you want to visit, fixing the dates, getting leave from work, booking tickets, packing, and then making sure you catch your bus/train/flight. A lot of us also spend a decent amount of time in looking at hotels to stay in, fixating on the details. Will it include breakfast? Does it have a hot shower? Are the rooms sea facing? Is there an elevator?

But what do you do if you reach the hotel and find out you can’t even enter it just because you use a wheelchair?
Sharing details of an RTI filed by her, Abha Khetarpal reveals how hundreds of hotels in the country claim to be ‘disabled-friendly’ but don’t even have a ramp in the name of access.

5. What Travelling Solo Means For An Indian Woman

Discussions around women’s safety are never-ending, and much needed because cases of violence against women are still on the rise. As a daughter, I have seen my parents stress over my safety every time I step out of the house. How I travel, who I go with, when I’m likely to return, they fuss all the time. Imagine then, what it means for a woman to travel all by herself, to the isolated Himalayas, or an overcrowded Goa.

Snehal Wankhede shares her experiences and challenges of being a female solo traveller.

6. The Dark Realities Faced By Children Living On The Streets In India

Over 20 lakh children live on the streets in India, with little access to education, clean water, sanitation and nutrition. A major, and very dangerous consequence of this is an addiction to drugs. To avoid feeling hungry, or cold, many children are made to sniff glue. This soon turns into an addiction, forcing kids to spend whatever they earn on the drugs. Highlighting a similar scenario is Joyeeta Talukdar’s story on children outside the Sealdah railway station in Bengal.

7. Cinema That Challenges Patriarchy And Religion

Weaving the issue of open defecation with a love story, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was received with enthusiasm by the masses. Riding the wave of socially responsible cinema, following the likes of Pink and Lipstick Under My Burkha, the Akshay Kumar starrer brought in various aspects of challenging patriarchal norms that force women to conform. Naman Singh shares how he found subtle rebellion in the film. In his review, he narrates how the film’s concept aligns with the Swachh Bharat Mission and slams the use of religion to oppress.

8. Women’s Right To Family Property

For way too long, women have been told that they are “paraya dhan” – a liability that needs to be passed on. This has also been used as an excuse to deny women their rightful share in the family inheritance. After all, her husband is going to take care of her needs, so will her brother. What does she need a house for when her husband is giving her a house to live in? Slamming this sexist tradition is Roki Kumar’s engaging story.

Source - Youth Ki Awaaz

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