Sunday, September 17, 2006

Forced departures

Source: The Hindu


EARLIER this week, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the world's media focused on the event and its impact on the lives of people and on the rest of the world. But terror, perhaps of a different kind, is a constant in the lives of millions of women — a daily reality that is rarely reported or even acknowledged.

The State of the World's Population 2006, the annual assessment of population-related issues prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has focused this time on women and international migration. The report would have contributed to the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development that was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 14 and 15.

A variety of reasons

When women are compelled to leave their homes and their countries, for one reason or another, they lay themselves open to new and old forms of violence and exploitation. Women move from village to town, from one country to another for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they join a husband who has gone ahead to look for better prospects; sometimes they go on their own to earn more; sometimes they are forced to move because of war, famine, poverty or political persecution. Whatever the compulsion, the choice is not an easy one. The move is often dictated by circumstances that are beyond the woman's control. Today, half of all international migrants are women.

(To read the rest of the article, click on the link)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wounds that have yet to heal

Source: The Hindu

Kalpana Sharma

The judgment in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts should not obscure the absence of closure on the 1992-93 communal riots.

MARCH 12, 1993 is a day not many in Mumbai, who were present on that day, will forget. Over a dozen serial bomb blasts ripped through the city from the early hours of the afternoon. They tore apart chunks of Mumbai's landmarks such as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building on Dalal Street and the Air India building at Nariman Point. And, 257 people died, more than 700 were injured.

The blasts took place at a time when Mumbai's residents had yet to recover from weeks of the most vicious communal riots the city had witnessed in decades. Hundreds had died, crores of rupees of property had been destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of people had been displaced. Virtually the entire city had been touched by the killing, the arson, the reprisals, the hate campaigns, and the fear.

Before people could fully recover, and even as the first tentative steps were being taken to come to terms with the riots, pin responsibility, compensate the families of the dead and the injured, and build structures that heal the rift between communities, the city was shaken once again. Some saw this as a closure, a statement on behalf of a community that had been deeply wounded. Others wondered whether this would make the community much more vulnerable in the years to come.

(To read the rest of the article, click on the link)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Babies in the well

Source: The Hindu



IT is a story that should remain on the front pages of newspapers. Come
to think of it, perhaps our papers should create a corner on the front
page and call it something like Reality Check. So that even as we
celebrate India's growth rate, its shining successes in other fields, we are
reminded of other realities.

One such reality that ought not to slip off the news pages is the real
significance of a recent discovery in Punjab, one of India's most
prosperous States. In the vicinity of a private hospital in Patran, Patiala
district, a 30-ft-deep well yielded 50 dead foetuses, all female. The
location of the well near the clinic was not accidental. For, clearly,
despite the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention
of Misuse) Act, 1994, (usually referred to as the PNDT Act), the
aborting of female foetuses continues virtually unchecked. A few days after
this discovery, in another well near the same clinic bones that appeared
to be those of foetuses were found, although their sex was not evident.
The owner of the hospital has been arrested and the Punjab Government
has initiated checks into private clinics and hospitals across the

The story is every bit as horrific as it sounds. But it seems to have
passed off as just another sad incident of the way women remain unwanted
and continue to be hated and undervalued in this country.

(To read the rest of the article, click on the link)