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The spirit of satyagraha

Biju Negi

Valliamma Munuswami Mudaliar, forgotten heroine of the satyagraha movement against racism and injustice in South Africa, died 100 years ago. She was only 16

Valliamma Munuswami Mudaliar, forgotten heroine of the satyagraha


The marginalisation of Kasturba Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi himself said that he learnt his satyagraha from Ba. Why then has history, public memory and even the women’s movement kept Kasturba in the shadow of the Mahatma, with no identity independent of him, asks Biju Negi as he celebrates Kasturba Jayanti



"We are women too..."

By Moushumi Basu

Like other women, transgender women too crave romantic relationships and family, but they have to fight for their rights to these. Helping them is Kalki Subhramanium’s first-of-its-kind initiative – a matrimonial website for transgender women in search of Mr Right


A space of their own

By Sujata Madhok

Women's activist Daud Sharifa Khanam, first recipient of the Durgabai Deshmukh Award instituted by the Central Social Welfare Board, began a Muslim Women's Jamaat in 2003 to provide Muslim women a space to express themselves and contest traditional, repressive diktats


Vidya Munsi: Poster girl of the Indian women's movement

By Rajashri Dasgupta

Vidya Munsi has been at the forefront of activism for over 65 years, joining the Indian communists in UK when the communist party was still illegal in India, becoming West Bengal's first working woman journalist, and advocating throughout the cause of women


Chitamma: Nari shakti

By Aditya Malaviya

Chitamma is the driving force behind Samudram, a federation of fisherpeople in 21 coastal blocks of Orissa that trains women to be economically independent and demands entitlements to education, public health, PDS and water


Mukta Jhodia: 'I will die for my bheeta mati'

By Suroopa Mukherjee

Mukta Jhodia, tribal woman leader and first recipient of the Chingari Award for Women Fighting Corporate Crime 2007, talks about her relentless struggle against the Utkal Alumina bauxite mining and processing project in Kashipur, Orissa


A thousand dreams, 1,000 voices

By Kamla Bhasin

The 157 South Asian women who are amongst the 1,000 women being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, are struggling to get access to clean water, control over land and other resources; they are fighting against the destruction of local diversities, building bridges between conflicting communities, and working to protect the human rights of women and other minorities


Phenomenal woman: Sashikala Govekar

By Preetu Nair and Peter D'Souza

On a search for its Woman of the Year, the Goan newspaper Gomantak Times came across the extraordinary Sashikala Govekar, a fisherwoman who breathes life into Mapusa market, and a sarpanch who is much respected in Nerul


Keeping craft traditions alive

By Lalitha Sridhar

An interview with Sally Holkar, the woman behind Women Weave, a voluntary organisation that seeks to address the concerns of women weavers in India


'Feminine energy must rule the world': Eve Ensler

By Rashme Sehgal

Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues has helped raise $25 million for the cause of preventing violence against women. The playwright was in India to help raise money for a women's shelter in a village near Dharamsala


Foregrounding women's voices

By Laxmi Murthy

Urvashi Butalia, co-founder of Kali for Women, India's first feminist publishing house, has now moved on to set up Zubaan Books. In this free-floating interview, Butalia reaffirms the need to make women's voices heard


Sujata Gothoskar: Fighting for the invisible underclass

By Sheba Tejani

93% of India's total workforce, which contributes 63% of the GDP, is employed in the informal sector. 96% of all women employed in the economy work in the informal sector, at low wages, long hours of work and no social security benefits. Sujata Gothoskar has spent decades working for the rights of women in the unorganised sector


Two women and a flying squad

By Girija Godbole

She used to use a sickle to cut the umbilical cord. Now she uses gloves, scissors and thread when she conducts a delivery. In her nine-yard sari and traditional nosering Sugandhabai and her co-worker Shantabai manage the local self-help groups, take the ecological message to hundreds of villagers as they march through the Western Ghats, fight the country liquor mafia and hold the local administration accountable


Pakistan's fiery shame: Women die in stove deaths

By Juliette Terzieff

'Stove death' is the bitter expression used to refer to the fiery punishment meted out to wives in Pakistan. In Islamabad alone, 4,000 women are believed to have been set ablaze. Shehnaz Bokhari braves death threats to fight the practice


Barefoot, female and a solar engineer

By Shruti Gupta

Gulab Devi is illiterate, but she talks about circuits, transformers and condensers as other women talk about cooking and sewing. She is one of many barefoot solar engineers - mostly women -- working across eight states of India


Bimla Devi: Health messages and hymns

By Alka Arya

Bimla Devi, a young dalit woman from Nagal Teju village in Haryana, has managed to ensure safe motherhood and deliveries in her village. She has got the upper and lower castes drinking water from the same tap. She has prevented a child marriage. And she has spread awareness about gender equality and panchayati raj.