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Witness the Pride Month and the pride of LGBT this June!!

Shatakshi Saxena

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“I think being gay is a blessing and it’s something I’m thankful for every single day.” –
Anderson Cooper

June is the Gay Pride Month, the month that reflects the pride of every single person belonging to the LGBT community. A fight that has continued for centuries now, the LGBT community still awaits a brighter day. India is constantly heading towards modernization but one thing that still lacks is the power of acceptance in the society.

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People even today have hardly accepted the LGBT community as their own. For many, it is still something unnatural and shameful; something that doesn’t deserve to live and love freely. Irony strikes when the society questions them, blames them and they face humiliation at the hands of their own parents and relatives. Indeed, we are a land of cultures but unfortunately we aren’t a society that is happily accepting. We can afford to witness rape cases and murders but we can’t afford to let the LGBT community live and love as they want. As the citizens of India, even they have the right to privacy and equality. Nobody has any authority to question their lifestyle or the choices they make in life. From their families to the society, from fighting for being considered equal to deserving
professional independence, this community has come a long way in this journey.

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Mr. Darvesh Singh Yadvendra

In an exclusive conversation with Mr. Darvesh Singh Yadvendra who manages CageD_UncageD, Tales by Queers, we got the answers to many questions. He told us how crossing all the barriers, the LGBT community has begun to raise their voice for equality. The legal aspect of our country about the LGBT community has a lot more to it than we know.
The same-sex relationship was criminalized by British under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 1861. The Section 377 clearly states : “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.” with the added explanation that : “Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court criminalized the homosexual intercourse finding it unconstitutional. That went as a relief for many but in 2013, the Supreme Court of India reconsidered this decision. The Supreme Court of India again criminalized the homosexual intercourse in 2013. It felt as a setback to the community and faced much humiliation.

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After various petitions filed by many esteemed organizations and people, the Supreme Court reconsidered their decision in 2016. It said that right to personal privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. The court also ruled that a person’s sexual orientation is a privacy issue. This gave a ray of hope to the LGBT community, expecting that this might be an asset to decriminalize Section 377.
In 2018, the Supreme Court is considering Section 377 and drafting a Uniform Civil Code. If it’s accepted, same-sex marriage would be legalized in India.

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Apart from the legal aspect, we also realized how the society has not seen the LGBT community as their own. People unfortunately tend to find it a curse that may destroy their culture and traditions. The irony is, even if they are independent, their sexuality is a major concern for the society. Not because they will applause them for their hard work but to question about how can they live freely. Probably God never thought that his creation that has equal talents will become a questionable identity for the society. Unfortunately, before the society it is the family that
break down the person.

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Boys when realize this, instead of support, they receive tremendous emotional pressure. They listen taunts like ‘you are born to make us feel ashamed’ or ‘you are not a complete man’ or ‘you need to marry a woman and lead a normal life’. People fail to realize that a human being is first identified by their heart and not by their sexual orientation.
Similarly, the LGBT women face trouble when they refuse to marry or have kids. They again face emotional blackmail not only at homes but also at theirs workplaces. A woman is always conditioned to marry, this mentality leads to uncontrollable pressure.

Just imagine how it feels when you are forced to marry someone you simply can’t feel home with! Just imagine how it feels when you enter a crowded place and all eyes look up to you as a curse. Just imagine how it feels when you won’t be allowed to marry someone you love.

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Well, that’s something we need to ask our hearts. Every person has the right to marry, have kids but with the person they willingly want to do it. No power or law can intervene in their personal lives and especially their sexual orientation. It is nowhere applicable to use somebody’s sexuality as a sword to defeat their strength and force them to feel weak about themselves. In the past few years, the LGBT community has gained support over the social media. Many pride marches and parades are held and the youth has begun to hold discussions about it. A change is on the way and it will surely come, bringing justice to anyone who has his personal life subjected to the chains of feudal mentality.

" Writing is like meditation where every word is the reflection of a refreshed soul." She's philosophical, emotional, an out of the box thinker with metaphors and irony as her favorite tools. A short height, grammar - friendly, graduation student whose thoughts take her beyond this world to a place she owns. A typical, modern day girl with a completely traditional style of writing, she believes that a good writer is the one who brings out the worst realities yet teaches how beautiful life can be. So, to all those people who don't want to read just Awesome Happy Drama it's time to gear up, observe, think and implement whatever you read or write.

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When the world was questioning the identity of LGBTQ, they were already soaring high proving stereotypes wrong

Shatakshi Saxena

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LGBTQ-legal-india

The Supreme Court won laurels from all over the nation for it’s historic decision of decriminalizing Section 377. When people were questioning the identity of LGBTQ community, law reminded people that fundamental rights to life are equal for all. The society had since ages neglected the LGBTQ community not just on their gender but also questioned their abilities to be successful. The verdict by Supreme Court is just the beginning of the formation of a society where everyone is equally treated. Amidst all these things, there have been people who have set an example by achieving laurels, proving the society wrong. Their stories are less heard for people feel they aren’t that extraordinary. Their efforts are not praised for nobody ever believed in their uniqueness. Fighting all stereotypes, these people have set examples of successful endeavors. Their name will be etched in the history of people who redefined life.

Joyita Mondal

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After a struggle of many years, she won over the feudal society system by registering her name as the First Transgender Judge in India. Her persona has been exemplary and her work speaks for her identity. She is appointed in the category of learned judges at a government deemed civil court, West Bengal. She proved that success comes with dedication and not gender.

Hrishi Sathawane and Vinh

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When in 2017 theSupreme Court was preparing to reconsider Section 377, the First Gay Marriage in India took place at Yavatmal, Maharashtra. An IIT graduate HrishiSathawane and his partner Vinh tied the knot with all rituals in front of their families. Also, they decided to adopt children to complete their happy life.

Gauri Sawant

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Who wasn’t inspired by this wonderful personality when she came on Kaun Banega Crorepati, Season 9 ? Her story and life has been an asset to the society and the LGBTQ community. She became the First Transgender person to file a petition in the Supreme Court of India for adoption rights of transgender people. Founder of the SakshiChar Chowhi Trust, she promotes safe sex and counsels transgender people. She has adopted a daughter named Gayatri and wishes to start an old age home NanikaGharwhere old transgender people can look after the children of sex-workers. Her efforts are truly extraordinary and heartwarming.

Sonal Giani

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She is known for her commendable efforts in highlighting lesbian and bi-sexualwomen issues and also empowering LGBTQ youth. She is a powerful vocal activist and an actress. She is the founder of India’ largest LGBTQ initiatives, Umang and Yaariyan in Mumbai. Her television series Connected Hum Tum portrays her struggles as an Indian bi-sexual woman.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

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She is not only a transgender activist but also a beautiful Bharatnatyam dancer. She has faced many struggles during her childhood including sexual harassment. She was the in the Founding Member team of the Dai Welfare Society and has launched the Indian Super Queen Beauty Pageant in 2010 that has been a complete success. While other beauty pageants are beauty based, she has made this one slightly different by her optimistic approach.

Many other people like Vikram Seth (the author of A Suitable Boy), Manvendra Singh Gohil, Ashok Row Kavi ( Journalist and founder of Humsafar Trust) and many more have fought battles of life and proved to be victorious. Their determination to fight the world is worth appreciation. The society had never accepted them but they broke all stereotypes. Nobody ever realizes how difficult it is to fight with the society and come out glorious. These people are inspirations for the generations to come and have proved that they are as human as everyone else. They proved that excellent work speaks boldly and they are no less talented. They proved that they aren’t unnatural but the children of God, his creation like every other human being. Somewhere up there, God must have cried out of happiness to see his most cherished creations making their own path and identity.

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Purple Opinion

Happiest Birthday Narendra Modi Ji : To the man whose vision made our vision clearer about India

Shatakshi Saxena

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Narendra-Modi

While everyone today is busy telling his achievements as the Prime Minister of India, I wish to tell what I feel when I look up to him as a charismatic persona. For others you might be just another Prime Minister of the country but for me Modi ji you are more than that. You foremost are a responsible citizen whose only motive is to serve the nation. You are the man who works on the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When I say work, you actually follow their words and prove them reasonable. You have never been a politician but always above that to many in this country. You have been a ray of hope for every single person who sees India as a developed country whose culture is widely acknowledged. You have been the face of the youth for your words never fail to inspire us. From the Chief Minister pf Gujrat to the Prime Minister of India, your journey has been commendable. From Ache Din Aane Wale hain to Ache Din Aagaye, we realized what politics actually meant.

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Your humbleness towards everything has made things easier in every way. People might mock you for those foreign trips but I believe, every trip had a meaning and a very important result to it. From the Rafale Deal to the Bullet Train, you proved your words right about making India technologically strong. It was you whose voice echoed on all international forums when people began to know the power of India as a country. Your foreign trips made the foreign powers praise our country. It were your constant efforts towards the economic growth that even the International Monetary Fund accepted the fact that India since 2014 has grown as an economy and will continue to do so if you remain in power.

The opposition might target your policies of Demonetization and GST : One Nation One Tax but we as citizens truly applaud your efforts. No Prime Minister in the history of Indian politics took such great steps to nourish the economy in just 4 years. It wasn’t easy for you to do all of it with India being the second largest population, but you did it so swiftly. People say you aren’t that secular but I rather feel is it really true ? You have never in these four years played politics on religion. While you were working towards women empowerment, you did that equally. All women have entrepreneurship opportunities open irrespective of their religion. Even the Muslim women had the right to talk about the ill practices they have because they knew you would do something. You did sir, you truly made all efforts for the Triple Talaq Bill to pass and we believe, it will be passed soon.

You made women an integral, inseparable part of the Indian Navy, Indian Army and Indian Air Force. Yes, it was under your jurisdiction that Section 377 was removed and the LGBTQ community today has the right to walk, love and live freely. Your vision of making India one with no discrimination brought us to witness this wondrous decision. I never feel it right to blame you for those crimes that happen in the remote areas of the country or even in the cities. You can control the nation and its policies but negativity will stop only when people begin to think like you. Changing policies is your responsibility but changing mentality is the society’s role.

Every one says, the Prime Minister never comments on LGBTQ, never talks about Hindu Muslim riots or never speaks much on anything. It is because you feel the essence of seeing the country move ahead. Somewhere deep down, we know you are happy with all those decisions in favor of humanity and the country. Your work speaks enough for you when I find electricity in every village I visit. Your work speaks when I see Swach Bharat Abhiyan turning out so successfully all over the country. Your work speaks through Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, Ujwala Yojna, Niti Aayog and what not. Your work speaks when a child of 10 and an experienced man of 60 says the same thing : Iss Baar Phir Se Modi Sarkar.

On your 68th birthday, we wish you the Happiest birthday ever sir. Thank you for being someone above politics. For being you completely, for being our Modi Ji who never fears anything. From meeting thousands of people and children on Independence Day to walking with Atal Ji as a son till the end without security, you told us what actually being Narendra Modi means. No matter what politics turns up to be in future, you will forever remain to be the most favorite.

Regards,

Your admirer from the youth.

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Purple Opinion

Understanding what PHIA is and what it stands for

Wordhazard

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Phia-Foundation

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”

– Lily Tomlin

This realisation is PHIA, Partnering Hope Into Action. It believes in a mass change of views which is that the people of all castes, categories and creeds can lead a life without poverty, exclusion and discrimination. Every citizen of the country irrespective of gender, caste, economic background must have access to the rights, justice and dignity,the basic human rights.

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

– Mother Teresa

Basis of PHIA

Since PHIA Foundation calls the 21st century Indian poverty, a scandal, the organization vows to eliminate it  by paving the way for a society where the people from all walks of life have access to social justice and dignity. Local partners are spreading across the country to help proliferate development and humanitarian initiatives which will, in the long run, stem the root of poverty. A conjoined effort which is strong and is root of the problem is much needed.

PHIA has reached out to over four million individuals in some of the most remote areas of India (touching most of the rural locations). PHIA’s work is expanding and touching lives of various individuals across multiple states. Education, governance, gender equality, empowerment through technology, digital livelihoods and health and nutrition are emerging as the priority areas in which PHIA has partnered with multiple stakeholders to reach out to some of the most marginalized communities and areas.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller

PHIA and partners

Various civil society partners, social activists community leaders, private sector partners, philanthropy institutions and the government officials have joined hands in the mission to make an effort to make society free of poverty and discrimination with PHIA This includes the flagship PACS Programme that has reached over 9 million people in 7 of the poorest states. While the PACS program concluded, PHIA Foundation is helping take the processes and initiatives under PACS further into a new phase.

“We aspire to inspire you to join and support us in our mission to find solutions to poverty and moving towards a just world.”

-Belinda Bennet, Managing Trustee of Phia Foundation

PHIA is currently focusing on five key issues:

  • Empowering Rural Women Through Digital Literacy

Internet Saathi, an innovative approach developed by Google along with TATA Trust aims to effectively provide digital literacy to women in rural areas. This is to intensify the number of female users of smartphone  to generate a self reliant means of sustenance for a female individual in-habitated into the remote & interiors regions.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has given birth to enough success stories to change the status quo on female digital literacy turningit into a phenomenal transformation.Breaking various caste barriers, there are women from socially backward classes who’ve left behind the social norms & crossed the line of confinements to pursue their liberty.

Internet Saathi has brought about a Social Cohesion in the complex fabric of society just by digital education. Women arenow challenging social stigmas and eagerly look towards to work on pertaining social issues.

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  • Socio-Economic Development of Women Through Adult Literacy

Literacy plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of the country and female literacy is very crucial for the women empowerment. With an objective to empower women and socially excluded communities through education and literacy, PHIA joined hands with Tata Consultancy Services to impart functional literacy skills in rural areas of 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh. The support of TCS is basis for creation of IT enabled Computer Based Functional Literacy (CBFL) solution which is a combination of the theories of Cognition, Language and Communication.

CBFL solution for adult literacy is in complete sync with TCS’s Adult Literacy Programme (ALP) that falls under the ‘people’ segment of the triple bottom-line sustainability strategy of TCS.  Leveraging PHIA’s social capital in the state, PHIA Foundation started the implementation of TCS-Computer based Functional Literacy project  across 10 districts.

77 Internet Saathi, social capital created through the Internet Saathi Project, (supported by Google and Tata Trust) which digitally empower rural women, were also brought on-board as instructor for this project. Tapping on the existing social capital eventually enhanced the efficiencies and resulted into a larger impact at grassroot level.PHIA Foundation and Tata Consultancy Services deployed the CBFL project, unanimously naming it as “Nai Shuruwat Sehaj Shiksha Pariyojna” in 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh starting November 2018.

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  • Livelihood Initiative for Digitally Enabled Women

Digital Livelihood is empowering the Saath is with a self reliant pathways which is sustainable & digital in nature. Enabling to create entrepreneurs & leaders at a primitive level who have successfully engaged themselves into the learnings of digital based literacy,it aims to enhance their capabilities & equip with knowledge to lead a better standard of life.

Presently, Tata Trust have partnered with PHIA Foundation for utilising its social capital for assisting the district based teams in improving the quality of data for key performance indicators of aspirational district programme. NITI Aayog has ranked 101 aspirational districts across India. The ranking involved conducting Household and Institutional Surveys to understand the ground situation. Internet Saathis associated with Phia took up this work in Chandauli and Siddharthanagar districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Another project named ‘SMART BETIYAAN‘  is one of the initiatived undertaken for the Digital Livelihood Program supported by Foundation for Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) in association with UNICEF, is implemented by PHIA Foundation in Uttar Pradesh. It envisions to create healthy spaces for female by working on the instances of child marriage.

“Smart Betiyan” is functional in places like Shravasti and Balrampur which are counted as the hub of this malpractice.

 

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  •  Redefining Masculinity Through ‘Its Possible Campaign’

It’s Possible” as the nomenclature suggests attempts to create an egalitarian society which offers justice to both the sexes & promote gender equality by redefining notions of masculinity.

The campaign works on changing the age old patriarchal attitudes and behavior focusing on the following five key themes:

  1. Language
  2. Honour
  3. Freedom of Choice
  4. Division of labour at home
  5. Parenting

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

– Rosa Parks

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  • Improving Education Outcomes for Children’s Right and Development

PHIA Foundation with support of Unicef is collectively working on the issues related to child right and development, inclusive of quality education to ensure the overall development of children and reduction in school dropout rate.

Coalition on Child Rights and Development (CCRD) is a initiative on which PHIA is working with 16 CSOs in developing the Citizen report,  improving basic requirements under Grievance redressal, improving student -teacher ratio,”Har Bachha School Mein” Abhiyaan and many more.

Following commencement of the first phase of CCRD project, a few important steps wereinitially taken to bring together various stakeholders and collectives of children, teachers, youth groups, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), CSOs and the Government, both at state and district levels. Motive was to address the issue of promoting and advocating rights of children, with education being the central focus to improve enrolment, attendance and school completion, and their participation in activities to promote healthy & active living.

This mobilization has set up an alliance from where more focused interventions can be launched not only to further quality education but other areas as well for holistic development of children and their rights.

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By: Aishwarya & Yashdeep

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