North Indian women shed the veil, speak up against gov’t land acquisition

thumbnailby Kiran Manral

WHAT’S HAPPENING

  • Village women across north India are shrugging off centuries of cultural norms that dictate they be covered with a veil when in public spaces and not be heard.
  • With the growing movement against government land acquisition in rural India, women are emerging from the shadows — and out of their veils — and speaking up at public rallies to protest against the government (Times Crest, 19 February 2011).
  • A 62-year-old housewife’s powerful speech, vowing to lay down her life before she lets the government acquire her land, led to hundreds of women like her swarming the national highway at Manesar and blocking it for hours, making the government take note of their protests.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS

  • The provision granting women 50% ownership of family property has made women feel they have a greater say in matters related to property. This new sense of ownership has made women take to the streets in order to fight for their rights.
  • Education and media have brought about a new awareness, a sense of equality with men which has empowered rural women to fight where their men folk are backing out.

RESOURCES

  • Delhi Grameen Samaj, a federation of rural volunteers which works to educate the rural population has been at the forefront of protests against government land acquisition.

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