Panchayat Raj

The anniversary special of the newsmagazine The Week of Dec 28th, 2003 has lots of stories of the warm and fuzzy feeling variety. I went through the breathless prose of a large number of luminaries in it, including that of President Kalam’s. What especially caught my eye was an article in the section BestofTheWeek2003 section from their Jan 26th issue — the Republic Day issue — titled simply SOLD.

The story was about panchayats in rural India, specifically about women being ‘fined, humiliated, and sold to the highest bidder.’ It is chilling reading and here are some lines from that article.

… Devaki Bai, 30, had been sold to another man for Rs 5,000 … Women were auctioned during Panchganga, a panchayat held to hear matters of dispute … Women were asked to lower their saris and stand with stones on their heads. Continue reading