West Bengal, India –Suchitra Dey and her husband, a truck driver, had struggled for years to earn a living, taking odd jobs and selling vegetables. Their income was so low — about 2,000 Rs ($30) a month — that they would have to borrow money for food from friends and family. “People used to call us rootless creatures,” she says. Seven
DARJEELING, INDIA — At Jungpana, a remote tea estate in Darjeeling, India’s famous tea growing region, two dozen women gingerly move through the fields and quickly pluck the “two leaves and a bud” that make up the harvested tea leaf. It’s a timeless scene in the region’s tradition-bound tea industry. The pickers in the fields are mostly women.
Mumbai, India — Even in India’s most modern city, women must still navigate an oppressive set of taboos. The unwritten rules make them cautious of their movements and their attire, restrict their behavior and infect their thinking. Roshnee Desai’s visual art challenges those social norms. Her works — short films, cartoons and even the upholstery in a Mumbai taxicab — all
In their “locker-room conversations,” women entrepreneurs in India share stories about how, at meetings with their male counterparts, they are assumed to be second-in-command and not taken seriously. But Mayukhini Pande, a 32-year-old entrepreneur in Bangalore, told me she’s also hearing stories of male and female cofounders working together to correct such mistakes. Pande and
ALMORA DISTRICT, UTTARAKHAND — Shanti Devi is racing around her farm in her sari, shooting at monkeys with a slingshot. Her tiny plot, at nearly 7,000 feet, has a glorious view across a tiered valley to the Himalayas. She grows herbs, onions and potatoes, and looks after wild apricot trees. Devi works the farm alone — her husband works in
MANIPUR, INDIA — Manipur, a mountainous state in the far east of India, is known as the country’s Switzerland. Residents in the villages in the picturesque region wrestle with a persistent problem: generating a consistent livelihood. Now, old crafts have opened new opportunities. Global connectivity and networks of entrepreneurs are helping bring Manipur’s distinctive black pottery to
In college, my birth country of India was always a subject in politics and development classes. India ranked near the bottom on nearly every development index — for education, health, women’s rights, corruption and on and on. Ten years later, I’m going to back to India. I’ve grown weary of articles that focus just on the wrongs — sexual violence,