Fall of Kabul, 2021

While the US prepared their exit by 9th September 2021, the Taliban rose to become the dominant political and military power in Afghanistan. After capturing Herat in the extreme west, the Taliban proceeded rapidly towards the east, where the bigger cities like Kabul and Kandahar are located.

This is not the first time the Taliban has risen to power following an unstable Government in power in Kabul. In 1995, a civil war started in Afghanistan, following which the Taliban rose to power. After a failed attempt, the Taliban established their base at Herat on the western part of the country, and again launched an offensive to Kabul. Kabul fell in 1996 and Afghanistan passed into the hands of the Taliban. The siege was only for 5 years, but it resulted in Afghanistan’s economy rolling back at least 25 years.

Mass destruction, killing and raping of women, and blowing up of archaeological monuments are features of the Taliban regime. US troops gradually repealed the Taliban from 2001 onwards and took up Kabul. However, they could not completely wipe out Taliban leadership and ideology and it soon gained momentum in remote parts of the country. Though the Taliban were a nightmare for the women, Taliban support still built up on a large scale across the remote regions. The US alleged that Pakistan sponsored the Taliban providing them shelter in Quetta.

Several countries like India, Afghanistan Government, the US, Russia alleged that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorist organizations. The allegations were proved right when Osama-bin-Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 US bombardment attacks was found and killed in Pakistan. For a brief period, the progress of Al-Qaeda and Taliban were overshadowed by the rapid progress of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and their suicidal attacks in other parts of the world. Heavy bombardment by the US, Russia and other world superpowers ensured that ISIS didn’t last long. While the world helped Syria and Iraq wipe out ISIS, the US was making peace talks with the Taliban to ensure peace in Afghanistan. After the fall of ISIS, the Taliban still held their ground with military and finance aid from neighbouring countries that allegedly include Pakistan.

Things took a decisive turn as US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by 11th September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The US made a peace deal with the Taliban, where mutual peace and unity between Afghanistan Government controlled areas and Taliban controlled areas were signed. However, as soon as the withdrawal of US troops started, the Taliban started capturing one city after another in bitter street fighting. Within 3-4 weeks, the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, the southern city of Kandahar, the western city of Herat was captured by Taliban forces.

The Afghan military provided almost zero resistance to the Taliban attacks, most of them switched sides taking the opportunity of lack of nationalism and leadership from the Government. Despite Joe Biden assuring that Afghanistan is self-sufficient in military power to combat any Taliban uprising, the reality shows a completely different picture. Covering almost the entire Afghanistan, the Taliban now attacked Kabul from all sides. The Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul on the night of siege and took refuge in either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. Street fighting started in Kabul but there was hardly anyone loyal to the Afghanistan Government and most has switched sides. Kabul passed into the hands of the Taliban, who now proclaimed their country as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The fall of Kabul in August 2021, marked the beginning of a new era of Taliban rule over Afghanistan. Parts of the city, around the airport, where most of the foreign residents living in the country are escaping were spared from damage. As soon as all foreign countries finish their evacuation of citizens, entire Afghanistan will pass into the hands of the Taliban. Many Afghans want to leave the country to find shelter in other developed countries but are unprepared given how quickly the Taliban captured one city after another. While Taliban rule is a nightmare for women and minorities, they have no option other than hope that the new rule of Taliban will not be doing mass raping or ethnic cleansing and treat everyone with respect and give importance to education and growth of the economy of the war-torn country.

Written by – Himadri Paul

What is Real Feminism?

Feminism is the theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, also known as ~gender equality~. It is a simple notion that women are people, and they are equal. It isn’t asking for anything but equal rights and opportunities. However, more often than not, its meaning gets manipulated by male chauvinists to indicate that it’s a moment meant to demean men, which is so not the case.

In no way does it mean that we hate our men. Men of quality support equality. Both conscious and unconscious gender bias is rampant within us, and to get rid of it, we need to come to terms with the fact that we are the problem, but we are the solution.

Thousands believe in equal rights but find “feminism” a word and a movement that doesn’t align with their personal believes or values. May I ask them why is that? Don’t we have a word for everything in this world? In what way could a word that is just conveying its meaning be offending to someone? You believe in equality but not in feminism is a catastrophe because they aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s common sense. It just asks women to be placed on the same level as men, neither higher nor lower, and get the same treatment in both positive and negative situations.

It strives to shine a light on the deep-rooted patriarchy and misogyny embedded in our society and provides ways to fix it. It is essential that your feminism is intersectional and doesn’t exclude people based on their religion, race, and socio-economic status. It needs to be for everyone and not categorically for the people you like or dislike. A big part of feminism is letting women do whatever the hell they want to. This includes supporting them when they want to become the president and supporting them when they don’t want to work and stay home. Personally, it means not giving the reigns of my life to a male simply because I’m a woman and he’s a man; To get disrespected and not have my opinion heard because of my gender; to not have a seat at the table because of my gender. All of this doesn’t make any sense, especially in the 21st century, because any given woman possesses as much power and potential as any man does. And to that section of people at the back who couldn’t care any less about this because they simply don’t see the discrimination and injustice going around, you must either have buttons for eyes or are simply blinded by the amazing combination of your extreme faux notion and idea of equality on the outside and your inner male superiority complex. Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.

As the glorious Letty Cottin Pogrebin’s rightly said, “When men are oppressed, it’s a tragedy, but when women are oppressed, its tradition”. And in my humble opinion dumping that tradition out of the park is exactly what feminism is about.

Written by – Radhika Ahuja

Shop for our products and get a chance to win Scholarships up-to Rs 25,000 – Yirkart.com

Women-the mighty angels

Women and her role:

Women play a crucial role in the development and the quality of life in the family and the society. They are the explorers of the nation. Women nowadays explore the world and exhibit their skills in all the fields. During olden times, women were involved and engaged only in certain fields of work and men excelled in everything. But now, everything has changed. Women and men equally take part and excel in all kinds of fields.

Women- the mighty angels

Though we may say that both men and women are treated equally at the workplace, it doesn’t imply at home. As a mother, as a wife, she takes up more responsibilities than men. She sacrifices her contentment for the sake of her family. In olden days, when women were bound to stay at home with no education offered, she took care of all the family members despite her problems. Now, she does the same at home and she also works hard at the workplace.

Woman at home:

Psychologists report that women are more depressed when compared to men. Men are the major source of income for a family. So he puts all his efforts and focuses mainly on his work. Whereas women had to focus on their work, their family and hence she gets exhausted. She barely gets some time. It leads to depression. Men wanted to share their financial issues with her but are not ready to share the household chores with her. That is why we proclaim it as ‘the male dominated society’. Maybe most of the things have changed, but not this issue at home. So, she over strains herself in managing both the home and the workplace.

She plays the role of mother, wife, daughter, cook, artist, caretaker, administrator in a family. Though she gets exhausted carrying all the daily chores, she is more than happy to do it. She never complaints and never expects someone to replace her. But, it is every man’s duty to help the woman in her chores.

She is actually the ruler of the home. But she never proclaims it. A ruler is not someone who orders or commands people. A ruler is a person who leads for the betterment of their territory. In that case, a woman is the ruler of the home.

They have occupied a noble position in family and society. However, social evils against women are still a challenge. We can claim ‘Women freedom’ only if all the social problems faced by her come to an end. She is an angel to earth. Treat her like a queen and not the maid of the house.

Written by R.Varsha

http://neelakalam.com/author/Varsha/

DEBATE AROUND MINIMUM AGE OF MARRIAGE FOR WOMEN

Since PM NARENDRA MODI addressed the nation on INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2020 about raising the legal age for marriage of women in India, there has been an ongoing debate. The controversy is for what should be done and what should be done the public suggests for the same.


We live in a country that sees girls as the embodiments of Goodness of wealth, knowledge, and destruction; ironically, the same society sees the same girl as a burden, responsibility, and liability.


Is an 18-year-old girl too young to marry? An appointed government panel is studying the question, PM Modi said recently.
Well, we can see that a minimum age given as a “MANDATORY AGE” by most of the population. The given period only means that there could be criminal prosecution under the child marriage law below that age.


Getting eligible for marriage at the age of 18 does not mean that as soon as the girl turns 18, you bound her in a bond and pressurize her under responsibilities, which she is not ready to take or carry.
Many say that girls mature earlier than boys. So they should have a lower age of marriage, but this is a very old concept now.
It is the 21st century; if you say that men and women are equal, then don’t discriminate by something that is the most fundamental part of life.

village women
Marriage during childhood is a curse


Marriage is not something that is done to gain social or economic status.
Many experts who favor raising the marriage age for girls from 18 to 21 years- the same as for boys- say it will have many social and economic benefits, including reducing malnutrition and maternal mortality.

But others say that marrying before 18 is more about poverty, lack of access to education, and inability to find jobs rather than social pressures and community practices.

We can say that there is a problem with society’s mentality – taking a girl child as a burden from the start and finding all means and ways to get rid of that burden.
No doubt that better education and job opportunities will reduce early marriage.


Every fourth woman in India is married by the age of 18.
Further, on if we see there are other setbacks too if a girl’s marriage occurs at a young age :

BAD FOR THE WOMEN AND CHILD:

A WHO survey across 29 countries, including India, shows early childbearing increases the risk of death during pregnancy and labor. Girls under 18 years are at greater risk during childbirth than those aged 20-22 years.
Also, girls married early are twice as likely to be undernourished as those married 25 years and above.
· India has a higher maternal mortality rate than any of its BRICS counterparts. It does better than Bangladesh and Nepal but worse than Pakistan and Sri Lanka
· Early childbearing also raises risks for the child. A study found that becoming a mother before 19 has a 20-30% higher risk of preterm and low-weight birth than at 20-24 years. Children of teenage mothers are more likely to die in infancy.

WORKING WOMEN MEANS MORE WEALTH:

Women trapped early in-home and fulfilling responsibilities can’t go out to work, which is not just a personal but also a national loss. A 2018 report by the McKinsey Global Institute said India’s GDP would be $770 billion higher by 2025 if women got the same opportunities to work as men. According to Oxfam, unpaid work by Indian women is worth 3.1% of the GDP.

LARGE FAMILY SIZE
INCREASE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
DECLINE IN PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH FOR WOMEN
TRAFFICKING AND SALES OF GIRLS BECOMES EASIER.

THE COUPLE REMAINS IMMATURE TO COPE UP WITH MARRIAGE (fail to understand the value of marriage.)
No doubt, early marriage is a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation, especially for girls.
It’s high time now that we realize that raising the age to 21 is necessary for the foundation of a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable country.
Education and awareness have undoubtedly played a key to empowerment and have reduced the percentage of women getting married at an early age, but still, we have a lot reduced.
SHE IS NEITHER A BURDEN NOR A LIABILITY,
SHE IS JUST A HUMAN WHO WISHES TO ACHIEVE HER DREAMS!
AND LIVE A LIFE WHAT SHE DECIDES FOR HERSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL!

Let’s hope the government panel in charge of the issue makes a wise decision. And the minimum age of a girl for marriage should raise to 21 years.

PENNED BY MEENAL JAIN.

Join the YIR Learn and Earn Program – Click here

Menstruation – A Taboo in 21st Century

Written by- Ishita Singh

Menstruation simply means the female period or Menses, is a natural process which occurs every month inside a female’s body. It regulates the secretion of essential hormones to keep the body healthy. It prepares the body for fertility each month. Having uniform menstruation every month stipulates a healthy body yet girls and women in India undergo intense struggle to manage periods every month and till now the topic of menstruation is contemplated as a gag affair and kept under the wraps of “Black Plastic Bags or Newspaper Wraps”.

In India, a woman on her periods is not allowed to go at any religious place like temple. They are also not allowed to enter the kitchen as it signifies impurity, touching a jar of pickles and whatnot, as they’re considered “Unclean”. According to a UNICEF study, 48% of girls in Iran believes that menstruation is a disease. While with access to sanitary pads women can now maintain proper hygiene during “those five days”, the social stigma still manages to get to her, making her feel “unclean”.

While in India only 36% of the women in India use Sanitary Pads during period and there are 355 Million is the number of Menstruating women in India which is approximately 30% of the country’s population still 71% adolescent girls in India remain unaware of mensuration till Menarche. A 2014 report by the NGO Dasra entitled Spot On! found that practically 23 million girls drop out of school per year due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene management facilities, which include availability of sanitary napkins and logical awareness of menstruation. 


Lack of Awareness

Lack of awareness is a major problem in India’s Menstrual Hygiene Structure. A report by Indian Council for Medical Research claims that only 38% menstruating girls spoke to their mothers about Menstruation whereas a survey conducted by Ministry of Education found that 63% of schools, teachers never want to  discuss about menstruation and how to deal with it in a hygienic manner to the students.

Lack of Sanitary Pads and Proper Facilities

In Urban Areas availability of sanitary pads for a woman aware of Menstruation is a normal process as sanitary pads are available on Medical Stores, General Store and grocery stores and they are treated as any other product. In rural areas, sanitary napkins are found with difficulty. Girls there mostly rely on cloth material which unhygienic and such methods increase chances of infection and severe menstrual diseases. About 2-3% of girls in rural areas have access to sanitary pads. The shopkeepers never stock sanitary napkins there because they feel shameful while selling it and even people feel shame to ask for it even girls themselves.

“It has been seen in rural areas that two-three women of the same family use the same cloth during menstruation, after washing and drying it. This is extremely unhealthy and brings numerous health risks. Sanitary napkins are a luxury in rural areas and small towns. Even if available, women are discouraged from spending on sanitary napkins as old clothes or sand is thought to be good enough for something ‘dirty’ like menstruation, said Ms Sharma – NDTV India”.

Government Schemes on Menstruation.

Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, menstrual hygiene is topic of primary importance. The Swachh Bharat (Rural) guidelines directly states that funds allocated for information, education and communication (IEC) should be spent on spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene in villages.Importance and proper knowledge of menstrual hygiene and development of local sanitary napkin manufacturing units is encouraged by Swachh Bharat Mission (rural) and self-help groups are to help in propagating such efforts.

“Only way to curb this issue is EDUCATION”.