Stories written by Neeta Lal

A Precarious Fate for Climate Migrants in India

After the sea swallowed up her home and family in the Bangladeshi coastal district of Bhola along the Bay of Bengal, farmer Sanjeela Sheikh was heartbroken. Stripped of all her belongings, her fields swamped and her loved ones dead, she contemplated suicide.

Indian Women Worst Hit by Water Crisis

A staggering 330 million Indians, making up a quarter of the country's population (or roughly the entire population of the United States), are currently reeling under the effects of a severe drought, resulting in an acute drinking water shortage and agricultural distress.

Temple Tantrums

Women comprise nearly half of India's 1.2 billion population, yet gender bias and patriarchal mindsets continue to plague them well into the 21st century. Even holy places -- temples and mosques -- it seems aren't free from discriminating against the fair sex.

Radio rage in India

It is 8 am in Anugondanahalli village about 70 kms from India's IT hub of Bengaluru, capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. A group of farmers are huddled around a radio set sipping hot tea and tuned in to Sarathi Jhalak, a local community radio station (CRS) broadcasting on FM 90.4. On air is a programme about climate change that has everybody hooked. Experts are sharing simple tips on how farmers can pro-actively minimise the impact of erratic weather on their crops.

Family Planning in India is Still Deeply Sexist

The tragic death of 12 women after a state-run mass sterilisation campaign in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh went horribly wrong in 2014 made global headlines. The episode saw about 80 women "herded like cattle" into makeshift camps without being properly examined before the laparoscopic tubectomies that snuffed out their lives. In another incident in 2013, police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar arrested three men after they performed a botched sterilisation surgery without anaesthesia on 53 women over two hours in a field.

India Needs to “Save its Daughters” Through Education and Gender Equality

Women constitute nearly half of the country's 1.25 billion people and gender equality -- whether in politics, economics, education or health -- is still a distant dream for most. This fact was driven home again sharply by the recently released United National Development Programme’s Human Development Report (HDR) 2015 which ranks India at a lowly 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII). India trails behind most Asian countries, including lesser developed Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121 respectively, and fares not much ahead of war-ravaged Afghanistan at 152.

New Census Paints Grim Picture of Inequality in India

Despite being Asia’s third-largest economy, positioning itself as a major geopolitical player under a new nationalist government, India's first ever Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) paints a grim picture of poverty and deprivation despite billions of dollars being funneled into state-sponsored welfare schemes.

Poor Bear the Brunt of Corruption in India’s Food Distribution System

Chottey Lal, 43, a daily wage labourer at a construction site in NOIDA, a township in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a beleaguered man. After a gruelling 12-hour daily shift at the dusty location, he and his wife Subha make barely enough to feed a family of seven.

India Erupts Over Loopholes in Child Labour Law

In a bid to overhaul the country's child labour laws, the Indian government has banned the employment of children below 14 years of age in various commercial ventures, while permitting them to work in family enterprises and on farmlands after school hours and during vacations.

The Neglected Street Vendors of India

For the past nine years, 27-year-old Jignesh has been hawking bed sheets on the bustling pavements of Janpath, a major throughway in India’s capital, New Delhi, as kamikaze traffic swirls around him.

The Definition of ‘Rape’ Cannot Change with a Marriage Certificate

"I was brutally raped thrice by my husband. He kept me under surveillance in his Dubai house while I suffered from severe malnutrition and depression. When I tried to flee from this hellhole, he confiscated my passport, deprived me of money and beat me up," recalls Anna Marie Lopes, 28, a rape survivor who after six years of torture, finally managed to board a flight to New Delhi from the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

In India, a Broken System Leaves a ‘Broken’ People Powerless

As India paid glowing tributes to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of its constitution and a champion of the downtrodden, on his 124nd birth anniversary last month, public attention also swivelled to the glaring social and economic discrimination that plagues the lives of lower-caste or ‘casteless’ communities – who comprise over 16 percent of the country's 1.2 billion people.

In India, a Broken Systems Leaves a Broken People Powerless

As India paid glowing tributes to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the architect of its constitution and a champion of the downtrodden, on his 124nd birth anniversary last month, public attention also swivelled to the glaring social and economic discrimination that plagues the lives of lower-caste or ‘casteless’ communities – who comprise over 16 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people.

Acid Attacks Still a Burning Issue in India

Vinita Panikker, 26, considers herself "the world's most unfortunate woman".

No Rest for the Elderly in India

As more and more people in India enter the ‘senior citizen’ category, ugly cracks are beginning to appear in a social structure that claims to value the institution of family but in reality expresses disdain for the bonds of blood.

Next Page »