09 February 2016
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The way ahead for women
However imperfect, the NCW should not be disbanded. Instead, it needs to be debated and held accountable to its original mandate.
September 2012

No space for women
If women cannot step out in public without the fear of being assaulted for no other reason than their gender, then clearly there is something very wrong.
Gender violence | Kerala
June 2012

Lacunae and contradictions
The survey of child labour in agriculture has drawn attention once again to many issues to be addressed if every child is to have a meaningful right to education.
Child labour | Agriculture
February 2011

Mis-counting mortality
A recent report by Human Rights Watch, No Tally of the Anguish provides a much-needed exposure of the real story behind averages and official data about maternal mortality.
Women's Health | Uttar Pradesh
October 2010


Dying of indifference
One woman dies every eight minutes due to complications arising due to pregnancy such as sepsis, haemorrhage or obstructed labour. These deaths could be avoided if there is timely medical intervention.
Women's Health
September 2010

Fear in the city
We now have data that establishes that due to the fear of violence and harassment many women do not have the autonomy to freely move in a variety of public spaces.
Gender violence | Delhi
August 2010

Invisible environmentalists
They forage the city, collecting and sorting often hazardous waste when the city sleeps and by day they are gone. We have no long-term policy in place that looks at their welfare or health.
Waste management
June 2010

Twists, turns, dead-ends
The Sunanda episode leaves us with some hard questions, about the attitude of the media to women, about sexism and other hurdles that women face everyday at the workplace.
Women and Media
May 2010

Educating India
The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic facilities like transport and proper toilets.
Girls' education
February 2010

Growing without a plan
Rajnandgaon's location along a national highway has helped it to grow. It is also not cash-strapped. But its problem is the absence of good governance.
Cities | Chhatisgarh
December 2009

Between a village and a town
Janjgir has a poor base to raise finances and is heavily dependent on fund transfers from the state government. There is little here that would qualify this as a town.
Cities | Chhatisgarh
November 2009

Saved by the women
Narnaul illustrates above all the value of investing in women. Many have continued to be active and involved even though they have little practical support from the Municipal Council.
Cities | Haryana
October 2009

Where history and prejudice collide
While the old town is chaotic and crowded, on the other side the roads are wide and well maintained. There appears to be a complete disconnect between the two halves of Mirzapur.
Cities | Uttar Pradesh
September 2009

Power dressing
Commenting on the dress sense and looks of women in power is only one aspect of the tendency to run down their success.
Women and authority
August 2009

A town full of surprises
Jhunjhunu's example can be emulated by other towns of this size. The work of the local groups has been diluted by institutionalisation, but mobilising people continues to pay dividends.
Cities | Rajasthan
July 2009

A law with flaws
If the government fails to take on board some of the constructive suggestions made on the draft Women's Reservation Bill, it might not serve the purpose for which it has been conceived.
Women in politics
June 2009

Sehore: Once vibrant, now in disarray
Twenty years ago Sehore was a very livable town. It had a beautiful microclimate and was surrounded by forests and water bodies that never dried up. Today it is becoming a village again.
Cities | Madhya Pradesh
June 2009

Madhubani: The old and the new
The concrete road is a symbol of some development in this northern Bihar town, but it sits oddly with its surrounding landscape. The lack of jobs, the bane of many small towns, has affected Madhubani too.
Cities | Bihar
May 2009

Many more Mayawatis
They cannot compete with Mayawati, or Jayalalitha or Sonia Gandhi. But the new breed of women politicians springing up in India's small towns will become a political force to reckon with in the years to come.
Women in politics
May 2009

Disturbed in Manipur
In the run-up to the elections, only the dominant voices from "mainland" India will be heard. But we need to listen to what those living at the margins of this country are saying.
Human rights | Manipur
March 2009

Mothers and motherhood
It is indeed ironic that in a society where motherhood is virtually deified, we pay so little attention to making sure that women don't die in the process of becoming mothers.
Women's health
January 2009

Making visible the invisible
It is relatively easy to legislate laws regarding domestic workers, as Maharashtra has just done with its recent bill on their welfare. But it's not that easy to change attitudes.
January 2009

Woman of steel
Women like Dayamani Barla are reminding us that there are other ways to "develop" and that it is possible to fight peacefully but with determination for your convictions.
December 2008

Faceless citizens
While the economy has strangled the livelihood of North Indian vendors in Mumbai, a politician has muffled their voice. And the media and policymakers are looking the other way.
November 2008

Breaking the silence
A recent ruling by the Bombay High Court offers encouragement for women who are afraid to talk about sexual harassment.
October 2008

Niketa's choice
The Niketa and Harish Mehta case has thrown up issues that concern individual choice, ethics, technology and the law.
August 2008

Work matters
There are many people who believe that women should do only women's work and that they should step out of their homes for paid work only if it is absolutely necessary.
July 2008

Diary of the displaced
In the Indian version of suburbanisation, the poor are being forced out of the cities, compelled to pay the price for the creation of the global city.
Cities | Delhi | Women | Displacement
June 2008

Connecting to the Northeast
Even in the not-so-remote parts of Assam, you are constantly reminded of the fact that the entire region remains apart. It is evident in many things - its scenic beauty, its poor connectivity, the stories in the media, and the attitudes of young women here.
May 2008

And now the good news
Khabar Lahariya, run by Dalit and Kol women, has emerged as a truly rural newspaper that is read and respected by all sections of society in Chitrakoot. It is a small shining star on the media horizon that exposes the hollowness of the mainstream media.
April 2008

Invisible women
We usually wake up to their existence when they don?t turn up for work. And the first response is annoyance, because of the inconvenience caused to us. Films like Lakshmi and Me open our eyes to the plight of people who hold up our homes, writes Kalpana Sharma.
Film Reviews | Women
January 2008

Unrecognised heroines
Women like Mukta Jodia, the first recipient of the Chingari Award for Women Against Corporate Crime, are a reminder of the other India, the real India. What triggers their struggles is quite often the lack of transparency.
December 2007

A world without women
How ironical it is that just when Indians are patting themselves on the back on having the richest man in the world in their midst, when the middle classes are celebrating the rising stock market and more, girls are being killed, women are being bought and they have to fear for their lives in many parts of this country.

The 'invisible' half
Almost one in every two children under three years of age is hungry. This is the invisible half of our population, people who disappear from our consciousness until they die in large numbers.
Women | Malnutrition
October 2007

Is this sports, or false patriotism?
Both India and Pakistan played well in the Twenty20 tournament, and played in a positive frame of mind. Why then should a mainstream media channel insist on harping on the rivalry between two countries that are making tentative attempts at peace.
October 2007

Talking about harassment
The issue of sexual harassment is out in the open and is being discussed. It gives a chance to hundreds of women who have faced situations for which they thought there was no solution to come forward and share their experiences.
Gender violence
September 2007

Be safe, don't exist
The Delhi Police's booklet containing tips for women from the Northeast to be safe in the capital exposes only their own need for sensitivity training. Not surprisingly, many northeastern students in Delhi are incensed at being portrayed as responsible for their own problems.
Gender violence | Delhi
August 2007

Why Pooja got 'mad'
Behind the entire media cacophony over Pooja Chauhan is a real story and a real person. The story is a familiar one. Of women, thousands of them, who are harassed over dowry or over the gender of the child they birth, particularly if she turns out to be a girl.
July 2007

Moving beyond symbols
The question before us women is whether Pratibha Patil's imminent election as President has any meaning for us, whether it will make any difference to women in India, and whether we should welcome such a symbolic gesture on the part of the ruling alliance.
Women and Power | Women's representation
July 2007

'Gendered' health
The All India Services Performance Appraisal Rules, 2007 reminds us that women's work is assessed not necessarily by neutral, objective criteria. The gender angle somehow creeps in, directly or indirectly, as IAS officers in Maharashtra can now testify.
April 2007

Sex education and survival tools
The recent decisions of several state governments to ban sex education in schools concerns everyone, particularly women. In this age of the knowledge economy, we cannot believe that people's access to information on any subject, including matters relating to sex, can be controlled.
April 2007

Think of the mother
Even the most calculating and hard-hearted woman will not be indifferent to what happens to the child she has birthed. This is the reason that female infanticide remains a phenomenon restricted to only a few areas while sex selective abortions are rampant.
Gender violence
March 2007

The great garbage rush
The belief that slum dwellers convert any structure they are given into another slum is thoroughly disproved in Charkop. There is clearly a sense of community, and each cluster feels proud to maintain the cleanliness of its surroundings.
Urban Environment | Cities | Housing
February 2007

Chhatisgarh's ray of hope
Crippling poverty, Naxalism and government bungling may have depressed the lives of poor women in Chhatisgarh, but there is now a shining ray of hope. 60,000 women have become trained community health volunteers and are making an impact.
Women | Chhatisgarh
December 2006

Behind closed doors
We can now celebrate the fact that India is one of the few countries around the world that recognises that domestic violence is a violation of the human rights of women. The law alone is not enough, but it surely strengthens the hand of those who want to establish these rights.
Gender violence
November 2006

A suggestion for Munnabhai
As Munnabhai has already tackled the callousness of our health system, and the greed of real estate sharks, how about tackling the one Indian tradition that refuses to die ó that of dowry? I could imagine that such a film could work very well.

Forced departures
When women, of whatever class, are forced by circumstance to migrate, they expose themselves to new forms of violence and exploitation. A new UN report terms trafficking of women as migration "gone bad" and the "underside" of globalisation.
September 2006

Babies in the well
In the vicinity of a private hospital in Patiala district, a 30-ft-deep well yielded 50 dead foetuses, all female. The location of the well near the clinic was not accidental. For, clearly, despite the PNDT Act, the aborting of female foetuses continues virtually unchecked. The 'unacceptable crime' is still flourishing.
Gender violence | Punjab
September 2006

Learning from Mumbai
After the serial blasts, Mumbai may soon be faced with men with metal detectors checking bags, train stations with sniffer dogs, more checks, and more suspicion. In such an atmosphere, it will be much easier to sow the seeds of dissension, difference, or division. A city united in tragedy could easily fall apart.
August 2006

Death of a 10-year-old
For her childish prank, domestic 'servant' Sonu was tortured, tied up and left to bleed to death. The police have rounded up her employers, but the story has not ended because it raises questions that all of us, educated, middle-class Indians need to face.
Children | Human rights
July 2006

Kashmir: Another view
Women's groups around the country may have held back in the sex scandal in Kashmir because it is embedded in the divided politics of that state. Meanwhile, within Kashmir itself voices that were not heard before are now audible through a women's magazine that was recently launched.
Women and Media | J&K
May 2006

When the media are silent
A young Manipuri wrote to me recently: "I used to believe that media can really help ... But, how do we act when the media go silent?" India's northeastern States come into the news only when there is an election, an atrocity so huge that it cannot be ignored, or a natural disaster.
May 2006

The speak-out sisters on the Net
The Internet has created democratic spaces where we can all blow-off steam and escape immediate physical violence. With faster and widening Internet access, blogging, where people create their own on-line diaries is gaining ground in India. The spirited, recent online backlash against eve-teasing is an example.
Culture | Women
March 2006

Why dowry will not die
Given the lack of any news about dowry deaths, dowry violence or dowry demands, one would have thought that the problem had disappeared. Far from it. In fact, it has become far more entrenched and taken new forms. Dowry is a symptom of a deeper disease that relates to how our society values women.
March 2006

Educating Mr. Modi
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's recent remarks on muslim women and the absence of sanitation at their homes sparked a controversy. Kalpana Sharma says that if the CM really cared, millions of Indian women, with or without a "burqa", would not be "forced to go the jungles."
Gujarat | Women
February 2006

Maharaja's New Year gift
On December 28, 2005, Air India issued a directive stating that women could henceforth be in-flight supervisors. With this, one of the last vestiges of gender discriminatory practices that the airline has continued to hold on to, has gone. Kalpana Sharma recounts the Maharaja's glacially slow change of heart.
January 2006

Can women ever be safe?
While women who have to commute at night, or use public transport, are forced to remain alert at all times because they are aware of the dangers, call centre employees who believe that "the company" takes care of all their needs might just let their guard down. Kalpana Sharma answers a reader's question: will it ever end?
Violence against women
January 2006

Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist, columnist and media consultant. She has been, until recently, Deputy Editor and Chief of Bureau of The Hindu in Mumbai. In over three decades as a full-time journalist, she has held senior positions in Himmat Weekly, Indian Express and the Times of India. Her special areas of interest are environmental and developmental issues. She writes a fortnightly column in The Hindu's Sunday Magazine section, The Other Half, that comments on contemporary issues from a gender perspective. She has also followed and commented on urban issues, especially in the context of Mumbai's development.

Kalpana Sharma is the author of Rediscovering Dharavi: Stories from Asia's Largest Slum (Penguin 2000) and has co-edited with Ammu Joseph Whose News? The Media and Women's Issues (Sage 1994, 2006) and Terror Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out (Kali for Women, 2003)

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by Kalpana Sharma ...
- Stop the violence
- Women speak out
- Good girls don't drink
- Health as an inalienable right
- Savita's choice
- 'Reality' rape
- Blaming women
- Winds of change
- Moral police, not moral policing
- Gendered tsunami
- Inspiration from Pakistan
- Where science falters
- Sania's sisters
- Forget Shanghai, remember Mumbai
- Mumbai's tragedy
- Invisible sportswomen
- Un-shining India
- The lucky rag picker
- Why women tolerate
- Citizen Lakshmi
- Gudiya's choice
- Instant justice
- Obscuring reality
- Don't moan, fight back
- What happens to girls?
- Can science be women-friendly?
- Sense and nonsense
- Perception isn't reality
- Storm in the vale
- Time to reflect and celebrate
- Another world
- Introspection during the New Year
- Women's road to the top
- Not born to rule
- Something is changing
- Hundred years of battle
- Images that promote fear
- In the name of servitude
- Are people a problem?
- Air India: Grounded at fifty
- My fair lady
- Must boys tease girls?
- Hitting dowry for a six
- No bill, no will
- Who defines obscenity?
- Another kind of war
- Why we will say 'no'
- Cricket, women and war
- Saying no to war
- Chawla -Burning aspirations
- Why dress code? Why only women?
- Above all, justice
- Dowry - a rooted custom
- Victims look for work
- Three Generations
- Mumbai's "lifeline" under a cloud
- Playing into the Sangh's hands
- 'Bending the rules'
- Voices from Kashmir

India Together Get in-depth information and news on development, policy and social issues related to India. en-us The Dalit in Indian cinema Sat, 06 Feb 2016 11:01:37 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

Shoma Chatterji talks about caste and the portrayal of Dalit in Hindi cinema beginning with Bombay Talkies Achhut Kannya (1936) to Bimal Roy’s Sujata (1959) followed by many mainstream films, and the small-budget, low-key ones which have focused on this significant social issue in the past so many years.

]]> Tales from Manipur Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:32:52 +0000 Pushpa Achanta

For decades now the beautiful state of Manipur has been suffering from the violent insurgency and the excesses of the Indian army. Pushpa Achanta visits the state and narrates her experiences which shows how much is not known about the state or its people.

Ration to cash, a harsh transition Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:58:30 +0000 Shikha Nehra

In September 2015, the central government announced a pilot programme of providing direct cash transfers in place of food grains in an attempt to reform the Public Distribution System. Centre for Equity Studies (CES) recently conducted a survey of this pilot programme in Chandigarh. Shikha Nehra of CES reports the key findings from the survey.

Yes, it is a caste issue! | Modi worsens India’s doctrinal muddle Mon, 01 Feb 2016 08:22:24 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition, we have a touching write-up on caste discrimination and how it very much exists in our society, the success story of the displaced forest dwellers of Ranthambhore, the protests by tribals against the mining companies in Odissa, how school going girls in West Bengal are saying no to child marriage, and more.

Girls get the power to refuse child marriage Fri, 29 Jan 2016 03:43:02 +0000 Amrita Nandy

In West Bengal, girls are being empowered to refuse early marriage thanks to a state government initiative that enables them to stay longer in school. The Kanyashree Prakalpa scheme has been remarkably successful in curbing child marriage and promoting girl child education, says Saadia Azim.

Yes, it is a caste issue! Mon, 25 Jan 2016 03:49:43 +0000 Renu Ramanath Shahina Nafeesa

Rohith Vemula's death was the end of his dreams of becoming another Carl Sagan. But so many other dreams have perished because of caste-based persecution that has been a blight on higher education and professional practice in this country. Shahina Nafeesa's touching personal essay, translated by Renu Ramanath, brings out deeply disturbing realities.

In Odisha, more tribal voices against mining Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:24:52 +0000 Abhijit Mohanty

Around the country tribal communities are fighting against the mining companies, whose operations have threaten their livelihoods and ecosystem. The Kashipur movement to protect Baphlimali in Odisha is a classic example. Unfortunately, this too, like many other protests, saw merciless suppression and gross violation of human rights, reports Abhijit Mohanty.

Rebuilding their lives with craft Wed, 20 Jan 2016 09:56:40 +0000 Supriya Unni Nair

The Board of Directors of this company haven't been to college or school. They don’t have fancy cars, and haven't travelled more than 50 kilometers from their homes. What makes them even more unique is that they're all women who when displaced from their homes in the Ranthambhore forest overcame many challenges, learned new crafts, rebuilt their lives and made their own destiny, writes Supriya Unni Nair.

Modi worsens India’s doctrinal muddle Sat, 16 Jan 2016 13:28:44 +0000 Firdaus Ahmed

In light of events in Pathankot, Firdaus Ahmed analyses Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech, given to the military brass last month at the Combined Commanders’ conference aboard the INS Vikramaditya, on the way forward with Pakistan.

With road rationing, Delhi fights air pollution | Why must only the poor suffer? Fri, 15 Jan 2016 04:50:10 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition, we look into the odd-even traffic experiment going on in Delhi to combat its air pollution, how poor people lost eye sight in botched up cataract surgeries performed in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh, the skill deficit in the emerging work force of our country, an interview with the well-known Tamil feminist writer C S Lakshmi, and more.

Shooting nature’s wrath in Paradise Wed, 13 Jan 2016 05:39:57 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

In September 2014, Jammu and Kashmir was ravaged by floods and landslides. A brilliant documentary Kashmir Flood – Let the Vale Rise by Bilal A Jan captures the immediate after-effects of the worst floods in the state in a century that changed almost the entire topography of the state along with the lives of its residents. Shoma Chatterji reviews the film.

With road rationing, Delhi fights air pollution Sat, 09 Jan 2016 14:34:33 +0000 Akshatha M

Delhi, infamous for high air pollution, has been experimenting with odd-even formula by curbing the movement of private vehicles from Jan 1st. After one week of the execution of the programme, there is no visible change in the pollution level. Will road rationing help to reduce the pollution level or does Delhi need much more action to control the pollution, writes Akshatha M.

The skills journey: A long history but no destination in sight Fri, 08 Jan 2016 14:32:42 +0000 Shambhu Ghatak

In the second and concluding part of his exposition on India’s skill development efforts, Shambhu Ghatak traces the journey under the UPA and NDA governments, only to find that while the thrust remains the same, the end is far from sight.

The gap between where we are and where we want to be Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:21:37 +0000 Shambhu Ghatak

The Skill India Mission aims to provide skills training to around 402 million people by the year 2022. In the first of a two-part series, Shambhu Ghatak upholds estimates of skilled workforce from various reports to highlight the yawning gap that needs to be bridged.

Why must only the poor suffer? Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:12:08 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

In Barwani, Madhya Pradesh, people lost their sight after botched up cataract surgeries. Was it because the organizers, the medical and paramedical staff of the district hospital did not take necessary steps? Or was the quality of medication used questionable? Or, because the victims are too marginalised and too poor to protest? Asks Shoma Chatterji.

Feminism is about leading a non-degraded life Sat, 02 Jan 2016 12:39:47 +0000 Pratibha Umashankar

Dr C S Lakshmi, the eminent Tamil feminist writer, who writes under the pen name Ambai, has been a researcher in women’s studies for the last several decades, and is also the Founder Trustee of Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women (SPARROW), that has undertaken several oral history projects. She speaks to Pratibha Umashankar about issues concerning women.

Turning a full circle | Where is the forest case headed? Fri, 01 Jan 2016 02:00:47 +0000 IndiaTogether

We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year 2016. We hope you will continue to support our in-depth, non-partisan journalism by donating generously to India Together at
We end an eventful 2015 by looking into the controversial Maheshwar Hydropower Project, what is happening to several forest cases, how some sex workers are empowering themselves by gaining legal knowledge, an interesting learning institute called Adivasi Academy, and much more.

Turning a full circle Thu, 31 Dec 2015 08:14:56 +0000 Shripad Dharmadhikary

The situation that Maheshwar Project is in, brings sharply into focus the issue of accountability of those responsible for the decisions that impact millions of people, involve thousands of crores of rupees and vast natural resources. Shripad Dharmadhikary hopes that Maheshwar would also offer a chance to demonstrate how those liable for the mess can be held accountable.

Where is the forest case headed? Thu, 24 Dec 2015 17:33:39 +0000 Kanchi Kohli

The green bench of the Supreme Court transferred several forest cases to different institutions for decision making, in order to expedite the disposal of these long pending cases. Kanchi Kohli explains how this could influence forest governance in India.

The language of diversity Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:19:40 +0000 Ashish Kothari

Adivasi Academy, a learning institute set up by Bhasha Research and Publication Centre is a must visit place for one to learn the importance of language and cultural diversity of our country. Ashish Kothari writes about his experience and learnings at the Academy.

Churning our minds on India’s development Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:51:02 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

The bi-monthly book review journal Biblio celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Its founder editors, Darryl D’Monte is one of its founder editors, were invited to the Chandigarh Literature Festival, which was held earlier this month. D’Monte talks about an interesting book discussion he chaired at the festival.

Sex workers turn paralegal volunteers Fri, 18 Dec 2015 13:13:04 +0000 Ramesh Menon

An innovative project in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka is helping sex workers empower themselves, by training them as paralegal volunteers. A confident community is fighting exploitation, standing up and being counted, reports Ramesh Menon.

Fighting the ISIS: Why India should measure its steps Thu, 17 Dec 2015 13:37:12 +0000 Firdaus Ahmed

The Indian defence minister’s recent interactions indicate an overt leaning towards military action against ISIS under the UN flag. While it may not be difficult to explain this stance, or even find apparent justification for it, there is a need for a more cautionary approach, says Firdaus Ahmed.

Shifting goalposts as summit winds down | Surviving stigma: HIV care and the aftermath Tue, 15 Dec 2015 07:24:27 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition we have reports on the recently concluded Paris Climate Change Conference by Darryl D'Monte who was in Paris. We also look at the shocking realities faced by AID patients and their families, how CAG is in trouble in Delhi for auditing three power distributors, will the Sustainable Development Goals of UN achieve what the Millennium Development Goals failed to do and much more.

Shifting goalposts as summit winds down Sat, 12 Dec 2015 10:55:21 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

As the draft agreement is getting ready at the Climate Change Conference in Paris, Darryl D’Monte gives a final round-up on how countries are changing their alliances keeping their own interests in mind, and if it will be possible for a developing nation like India to work towards a low-carbon future.


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