India: How #MeToo Is Battling Gender-based Violence

India: How #MeToo Is Battling Gender-based Violence

India: How #MeToo Is Battling Gender-based Violence

The #MeToo campaign has provided a gateway for Indian women to vocalise the “enough is enough” message and seek justice. Some have referred to it as revolutionary. Sadly, the reality is that the majority of women who have encountered harassment will not – or cannot – come forward and voice their stories of victimisation.

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Girls' Underage Marriages Decline By More Than A Third In A Decade, With India Center Stage

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Girls' Underage Marriages Decline By More Than A Third In A Decade, With India Center Stage

UNICEF announced in a new report that the number of underage girls married each year is now estimated at 12 million. Even though the number remains too high, the total a decade ago was a depressing and embarrassing 37 million girls. 

“Each and every child marriage prevented gives another girl the chance to fulfill her potential,” Anju Malhotra, UNICEF’s Principal Gender Advisor, says in a press release. “But given the world has pledged to end child marriage by 2030, we’re going to have to collectively redouble efforts to prevent millions of girls from having their childhoods stolen through this devastating practice.”

The data is widespread with major drops of more than a third in India and Ethiopia. The New York Times reports that in Bihar, a poor, agrarian state in northern India, a 2005 survey reported that 60 percent of surveyed women reported being underage when married. A decade later, 42.5 percent report being married under age 18.

Bollywood's Deepika Padukone Cancels Appearance With Ivanka Trump In India As Hindu Nationalists Put $1.5 Million Bounty On Her Head

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Bollywood's Deepika Padukone Cancels Appearance With Ivanka Trump In India As Hindu Nationalists Put $1.5 Million Bounty On Her Head

In India, the highly-anticipated release of the movie 'Padmavati' has been delayed after a politician from India's governing party has offered a bounty of $1.5 million for the heads of Deepika Padukone, Bollywood's highest-earning actress, who plays the 14th century Hindu queen -- and also the movie's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Padmavati is a fictional queen in the epic poem 'Padmavat' by 16th-century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The poem was written more than 200 years after the actual invasion and was absolutely impacted by folklore. 

The poem elevated the virtue of Padmavati, who committed sati, in which a widow immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre in order to protect her honor. Initially sati was practiced after Hindu men were defeated in battle and to avoid being taken by Muslim men. Like so many customs, the act of sati -- or committing suicide by fire with the death of the husband -- came to be seen as an act of devotion. The custom was outlawed by India's British rulers in 1829 following demands by Indian reformers.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has courted Hindu nationalists as part of his political base -- as has Donald Trump. In the US presidential election, Hindu nationalists were burning images of Hillary Clinton in the streets. 

'Gaysi': Sakshi Juneja's Queer Blog Thrives In India's Illegal Queer Scene

'Gaysi': Sakshi Juneja's Queer Blog Thrives In India's Illegal Queer Scene

Posting Testino's 'Role Play' for Vogue India, AOC discovered 'Inside Gaysi: the blog transforming India's queer scene', appearing Monday in The Guardian'. Charukesi Ramadurai shares writes that the zine's content includes pieces of fiction, photo-essays, personal narratives, illustrations and how-to guides on the theme of sexual desire, from A Quick Guide to Scissoring to evocative verse on Love in the Age of Surveillance.

India's Bihar Province Women Launch Assault On Alcohol With Dramatic Wins For Families

India's Bihar Province Women Launch Assault On Alcohol With Dramatic Wins For Families

Bihar is a state in East India, bordering Nepal. It is divided by the River Ganges, which floods its fertile plains. Important Buddhist pilgrimage sites include the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya's Mahabodhi Temple, under which the Buddha allegedly meditated. In the state capital Patna, Mahavir Mandir temple is revered by Hindus, while Sikhs worship at the domed, riverside Gurdwara of Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji.

It's easy to conjure up images of women taking their drunk-husband lives into their own hands in the image of Carry Nation, the temperance advocate who attacked saloons in America, hatchet in hand.

But the reality of everyday life in Bihar state province is that the majority of per capita income of $600 a year is routinely spent on alcohol, rather than to advance impoverished families. 

Bagging Big Party, Father Honors Daughter's Wedding With Houses for India's Homeless

A wealthy Indian businessman had intended to celebrate his daughter's wedding with an extravagant party for which he had saved for years. But then a better idea came to fruition.

Instead of paying for the marriage ceremony, Ajay Munot, a cloth and wheat trader based in the Aurangabad district of eastern India, spent the Rs 7 million to 8 million he had saved for the wedding on building homes for the poor, the Free Press Journal reports.

Munot's wedding savings, worth around £93,000, were spent on constructing 90 houses on two acres of land. Each home was 240 square feet, had two windows and doors and had access to filtered drinking water. To insure success, the businessman carefully selected the residents of the new homes under three conditions: they needed to be poor, living in a slum and not suffering from an addiction.

The bride and groom are deeply honored by this long-lasting gift in their honor. via Elle UK