How Women Live

21 May

Six women in Meerut village defy boycott, go to work

“Ostracised and slapped with a huge “fine” by the community panchayat for going to work, six women of this sleepy village, 60 km from the national capital, tell a story more complicated than that of patriarchy feeling threatened by the idea of financially independent women. Ten days into the boycott, the women have shown a rare courage, an inspiring story to emerge from a deprived community.
Geeta, Premwati, Ombiri, Suman, Pinki and Rekha belong to the most backward Nat community, and they have “broken the social norm” by going to work in nearby paper mills and meat factories.

The Nat panchayat, in a diktat issued on May 10, banned them from working in the factories. When they did not abide by the order, the panchayat ordered the 200 Nat families in the settlement to boycott the women and their families. The panchayat diktat states that if the women want to be a part of the community again, they will have to bear hundred lashes in public, pay a Rs. 1 lakh penalty for each person and stop going to work.”

H/t to Nomratha Fernandes

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