I am back with my Sunday blog of #i_am_me series for KalaManthan and I am feeling super energetic right now. Today we have someone with us who believes in the concept – “Fortune favours the Brave” and defined her own path of helping women to upgrade themselves from health and hygiene issue. She is tirelessly working for the betterment of the fairer sex in the remotest villages.
Today we get candid with an amazing person who has stood up in her life to help the woman and educate them about their issues. Today we are in conversation with a Life Coach, an NLP Practitioner and the Founder of Mukty Mission – Ms Rashmi Saha.
Born in Singrauli, M.P. and studied there for a while before shifting to Nagpur, Maharashtra wherein the final education was completed, Rashmi is a Civil Engineer by profession. After working for 2 odd years in Mumbai, she decided to pursue a Diploma in Interior Designing, a wise choice as the combo of both her degrees become deadly. After that, she came to Gurgaon and started working but it didn’t click here for real, till 2015, when she got a job that changed her life for good. “I got a job of a Technical and Behavioral mentor and realized that this is what I want to do in life. I realized I had this skill of providing solutions to their problems and calm them down when in panic. It’s just that till now I was doing it on a personal basis, this was the 1st time I got to do it on a mass level.” After working there for a year and a half she had to move back to Ranchi due to some issues. And then, change happened.
“Once I went to Ranchi I felt this was my calling and i need to start working upon certain issues and reach out to people who were not able to reach out to me. Extending what i have already been doing
“Periods is something I never got friendly with. I never understood Why this has to happen to a girl? What is this and how are we supposed to deal with this? There was a constant nag going on in mind and my mother would be troubled every time and like any other Indian parent, she would come up with few answers and the rest was – This is how things have been passed on, there might have some reasons to them.”
“Travelling made me realize how bad this situation is in India for women if she is in her periods and going through any trouble, she cannot tell it to someone. Until and unless she has a boyfriend or husband.”
“Even with a brother or father, it is difficult if you don’t have that connection with them. Luckily my family is very open-minded. The first person I told about my periods was my dad as he used to be the ‘Ghar Ka Hakeem’ who used to provide medicines for day-to-day hassles. So I went ahead and told him but then I was a grown-up girl and to discuss female body monotony to a man even if he is your father, is a bit different.
So I went back to my mother. Then my grandfather uses to practice homoeopathy. When I was facing a lot of issues initially, he uses to come by and ask me about my health, periods etc. and how I was dealing with it. So the element of awkwardness, the taboo of not talking with a man regarding all these stuff was broken then only.”
Thanks to the environment and freedom that she got at home, that when she saw the misery of these women she made it her life’s mission to be vocal for this and help as many as she can. This was the time ‘Mukty Mission’ came into existence. “I designed the whole concept in one single night, the idea popped, I discussed it with a friend of mine who later on kind of partner with the mission, and I worked upon it. The name “Mukty” because I believe the concept of freedom has been misunderstood in our country.”
“People don’t understand that it’s not something which you give; it’s a concept of mental state. If you feel free, one can’t stop you from anything. I have come across multiple cases where I noticed that female health has been compromised or neglected in society; it’s a concept that never existed. I have seen the dark side of it; also I have seen people coming out of it with a little amount of support provided.”
That’s how life started for her. She asked one of her relatives to call her friends for an open discussion and the response was amazing. It turned out not to be only a period talk, but also issues related to their personal life, the happiness factor. At the end of the session, the feedback was that ‘aap wapas kab aa rahe hain? We would love to have another session!’ This was her first session.
And thus the journey started. She would go out to the villages, the remotest areas, go to every door, knock it and ask the ladies to come for her session. People would ask a silly but valid question and though she was confident, it was a bit uneasy to resolve their queries in the initial days. One day while returning from such a session, she saw a government school and the idea struck to have a session there as well, so we approached them for conducting a session with the kids and that session went amazingly well.
“We had 100 kids around us. So once that became successful, we thought why not focus on schools more because these are young kids growing up with a lot of curiosity with their body. And then I used social media for it, wherein I got schools and people who would like to have these kinds of sessions.”
With “Mukty Mission”, I have gone till…
“Started with Jharkhand, then in Chhatisgarh, and in my initial week I covered 3000-4000 kids. Then in Hyderabad in a Girls College, then Shillong where I went for a personal trip. So while returning at Nalbari which is close to Guwahati I did a session, also have done sessions in Delhi as well. “
Wherever I go for my life coaching session I make sure I collaborate with people and institutions in and around and take up sessions there also, regardless of the fact that whether they are college students, or corporate. Like this, I have touched around 30,000-40,000 souls so far.”
Wow, now that’s a number. So tell us about a few odd/even experiences so far?
“Recently, when we were on our way back from the last session that I took in Jharkhand, I saw few ladies coming out from a temple and it just hit my mind that I would just talk to the ladies regarding the taboo of what to follow and what not. But I was shocked to witness their reaction, they already were following all the definite measures that one should. It was an absolute surprise, as even in urban areas, a lot of women can’t follow the rules properly. And these village women were like, no we were not told to do all this taboo stuff.
Under one of my campaign – #I_Care_For_Her, in which I focus only on men, I would randomly go to any man and talk about woman issues and then document, post and circulate it. So if 10 people are standing and I go to and talk to them, and even 1 person gets inspired, so the women around that 1 person are comforted in their period times. And my experience had been amazing so far in these kinds of initiatives. People appreciate me a lot and that boosts my morale.
2 years back, it was the eve of Mahashivratri and Valentine’s Day together and in a village of Chhatisgarh, we were coming back from shooting, and we just stopped at a temple where few ladies were coming out, so I decided to just go and talk to them. We had our session, and in the last, I distributed a few sanitary pads. To my amazement, they put the sanitary pads in their ‘Pooja Ki Thaali’. For a second I was baffled and I asked them – ‘Ki Didi ye to…. And they were just cool with it. They were like so what? Same cotton se ye pad bana hai and with the same cotton ye diye ki baati. So where’s the difference?”
Amazing! So with all these experiences and with so many lives already touched, what’s your goal with Mukty Mission?
“My goal is to take it the maximum people I can. I can’t give you any numbers related to it. How many people break through and start applying it, I really can’t guarantee. So I can tell you that I took sessions with n number of people, but if you ask me how many of them were empowered through it, I won’t have any idea. I believe nobody can guarantee that. If a woman is going through some domestic violence, or depression, I cannot go and just ask her to leave the family, file a case or any other stuff.
The work of a counsellor is to empower people so that they can make their own choices. I do the same.”
Nice to know that. So what does she thinks about men helping women in these times? Let’s ask her – Do men take care of their women in these times, caress them, give them warm water, massage them properly and ask them to rest more?
“No! It’s nowhere (point blank). Not even in the wisest and educated of the families and the most metropolitan cities I have heard of it. No such concept exists actually. It’s a very personal thing I believe, more depends on the kind of connection you have with your partner. Even people dealing with the next generation, like schools, if I go to them and say that I want to talk about periods to both genders, they are hesitant.”
So do you feel that women, in general, are down-trodden in society?
“No, and by saying no I am just going with my gut feeling and not the statistics. If we go by statistics, yes. But women whom I have talked to, they have this fire within, they have this courage, the skills to come out of it and all they need is a push! A system where once they come out, they get all the support.”
So what is Women Empowerment to you? Do you feel that only a blabber is going on about it and the actual women who need to get the benefit out of it are yet to be touched?
“Yes, I totally agree. There is a lot of blabbers. I have a habit of seeing things on the ground level, no matter how small it is but the impact needs to be created. We keep saying all the time that men don’t support, they are repressive and all. But how many women actually support women? Do we really support each other from our heart and soul? The answer would not be a very happy answer. The numbers would not be a very good number. Before seeking support from men, we should learn to support each other.
Space, rights and respect that a woman deserves and should get
Let’s not judge women empowerment from the perspective of a woman getting jobs, to speak, to go party or wear short clothes, it’s not about it. It’s a personal choice. If a woman does all these, it doesn’t mean that she is empowered or in vice-versa she is not. It’s about the space, rights and respect that a woman deserves and should get to hold on to her choices. It’s a feeling, nothing else. You don’t have to ask for it, otherwise, you just keep asking.”
Such beautiful thoughts this amazing woman has who has been with TedX four times. Attended the first, mentored the second, was Speaker in the third one which was ‘TedX Hirapur’ and in the fourth one, she was one of the organizers (core team).
Before keeping the phone she delivers her last advice – “Self-love is important. Just believe in yourself and love yourself, life would become magical and smile; it’s the most beautiful thing in the world” and smilingly bids goodbye.
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KalaManthan is an art platform which is dedicated to literary enthusiasts and has been working both online and offline to give them a place to share their views in form of poetry, stories and now blogs as well. The views are sole of the writer and not necessarily represent the platform’s views and opinions at all times.
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