Thu24Apr2014

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The silence of same sex desiring women

By Ponni Arasu

Same sex desiring women in India are living their lives and fighting their battles in homes, streets, courts and police stations. Their lives are complicated by virtue of them being women, and further complicated by class, caste and regional subjectivities. Over the last two decades, however, there has been a greater visibility of same sex desiring women in the public sphere, giving them some space for contestation -- and thereby assertion -- of their rights

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No white for these widows

By Freny Manecksha

For centuries, social reforms for widows and other single women in India have meant the setting up of ashrams and widow re-marriage. The widows who have banded together to contest their exclusion under the banner of the Ekal Nari Sangathan, in Rajasthan and other states, reject those dated solutions. These women are demanding their rights and dismissing the welfare approach. They are bringing colour back into their lives

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Hukumnama against female foeticide

By Anosh Malekar

In Punjab, the state with the lowest sex ratio in India at 798 girls per 1,000 boys, the Sikh clergy has been roped into the effort to save the girl-child. The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is planning to set up cradles to receive unwanted girl-children at gurdwaras, while the state administration has already started its own cradle baby scheme. Will this strategy work in a state where 50 discarded female foetuses were found at the bottom of a well in 2006?

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Sex workers as economic agents

By Manjima Bhattacharjya

There are three axes along which sex workers are marginalised -- the criminality associated with their work, the morality that keeps them ostracised, and the informality of their labour which deprives them of bank accounts, insurance, or employment security. Recognition of their labour and economic contribution is one of the first steps in mainstreaming sex workers and according them dignity and rights. The Sangini Women's Cooperative Bank in Mumbai's red light area has made a good beginning

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Exclusion of Muslims

By J S Bandukwala

This article traces the exclusion of Muslims to the conversion of dalits and backward classes to Islam centuries ago. Islam gave them a sense of identity and equality, but made no difference to their socio-economic situation, since Islam was imposed on the caste system. The gulf widened with 600 years of Muslim rule, and with Muslim rejection of everything Western -- including education -- after the British came to India

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Persons with disability may apply

By Monideepa Sahu

Until very recently the disabled had severely limited opportunities for employment. That is changing slowly but surely as the public and private sector realise the benefits of inclusion of the disabled not just as a token gesture but as a business imperative. Bangalore's Infosys BPO employs 165 persons with disability, Mphasis employs 140 at its Bangalore office. And 90% of the workforce at Vindhya E-Infomedia is disabled

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Discrimination is built into our legislation

By Alok Prakash Putul

India passed the Leprosy Act in 1898 to ensure that leprosy patients did not face discrimination. A hundred years on, Indian laws and regulations do just that. Legislation in several states prevents leprosy patients from obtaining a driving licence, travelling in trains, and contesting panchayat elections. And many marriage laws make "contracting leprosy" grounds for divorce

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India's leprosy colonies

By Freny Manecksha

India is home to around 60% of the world's leprosy-affected. Despite the fact that most of them are cured, they -- and their children -- are forced to settle in one of 630 leprosy colonies in India. They are not welcome anywhere else. Sanjay Nagar in Borivali, Mumbai, is one such ghetto

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Battling the triple burden of poverty, religion and gender

By Anosh Malekar

Barely 40 km from Gurgaon in Mewat district lives the impoverished Muslim community, the Meos. The Islamic way of life is strictly followed here, and women's education frowned upon, resulting in a dismal 2.13% literacy status for Meo women -- the lowest in the country. Women here have been considered second-class citizens for centuries. But the exclusion of Meo women is slowly being remedied by Vinodkumar Kanathia, who has managed to open 97 girls' education centres here

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The fallacy of equality

By Oishik Sircar

The Constitution guarantees us the right to equality and non-discrimination. But is it guaranteeing only a 'formal equality' while in effect maintaining the status quo of 'substantive inequality' in the lives of disadvantageously-situated citizens?

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