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‘I lost the opportunity to re-shape my life… I could have been a teacher, a painter’: Daisy Irani

By Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

Mumbai: Glitzy, heady, fast-paced… there are many ways in which the creative world of cinema, television and the stage arts is often described. Under the bright arc lights, however, there exists a dark reality – of punishing hard work, abuse, gender bias and insecurity. Despite the threats and vulnerabilities, children have always been an integral part of the glamour industry – although today there is a vigorous ongoing debate on whether it is ethical to jeopardise the childhood, education as well as the physical and mental well-being of the young ones.One of the most iconic faces of innocence onscreen, Daisy Irani, who stepped in front of the camera when she was just two-and-a-half years old, may have had golden run during the golden age of Indian cinema – 1950s-1970s – but the pain of living with neglect, physical and emotional violence, and crippling fear, was also a part of her existence for over two decades. In this no holds barred one-on-one with Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra, Irani shares her story and adds her strong voice to the issue of child labour in the entertainment business. more...

Missing Voices                                            

By Jaideep Hardikar

How do media report and frame the stories on violence against children? A media analysis we did of eight newspapers published in Maharashtra to understand the extent to which media lends importance to the themes of ‘violence against children’ in particular and ‘children and women’s issues’ in general, yielded some interesting and important insights into the way the issues underpinning the violence against women and children get reported. In a nutshell, there is no reflection of children’s issues, particularly the violence against them, in the print media even though crimes against them are on the rise. more...

The Hungry belying the claims of a Resurgent Bihar                                            

By Rajeev Kumar, Patna

Behind the image of a state making strides towards development, there lies the ugly reality of people living on the margins, suffering from malnutrition, hunger, starvation. Somehow, all the schemes to prevent this situation are not coming together to provide succor. This is the test of the present government; now well into its second term. The Bihar growth story will be meaningless unless each person gets basic food. more...

Have the people of Kashmir spoken?

By Khwaja Parvez Dilbar, J&K

Militancy is not the only problem, Kashmir has faced, although it has affected all aspects of life over two decades. Recently, the ‘awam’ of Kashmir came together in what can be seen as a mandate for good local governance. Understandably, this is not a political solution but equally it is a collective voice that despite the turmoil and perhaps because of it, people need development. They see the Panchayati Raj as meeting that need at the local level. more...

Why is the educated adivasi woman still in darkness?

By Nandini Manikpuri, Chhattisgarh

Education means very little unless it is applied in the decisions one takes in one’s life and within the family and community one lives in. This is somehow denied to women in the tribal belt of Chhattisgarh. Sometimes this can be devastating as what happened to Surja in Goyanda village, Kanker district. Closely connected with her story is the larger one of the space women get their own life to take decisions affecting core areas of her and her family’s well-being. more...

Yet another call to save the Himalayas

By Dinesh Pant, Uttarakhand

What can an international seminar of geologists in Nainital, Kumaon Himalayas possibly have anything to share with the local communities in the border areas? Plenty as it turned out, bringing the entire issue of degradation of the Himalayas into sharper focus, seen from different prisms but reflecting community concerns. The interaction was enriching no doubt but for it to have an impact, policy planners need to bite the bullet. more...

Scrounge of Naxalism rooted In deprivation

By Mohd Shafiq-ur-Rehman,Yusufzai Bihar

Sizable funds from the central government have been allocated towards development of Naxal affected regions in our country. Yet there is an inertia to pre-empt a situation and address a problem that could lead to disenchantment of the local population with the system and turning towards an alternate however drastic. In Gaya district, Bihar, the sheer poverty and disease that stalks the rural areas could be one such time-bomb. more...

The inner world of bidi workers

By Aloka Kujur, Ranchi

For the women, largely Muslim in Kismatkadamsar village, district Pakud in Jharkhand.rolling bidis is not only a source of income, sometimes primary but a way to bond, catch up on life’s events and share space and time. Yet there is a bleak side to this. These women mired in poverty and lack of education have no alternative. Societal norms prohibit them from moving out of their homes. It is thus a study in captivity and independence. more...

The human fall-out of border tensions

By Chaudhary Mohd Ayub Kataria Kashmir

Landmines planted by armed forces along our border areas in J&K are meant to prevent infiltration. The tragedy is that these explode when local villagers unknowingly step on them. Lives are lost, maimed, sources of income destroyed. Who bears the onus for these victims of a warfare in which they have no part? more...

Travails of a ‘floating’ population

By Priya Khandelwal, Bihar

With the onset of the monsoons villagers in Kiratpur panchayat, Darbhanga district in eastern Bihar are nervous. For year after year, the rivers that traverse this region swell causing untold misery, displacement to the villagers. Human lives are lost, so are cattle, there is a complete breakdown of access to services. Even earning a livelihood is jeopardized. How is it that the government does not preempt this and takes measures to avert such recurring disasters? more...

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