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Fight against a four-letter word

Oh, that four letter word again!

But this time, there is something productive about it: A crusade is on in the national capital. And Delhi university students are out on the streets, literally, fighting it!

It's foul, it's dangerous, it's destroying a whole new generation... banish it from our lives for ever -- that's their motto.

But is it possible? Is it possible to completely wish away something which has infiltrated our language, our society, our culture?

Theirs is not mere 'wishing it' away, the students argue, theirs is sheer sweat, they are working towards it.

And so they are. Their voluntary youth organisation, the Jan Shakti Vahini, has joined hands with the Union health ministry and flagged off in a mobile counselling vehicle, distributing pamphlets, spreading awareness about the disease, the need for using condoms...

Hey! Wait a minute! Disease? Condoms? Where does that come in?

Ooops, folks, the four letter word we have been talking about is AIDS. As in acquired immuno deficiency syndrome, not, er, well, you-know-what!

And Jan Shakti Vahini's mission is to educate people, inspire them to work in the field and gauge the present level of India's AIDS awareness.

In September, 1996, the JSV had launched a countrywide awareness campaign by means of pamphlets, stickers and rallies, targetting nearly 10 million people both in villages and towns.

Now. manned by a group of dedicated volunteers, their vahini (incidentally, the first of its kind), propose to set up camps at villages and strive to remove the myths surrounding the disease through street plays, stickers, posts and simple word of mouth.

The fight, certainly, is on against the four letter word.

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