Poverty, Fear, and the Illegal Cruelty of Child Marriage

Almost half of the world’s child brides come from India. And almost half of the girls in India are married before they reach age 18.

The tradition of child marriage has deep and tenacious roots in the rural villages of India.

The world has changed dramatically since child marriage became part of the culture. Yet many of the provincial poor cling to the old ways. Continue reading

Human Rights in India

India is nominally the world’s largest democracy. Yet many Indian citizens are not granted the most basic human rights by their democratic government. Indians are faced with forced marriage, forced labour (including child labour, with India supplying nearly 25% of the world’s child labourers), horrifying conditions in the criminal justice system, and suppression of free speech. Continue reading

Volunteering to Change the World

Why Volunteer?

Not all worthy causes come with a multi-million dollar budget. This makes the causes no less worthy or important. It makes the work no less necessary.

Charities, nonprofit organizations (NPOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must focus the bulk of their funding on helping the recipients of their programs. Most NPOs and NGOs simply do not have the revenue to pay all the people needed to administer their programs and services. Paying all of their workers would mean taking away crucial funding from the organization’s mission.

LEAF Society, India [leafsociety.in], celebrates International Volunteer Day on 5 December, 2015. When you volunteer, you speak for the causes you care about.Volunteers level the playing field. Continue reading

Boys Don’t Cry…

“I don’t know,” Wali was saying. “My father says it’s sinful.” He sounded unsure, excited, scared, all at the

same time. Hassan lay with his chest pinned to the ground. Kamal and Wali each gripped an arm, twisted and

bent at the elbow so that Hassan’s hands were pressed to his back. Assef was standing over them, the heel of his

snow boots crushing the back of Hassan’s neck.

“Your father won’t find out,” Assef said. “And there’s nothing sinful about teaching a lesson to a disrespectful donkey.”

“I don’t know,” Wali muttered.

“Suit yourself,” Assef said. He turned to Kamal. “What about you?”

“I… well…”

“It’s just a Hazara,” Assef said. But Kamal kept looking away.

“Fine,” Assef snapped. “All I want you weaklings to do is hold him down. Can you manage that?”

Wali and Kamal nodded. They looked relieved.

Assef knelt behind Hassan, put his hands on Hassan’s hips and lifted his bare buttocks. He kept one hand on

Hassan’s back and undid his own belt buckle with his free hand. He unzipped his jeans. Dropped his

underwear. He positioned himself behind Hassan. Hassan didn’t struggle. Didn’t even whimper. He moved his

head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it.

It was a look I had seen before. 

It was the look of the lamb.

Continue reading

A girl who was forced to be a woman

Anusha*  was always enthusiastic about her studies and so, she decided to join a Polytechnic course after completing her 10th class. Barely 3 months passed and she decided to tie the knot. With a disabled father, a lone working mother and the never supportive economic conditions of her family, made her take this harsh decision. Anusha isn’t the only one who is subject to such conditions. Around 39000 child marriages happen every day in India. Continue reading

The girl child never seems to catch a break

Wandering Thoughts

Things have come a long way for girls and women in India. Their troubles have seemingly diminished and they are progressing. But is that really true? We have KFC and McDonalds now. Surely, that means we are developed. I mean, we have Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, and all those glorious malls in the metros. And we have come full circle with women taking up leadership roles. The rural areas are probably embracing change as well, right? If only. They remain forgotten and their plight continues to seek solace.  It is a completely different story for this part of the society. Continue reading