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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 — 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 Lessons for rural electrification from a weaving village Fri, 15 Jul 2016 15:46:10 +0000 Sreekumar N

Is village-level electrification enough for the rural population to avail the benefits of electricity? The experience of Nagde, a village in Maharashtra, offers some crucial insights. If electrification drives remain focused only on village electrification, connections and lighting, 'Gaaon Ka Vikaas Garv Ke Saath' will remain just rhetoric. Anjali Sharma, Ann Josey, and Sreekumar N report.

]]> The right to water for life Tue, 12 Jul 2016 07:20:21 +0000 Shripad Dharmadhikary

On 26th May 2016, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR) put out the Draft National Water Framework Bill, inviting public comments.  The bill represents an important and progressive step forward despite some shortcomings and challenges involved in its implementation, writes  Shripad Dharmadhikary.

There's more than meets the Mumbai Eye Wed, 06 Jul 2016 07:18:48 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

With the arrival of a new Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust, the redevelopment of port land in Mumbai is  being discussed again and like the earlier discussions this one too ignores the real needs of the city and its citizens. Darryl D’Monte elaborates.

The brouhaha on censorship Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:19:40 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

The tremendous rage against Pehlaj Nihalani around the Udta Punjab (2016) issue finally resolved by the High Courts with minor cuts gives a reason to take a retrospective look into some memorable deletions and suggestions by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) much before Pahlaj Nihalani entered the frame, says Shoma Chatterji.

Manipur: Rattled and Torn Wed, 15 Jun 2016 17:45:16 +0000 Ramesh Menon

It has been more than nine months since a political crisis has snowballed into a battle between the tribals and the non-tribals of Manipur creating sharp divisions. Ramesh Menon surveys the fragile situation.

Withering public consultations Thu, 09 Jun 2016 16:49:06 +0000 Shalini Bhutani Kanchi Kohli

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 states that before using any Indian biological material for commercial or R&D purposes, a wider public consultation is needed via the local Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs). Now, the National Biodiversity Authority is considering dispensing with BMC consultation. Kanchi Kohli and Shalini Bhutani question the logic behind this change.

Water guzzlers in water-stressed areas Mon, 06 Jun 2016 08:55:51 +0000 Shripad Dharmadhikary

This summer, stories of the impacts of drought and water scarcity have been coming up with a saddening regularity. These stories mostly highlight the conditions of farmers, cattle and increasingly, problems of domestic water supplies in villages, towns and cities. However, what is often not reported is the situation with industries, particularly the coal based thermal power plants, reports Shripad Dharmadhikary.

How badly designed and unsafe | World War II redux in the nuclear age Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:03:36 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition, we look into the great dangers posed by nuclear power and plants, the importance given to building highways compare to other types of infrastructure development, the alarming rate at which our groundwater is depleting, the struggle in supporting film-making in the northeastern states, and more.

A misplaced emphasis on highways? Mon, 30 May 2016 07:37:30 +0000 Kannan Kasturi

Why does the government continue with its blind focus on highways and expressways when infrastructure for water supply, waste management and mass transit system is in desperate need of attention? Kannan Kasturi criticises the government's prioritization and says there is more to public infrastructure than just highways and expressways.

Telling tales from the Northeast Wed, 25 May 2016 09:44:26 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

There is hardly any cinema industry or theatres existing in some of the Northeastern states of India today. This is shocking because the seeds of cinema were sown in Assam way back in 1935. Shoma Chatterji writes about the challenges faced and efforts being made in these states to encourage and support film making.

Extraction exceeds recharge Thu, 19 May 2016 08:59:51 +0000 Kaushiki Sanyal

Last month, the Bombay High Court passed an order to shift IPL matches scheduled for the month of May out of the state of Maharashtra.  The court cited an acute water shortage in some parts of the state for its decision. From PRS Legislative Research, answers to some basic questions about ground water and its depletion in our country.

How badly designed and unsafe Fri, 13 May 2016 09:57:39 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

The 30th and 5th anniversaries this year of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant accidents respectively are the right occasions to examine India’s record in this sector, writes Darryl D’Monte.

World War II redux in the nuclear age Sun, 08 May 2016 09:19:36 +0000 Firdaus Ahmed

A mega Indian Army exercise aimed at sharpening Army's deep strike capabilities in enemy territory concluded last month in Rajasthan. Firdaus Ahmed analyses why having the strike capabilities in this nuclear age might be a mixed blessing.

What Chernobyl and Fukushima remind us | Residents of a municipal dumping site fight back Sun, 01 May 2016 12:56:58 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition, we remember the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that took place 30 years ago and what we  need to learn from it. We also look into how some brave women in Gujarat are fighting to save their village from becoming a dump yard, how a group of local men in Maharashtra have become champions of women’s rights and equality, and much more.

What Chernobyl and Fukushima remind us Sat, 30 Apr 2016 05:46:23 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

The 30th anniversary on April 26 of the catastrophic accident at the nuclear power station in Chernobyl, which is now part of an independent Ukraine, has gone unnoticed in the Indian media. One can ignore the lessons – as well as those of the Fukushima plant, the fifth anniversary of which also falls this year – only at our peril, given the huge investments India is making in this energy sector, writes Darryl D’Monte.

Saankal – strong content, weak movie Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:27:04 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

Even a badly made film becomes a learning experience for the viewers because it sheds light on issues not known widely otherwise, says Shoma Chatterji as she reviews the movie Saankal. She also ponders why badly made movies are being invited and awarded at several film festivals.

This village doesn’t deny its women the right to pray Tue, 26 Apr 2016 06:54:48 +0000 Amrita Nandy

Suchismita Pai travels to the hinterland of the western state of Maharashtra where a unique intervention with the local men has motivated them to shed their rigid patriarchal mindset and become champions of women’s rights and equality.

Hope in Bihar Sat, 23 Apr 2016 12:03:17 +0000 Ashish Kothari

The state of Bihar is well-known for lagging behind in all economic and human development indicators. Recently, Ashish Kothari visited some areas in Bihar where interesting things are happening. Under progressive governance and grassroots action by its citizens when these are implemented state-wise, Bihar would be well on the path of progress.

Residents of a municipal dumping site fight back Thu, 21 Apr 2016 07:04:06 +0000 Shvetangini Patel Vimal Kalavadiya

The women of Meghpar village of Kutch District are fighting the big port town Gandhidham municipality which is dumping its waste in their village. Vimal Kalavadiya and Shvetangini Patel narrate how these women self-learned the waste management rules and other legal aspects to keep their struggle strong and on.

Debaranjan Sarangi: Another artist incarcerated | Tribal seat reservation issue rakes up storm in Sikkim Fri, 15 Apr 2016 08:24:22 +0000 IndiaTogether

In this edition, we find out why documentary film-maker and human right activist Debaranjan Sarangi is under arrest, the issue of tribal reservation in Sikkim's legislative assembly, why coal-based thermal power plants are to limit their water consumption, the prevalence of toxic materials in our daily lives, and more.

New regulations welcome, but the proof will be in the eating Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:03:24 +0000 Shripad Dharmadhikary

For the first time ever, new regulations from the environment ministry require coal-based thermal power plants to stick to legally binding limits for water consumption. Shripad Dharmadhikary examines the implications of these rules with respect to the water consumption limits of coal based power plants.

Tribal seat reservation issue rakes up storm in Sikkim Thu, 07 Apr 2016 17:45:01 +0000 Soumik Dutta

The long pending issue of Limbu-Tamang tribal seat reservation in the Sikkim legislative assembly has to be resolved within the next four months as per the latest orders given by the Supreme Court. Soumik Dutta writes about how this could change the political scenario in Sikkim.

Debaranjan Sarangi: Another artist incarcerated Wed, 06 Apr 2016 04:28:00 +0000 Shoma Chatterji

Debaranjan Sarangi, a documentary film maker, writer and human rights activist was arrested recently in Kashipur, Odisha. He has been involved for more than eight years with the anti-mining movement of the Adivasis in Kashipur. Shoma Chatterji writes about Sarangi's arrest, his activism and his films which deal with Adivasis and their struggles.

Jharkhand looks at better planning to aid NREGA outcomes Tue, 05 Apr 2016 01:55:02 +0000 Ankita Aggarwal

A three-day planning process undertaken as part of a state-wide campaign called “Yojana Banao Abhiyan” to plan for NREGA implementation in every village in Jharkhand has sensitized the people and authorities to the potential of the scheme and recharged local democratic institutions. Ankita Aggarwal reports.

The poisons we play with everyday Fri, 01 Apr 2016 09:01:33 +0000 Darryl D'Monte

From the paints in our homes to the discarded CFL tubes, the sources of toxic chemicals that pose a serious threat to our health and safety are omnipresent. Darryl D’Monte highlights why it is imperative for India to move faster and more determinedly in tackling this problem.


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