Sahil Sehgal

Fighting Phoenix : Story Of Laxmi

Walking on the ramp, each move showing her confidence, acid attack survivor Laxmi refused to be called a victim; instead she chose to be an inspiring fighter.

A perfect figure and an appealing face is a necessity to be a brand ambassador of a fashion label, or so the world says. However, clothing brand “Viva D Diva” planned a campaign called “Face of Courage” challenging the outlook of people towards fashion and beauty. And they could not find anyone better than Laxmi, the most outspoken advocate against acid attacks.

Source : indiatimes.com

Source : indiatimes.com

Her journey from a victim to a fighter and a living inspiration was both mentally and physically challenging. Laxmi , was born to an impoverished family in New Delhi. Her life was not much more different from the millions of teenage girls in India but it remained so till 2005 only.
In 2005, teenaged Laxmi faced a horrific acid attack. A man double her age had an eye on her. He asked her to marry him but she turned it down as a result of that refusal he planned an acid attack and attacked her with acid while walking at a bus stop located in south Delhi’s famous and populous Khan Market. The man who claimed to love that face left a permanent scar on it.
The journey to recovery was full of challenges; the sole earner of the family was her father and it was not easy for him to manage the expenses. But family was always on her support in her fight. Seven surgeries were carried out in total to find a figured face.
Some of the toughest were her initial days, and not making it easier was the fact that the outlook of society towards her was more painful than her wounds. But this was when she developed the habit of challenging the stereotypes set by society; she gathered courage and added tailoring and the art of beautification to her basic computer skills to find a job for her but nobody was willing to give her a job just because that her face was scary for them. Meanwhile, her attacker was on bail and soon was living happily married while she was suffering, having done no wrong at all.
This injustice called to time for a change and Laxmi’s crusade against acid attack began in 2006 when along with another acid attack survivor Rupa, she filled a Public Interest Litigation in the supreme Court to regulate the sale of acid. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of her plea. This was her victory, her moment of pride.
Her victories and accomplishments started a chain. She started the campaign “Stop acid attacks”. She was the director of Chhavn foundation, an NGO dedicated to help other acid attack survivors. The woman who had been denied a job a few years back was now the host of a TV series called “Udaan”, her own television show launched on News X on the 8th of March 2014 based on the stories of acid attack survivors.
Her biggest came was when the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama awarded Laxmi with the International Women of Courage Award in March 2014.
A revolution, a change came in her personal life in January 2014. A man once altered her life, changing it forever, leaving her with a chip on her shoulder. But now came a man who took away the chip, a man to whom her scars did not matter.
Alok Dixit, a social activist had also set out to fight against the scourge of acid attacks. She could not have asked anyone better than him. But the two decided not to marry for they wanted to challenge the society they started a relationship of understanding and support, without giving a name to it.
Challenging the taboos of society Laxmi has faced the world boldly.
For those who think that an attack to face can destroy a woman’s life she is an extraordinary example of courage and inspiration. She not only fought her own fight but is also doing so for so many others on the same journey she once took.
Laxmi has now entered a new phase of her life by becoming the mother of a daughter.

Source : indianexpress.com

Source : indianexpress.com

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Fighting Phoenix : Story of Ritu

Every year the alarming statistics of acid attacks come to light. According to a report published in “The Indian Express”, there is 300% rise in acid attacks in last three years. The acid attack survivors go through a deep dark phase. At an age when girls think about careers and relationships these survivors go through the struggle of getting a figured face. The agony and ordeal they go through is not easy to be faced.

While many survivors lose the hope in between their struggle there are girls who led by their example and fight for the justice.

On May 26, 2012 the life of Ritu, daughter of Sita Ram Saini, an automobile mechanic and a resident of Rohtak, Haryana became a living nightmare. The fall out of a property dispute changed her life overnight. She faced an acid attack which was plotted by her relatives.

Her parents had never dreamt of her daughter naming among the victims of crimes against women.

She was a student of Class Sixth in Saini High School in Rohtak when she fall in love with volleyball. She used to go to court everyday for her practice. She left her home like any other day totally unnerved about the phase that was going to start. She reached the Prem Nagar Chowk around four in evening, two men approached her on a bike. Before she could sense anything the pillion rider splashed acid over her.

Since that day a difficult journey from despair to hope started for her.

Everybody at that place crowded around her as she laid there squirming in pain but nobody stepped forth for help.  It was her elder Brother who spotted her there and rushed her to the Post Graduate Institute Of Medical Sciences in a police van.She had put her hand up to her face and the skin started peeled off. She can never forget the agony that she felt as acid tricked down her face onto her neck. She opened her eyes around her Parents in Hospital Ward Room. In her parents eyes she could see her forever disfigured face. She was in intensive care unit for seven days. From that day every second that pasts she asks herself a single question that what had she done to deserve this cruelty. But her burns were more than an acid attack. Her aunt Rajwanti had hired two men to target her parents over property dispute.

Once she was a happy go girl full of dreams and desires. She loved herself like anyone, she loved getting dressed up for her birthdays, she loved to live life to the fullest but now her life was within a hospital room. Her school, volleyball court everything was there but all this now reminded her the pain she had gone through. She herself could not recognize her face. The girl in her photo albums was gone. She had 45% of her body burnt, 90% of her face was damaged and acid had also affected her eyes.

But the journey began that day when she decided that she’ll fight the legal fight till the end. Police filled the charge sheet after the five months of incident three of the accused were booked under section 307 and five were booked under section 120 B. When Punjab and Haryana High Courts had granted bail to Rajwanti and Raju she had approached higher courts so look into the to ensure speedy justice.

Though initially she totally withdrew herself from friends and family but the support of her three brothers mounted her from darkness. Her father is the sole bread earner for the family of six members. Her medical expenses had added to his burden. She had received a help for her plastic surgery from State Government under Relief and Rehabilitation of Women Acid victim Scheme.

Her painful days and sleepless nights got an end when she started working at “Sheroes Hangout” and started campaigning for “Stop Acid Attacks”. She started recovering both on mental and physical level when she started helping Rupa at Sheroes in her dream project , “A design Home”.

As a campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks the message she wants to convey to the whole world is that there must be no room for violence in the lives of people. To burn, ma me, disfigure or mutilate another human being is far from humanity. If these crimes happening around us, we must once condemn these, and recognize the need to embrace peace and compassion.

The burns on her body has never be able to burn the courage in her heart. She is a true inspiration.

Pictures Source : hindustantimes. com,                                                mirror.co.uk

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When eating becomes a sin.

At some point of time in our lives, we all have felt that a dress or a shirt would fit us better if we were a little skinny. We like to think that our entire personality, very well including the way we look would improve if we lost a few kgs. This line of thought is so very common but for a few, it turns into an obsession. Eventually leading to many diseases, the most prominent being an eating disorder.

We all love to eat but more than that, food is a necessity. Now, imagine having a condition where you eat excessively and then feel bad about it, where your image about yourself is so deteriorated that you think you can never be pretty unless you lose weight . Eating becomes a sin and everytime you feed yourself, you feel so bad that you induce in self-purging or excessive exercise or sometimes both. This condition is called bulimia nervosa. It is a life threatening disease which has affected people all over the world.
Bulimia is not just related to food but also to self-image. A skinny person who thinks that they are a little overweight can also develop bulimia. It causes an obsession with the body shape and weight and the fear of gaining weight takes up mostly all the spacbulimiae in their heads.
Bulimia is not just a mental disease, but it can also physically exhaust the body to such an extent that a person starts developing other health problems some of which include dehydration, heart problems, dental problems and anxiety and depression.
Many times since my childhood, I’ve felt that I was a little overweight and that people judge me because of it. Being called fat, even as a joke affected me a lot. Even today I buy almost all my clothes keeping in mind that I shouldn’t appear fat in them. Many people might have felt the same way. Our society promotes such unrealistic body images that it becomes unhealthy. Sometimes such feelings combined with comments or even looks can cause people to feel uncomfortable. Not just that, today we see all these “perfect figures” that make us feel insecure. All these factors can lead to someone happy and carefree develop bulimia.
What I feel is that we all should love ourselves for what we are for our body may look whatever way but what really matters is how we are inside. I would rather be a fat person with a good heart than a thin person with no heart.
Bulimia is a serious disorder and needs to be brought to attention. If you feel that someone around you maybe suffering from it or be on the verge of it, help them see that there is much more in life than fitting into society’s notions of beauty.

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Molesty to Modesty

Crimes against women have continued unabated in Haryana. According to a statement presented before the assembly, a total of 2,715 cases of various crimes against women were registered, which comes to about 67 cases per day of these cases 917 are cases of rape, molestation and sexual harassment.

These brutal rapists leave the Victims in the hollow chambers of society. Instead of showing hospitality towards them, they are looked upon as a black mark on society. Unfortunately, the victims live a life of guilty.

But humanity still finds its way out in the real world. One of such rape survivor is blessed with a person who challenged this taboo.

Per a story that appeared in “The Times Of India”. A 29-year-old farmer, Jitender Chhatar, from Jind district in Haryana, married a rape survivor in December, 2015. The family of girl had approached Jitender and his family with the marriage proposal. Jitender’s family agreed to their proposal even after knowing that she was raped and abused.

Jitender not only married her but also has joined her fight for justice. He has also enrolled her in a Law Course so that she knows that she’s getting proper justice. After becoming a lawyer he wants her to help other rape survivors. They have also started a platform called “Youth Against Rapes”.

Neeraj, a coaching class owner with four others which included a woman have repeatedly been blackmailing Jitender and his wife. Police managed to caught the woman red-handed who had come to Panipat to get an installment of extortion money. The case was then shifted to Jind and other accused were also arrested.

Neeraj, the main culprit have also offered Rs 70 Lakh for a compromise as the other  accused are arrested. Jitender and his wife have been repeatedly threatened. Neeraj has also filled two false case against  Jitender.

But Jitender is actively fighting for Justice. Jitender is now seeking the help of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Jitender has been setting an extraordinary example for the society to follow. Our society needs more man like him who can dare to fight off the taboo.

Picture source – indianexpress.com

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Dont cha shame my body.

When I was in 2nd class, I started transforming from this too thin kid to a slightly chubby child and from there it was a downward spiral to being fat. So my puberty years were a constant battle between eating what I love and trying to lose weight. My constant love for food would come up as a winner every time resulting in me living my life still covered in my fat.

I remember the days when I used to stand in front of the mirror, staring at every aspect of my body and slowly pointing out the flaws. I could do this for hours and then to feel better I would probably eat. There were days when this would just motivate me to put on my shoes and exercise but those days were rare like really rare.

I speak of the days as if they are in the past while the truth is, I still look at myself in the mirror and make a wish for being maybe a little bit more thinner. These wishes usually die along with my self-esteem. This article was supposed to be about hoimagesw body shaming is wrong and everyone can get over it but let’s face the truth, body shaming is a real issue and once it makes its way into your head, once you start calling yourself ugly because you hate your body, getting out of it becomes the hardest thing to do.

Sometimes when I’m running, I can hear all the words I have been called by, so I run even more, till the time I’m nothing but wreck of my own breathe.

How weird it is that my body which has been with my throughout is something I have learned to hate just because it’s not the way I wanted it to be. Well maybe nothing is, maybe some very thin girl is looking at my body and thinking about how she wishes she was a little chubbier, maybe a slight chubby girl is trying hard to look like that skinny girl.

We need to stop this. We need to stop looking down at our bodies and feeling like god has made up a disaster. It’s not easy but we need to do it.. I need to accept my fat and you need to accept your body. You also need to close your ears to all those comments and insults which tell you that your body is anything less than perfect.

Because trust me, you are beautiful the way you are.download (2)

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Sex: As Natural As Poop!

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A word as simple as “Sex”, is refused to be said out loud by a lot of people because of the taboos attached to it. Sex seems like the Lord Voldemort of the Muggle world (Harry Potter Reference), where everyone knows that it exists but no one dares to speak about it, at least not in the open. Where Censor Board in our country tries to blur the scenes and ban the movies that show even the slightest potential to be screened for “adults”, on the other hand we also have people trying to do the “Kiss of Love”, First Youtube Video to show Indian people kissing the same sex, and other kind of social experiments to make others aware about Sexuality. It seems like a hypocrisy to the country that has given birth to things like Kamasutra, sculptures in Khajurao etc to not talk about sex and label it against the culture. It should rather be the other way round!

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One needs to understand that fantasy is a natural part in any human life. Our goals, our passion, our dreams somewhere, somehow are a part of the fantasy world that we want to live in. This can even expand to our sexual needs. One might fantasize by watching porn movies, soft porn, movies that showcase nudity, by touching oneself, or even by looking at something. All of it falls under the umbrella of NORMAL Fantasies which come natural to human beings. One needs to draw line when it comes to glorification of sex or accessing activities that advertise rape or other unacceptable actions. Many Psychologists believe that if a person can watch porn, they have an unconscious desire or a potential to rape as well, whereas others believe that porn addresses merely to pleasure and nothing more than that! I guess it all comes down to an Individual. No one is a born rapist. One needs to develop self-control and understand that pleasures like Masturbation, touching oneself, and watching porn need to be one’s own business!

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Not talking about the hormonal and bodily changes to people close to oneself might lead to sexual tensions and curiosities that you yourself might not be able to find answers to. Keeping it to oneself will lead to nothing more than sexual tensions, weird thoughts and anxiety. One needs to share what one feels, what one thinks and what one experiences to someone close, be it family, friends or anyone close and trusted in general. Watching porn, Masturbation, Attraction, Love are all very natural feelings that have been coming to the human beings even before fire was discovered. There is no shame in accepting what you are! There is no shame in doing things that everyone refuses to talk about. Dialogue makes it a lot easier! When we were kids, we used to refer to pooping as “number 2”, it is the same phenomena! If we wouldn’t have talked about it at the right age we wouldn’t have been potty trained correctly. The interaction allowed us to refer to “number 2” as poop, openly. If we can overcome that shyness, then why not this! Sex is as natural as POOP!

 

Take Care!

 

 

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Sex and it’s myths.

At the tender age of 12, a boy or even a girl’s mind doesn’t think much above sex. It’s mostly in the case of boys but let’s not be sexist here.aid421997-728px-Cope-With-Sex-Education-Step-2-Version-2

These boys, who at the peak of their curiosity seemed to be eager to talk and know everything even remotely related to sex. They try all means to find out as much as they can. So by the age of approximately 16, their heads are full of information about sex but this information may not always be right. Their particular facts come from everywhere from word of mouth to porn.

As most adolescents spend most of their puberty period watching porn, they start to have unrealistic expectations about sex.  So much so that most teenagers feel that women are extremely flexible and can almost turn in any direction. These unrealistic expectations usually lead to massive amounts of disappointment and dissatisfaction when they finally lose their virginity.

A lot of women when finally are at the platform where they are ready to lose their virginity, find themselves at the step of disappointment because most women do not orgasm when they have sex for the first time but most people are unaware of this.

What’s more is that porn is made up of a Utopian world where both men and women have the perfect bodies and everything they do feels like a million crackers bursting out in the sky, while in reality sometimes it’s just an awkward act because none of you or one of you can’t reach their ecstasy point.

Most of these things are learnt by teenagers because their knowledge comes from only hearsay and porn. One myth goes to huge lengths in putting corrupt knowledge in the minds of these not so innocent kids.

So sex is a lot of things most teenagers aren’t even aware of, that’s why we need sex education in India, we need them to know, we need them to expect the right things and not get disappointed when they are actually in that situation.

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Sex: As a Taboo

What is sex? This question seems to be hitting the minds of adolescents way too soon and for a long time they roam around with doubts bubbling in their heads. Then like an angel from the heaven above, almost always, as friend comes in porn wipes away all their doubts by parting their wisdom.

This is what we have left our generation to do? To figure this out themselves?

Sex education is very important because at the time of puberty the hormones are in full gear. The sexual needs are starting to come up and most adolescents are unaware of how to  treat it. Most people at this age supress their sexual needs a lot because of embarrassment and the uncomfortable feeling this unfamiliarity follows. While some others, involve in sexual activities excessively. The risk of getting pregnant runs high in such people because they are very unaware of what they are doing and don’t understand the repercussions.

The need for making these adolescents understand the importance of practicing safe sex is very high. Thus sex education183056006 comes in handy but in India, most people believe that if they provide these teenagers with sex education, that would just encourage them further to involve in sexual activities.

The truth is that teenagers today are having sex. So the whole idea of not talking about it, not addressing it all or even mentioning anything related to it, is plain old stupid. The stigma over sex is so high that the word sex itself sends ripples of disapproval in the Indian society.   But sex is normal, it’s a natural process for the fulfilment of our needs. It’s not something that should be closed behind a door never to be addressed again. Although it should be done behind closed doors.

Our schools need to address this subject because the importance of sex education is at an all time high. So let’s get over this stupid stigma and accept sex as natural.

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Sex is a Myth

 

With the current situation of Sexual education in India, Sex does not seem less than a myth. Like Unicorn, Santa Claus, Global Warming (Sarcasm!), sex in our country looks like something that only happens in western countries. With the recent outrage against the censor board of India upon banning a movie because of certain foul language and “indecent” story line it is pretty clear that how open our society is about discussing issues it is uncomfortable with. This discomfort in no way takes away the right of youngsters to lessen their curiosity by asking questions, by exploring their sexuality or through visuals. Even the misconception that sex education only talks about sexual intercourse needs to be dealt with. The genders, genitals, hormonal changes, good-touche & bad-touch all collectively form a very intense curriculum for a holistic sex education.

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This week we cover Sex Education as a whole to help all the young ones find answers they might not be able to ask comfortably. Also to tell all the “Adults” that Sex isn’t a stigma, but Ignorance is.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiIxkOah09E)

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiIxkOah09E

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Steps towards progress.

This write up was written by Annie sharma.

Why make any extra efforts when there are hundreds of people who could do the same? Why vouch for someone who desperately needs our voice? Why invite load for ourselves, and that too unnecessarily, especially when one can choose to confine themselves in their own world, happy and satisfied in our existence?

If only man could be a little more sensitive, we as a society would have been successful in making the world a tad bit happier. There exists a dearth of love, and care for the fellow beings, and has been killing man and his inner happiness ever since, for the longest time. When it comes to taking stand for other people, the general tendency is to withdraw into our own bubble with our families and settle down in a cocoon of safety and comfort. The expectation is that somebody else will do it, after all, what good can possibly come to you and your family, from putting yourself out there.

And with this very concern in mind, I Am Still Human in collaboration with the Alankrit Theatre group and students of Mount Carmel School, sec-47

Presented a nukkad natak in sector -17 on the 3rd of July. The play was based on the ever increasing empathy and social realities slightly different from the format of other plays.  The play was directed by Mr. Sarvagya Pahuja and written by Prateek Mehra. It was a combined effort to promote awareness regarding the noticeable evils that everybody sees yet ignores. How turning a blind eye has become a somewhat of a trend.

I Am Still Human, a Non-Governmental Organization, aims to bring a positive change with the helpIMG-20160703-WA0013 of the youth and in the process of doing so, change their lives for the best and help them be the best they are capable of being.

 

The nukkad natak was enjoyed by all present there. The number of people invited and the many people who came by only listening to the calls and performance of this nukkad natak reached atleast 500. Not only were the efforts appreciated, but many people even stepped forward to join us in our cause. The act was unique in its own way and showcased a new issue. The excitement level amongst the people could be seen through their response. It motivated the crowd and the people themselves came up to share their views on the issue. Everybody was stunned to see the passion and determination, to bring about a change, in the eyes of the artist. We at I Am Still Human believe that our task isn’t complete until and unless we are able to make a difference in the thinking of people and modulate it for the best. The same could clearly be achieved through the effort of the young artists and a humble initiative of the I Am Still Human team.

 

 

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