A Small Himalayan Kingdom Remembers Its Lost Independence

In the seven decades that have passed since the founding of the United Nations, more than 80 former colonies and territories have become independent, a record worth celebrating. In that same period, however, there have been reverses and losses. No story is perhaps as tragic as what happened 40 years ago to the second-last Himalayan … Read more


Set Ablaze by Husbands or In-Laws, These Women Struggle to Survive

BENGALURU — “The stove exploded in the kitchen,” they say. “Scalding hot water fell on me by accident while I was making tea,” or “I didn’t realize that my clothes caught fire while I was cooking.” These are some of the common explanations from women admitted to the burns ward of Victoria Hospital in the … Read more


Children Groomed as Change Agents in Their Own Neighborhoods

KOLKATA, India — We started Prayasam, which means endeavor, in 1996 to organize children from difficult backgrounds and transform them first into change makers of their own communities and then make them accountable and responsible for the neighboring communities. Since its founding, Prayasam has been working with the children, not for them. Its focus is … Read more


Women Dare to Defy the Harsh Rules of Widowhood

BENGALURU — In a traditional patriarchal society, where the identity and value of a woman is determined through her husband, widowhood is about much more than losing a husband. In India, from changing how she dresses to being treated with contempt by family members, especially by her in-laws, there is a lot that a widow … Read more


Christians in India Fear Increasing Hindu Nationalist Attacks

After many churches in Orissa state in India were burned in 2008 riots, Christians began attending house churches, where they are relatively safe and can learn about the Bible

Three world leaders visiting India in recent days have found reason to speak publicly about the importance of diversity and tolerance. First, it was the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, then United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But the most pointed remarks came from President Barack Obama, who was an official guest at India’s Republic … Read more


Fortified Flour Revolutionizes Health for Tribal Women in Rajasthan

A quiet health revolution is underway in villages where debilitating malnutrition had afflicted tribal people in the Udaipur district of Rajasthan, an Indian state better known for the graceful palaces, colorful festivals and deserts crisscrossed by camels luring tourists from around the world. Nutritional deficiencies are rampant in Rajasthan. A national health survey found high … Read more


Girls Banding Together Say No to Child Marriage

Sujata Behera, a 17-year-old Dalit at the bottom of India’s caste system, did the unthinkable last year. Just two weeks before her upcoming marriage, she told her parents, who live in a remote village in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, that she had decided not to go ahead with the wedding. The cards had … Read more


Mumbai Mobile Crèches Build Hope for the Future of Migrant Children

Decades of activism to free oppressed children in India earned Kailash Satyarthi the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with Malala Yousafzai, the young education advocate from Pakistan. Satyarthi’s advocacy also brought to international attention the work that Indian nongovernment organizations carry out to change the lives of millions of Indian youth denied childhoods … Read more


To Empower Women, Take a Cue From Rural Men in Maharashtra

PUNE, India — They came at her with knives and other weapons so that they could disrupt her meetings and prove her ineffective. When Sangeeta Banne became the first woman to head a local government council in the state of Maharashtra she knew what she faced. The battle leading up to her election had been … Read more


Exploring the Roots of Patriarchy

NEW DELHI — Nearly two decades after the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, voices calling for inclusion of men and boys in the fight for gender equality and an end to violence against women have grown louder. In India, rigid patriarchal norms, which tip the gender balance firmly in favor of men, … Read more


Why Indian Women Are Forced Into Risky Sterilizations

The tragic deaths of more than a dozen women in India recently, after being sterilized in assembly-line style by a doctor and his assistants eager to cash in on as many procedures as possible on a given day — at least 83 in a few hours in this case — are the symptom of a … Read more


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