Archive for 'India'
Posted on May 12, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Crime, India, International.
MUMBAI, India — Over the past few years, Somali pirates have posed a bigger and bigger challenge to India, disrupting its trade, capturing its merchants, attacking closer to its shores and — like a game of Calvinball — changing the unwritten rules as they go.
But India will not give up.
Faced with a growing threat from these men in boats, India is stepping up its fight with a variety of measures aimed at ending the menace. The efforts, say maritime security experts, also provide India an opportunity to flex its muscles on the world stage and show that it is willing and able to be a strong regional and global power.
“It’s a very big priority for us,” said P.K. Ghosh, a senior fellow at Observer Research Foundation with an expertise in maritime security. “The Indian government is taking [piracy] very seriously.”
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Posted on April 26, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Religion.
MUMBAI, India — Covered from head to toe, the women stood separate from the men and in many ways acted out traditions common to all Muslims.
They prayed in Arabic and beat their chests. Thousands of Dawoodi Bohra Muslim women cried as their leader, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, spoke on the occasion of his 100th birthday at the Saifee Mosque in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar.
But rather than wearing black burqas, like other religious Muslim women in India, these Bohra women wore hot pink.
They also wore deep reds, forest greens, bright blues. Every color imaginable, it seemed — except black.
Some say that’s no coincidence.
The traditional costume, called a rida, worn by Dawoodi Bohra women represents one of many ways this community of about 1.2 million people differentiates itself from other Muslims in India, say sociologists and historians.
India’s 161 million Muslims tend to be a marginalized minority with lower education and income levels than the country’s Hindus and Christians. There is also long-standing prejudice against Muslims by those who perceive the community as violent, poor, socially backward and sexist. This can cause discrimination against Muslims in everything from housing to jobs.
The Bohras want none of that.
Continue reading and see the slideshow at GlobalPost.
Posted on April 4, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International.
MUMBAI, India — Subash and Vimal Barve live in a 200-square-foot shack deep in the slums of Ghatkopar East, a suburb of Mumbai. Outside their home, rats run over broken cement slabs and children pick through a fly-infested dump that ends at the couple’s doorstep. Inside, Vimal prepares a pot of chai as Subash, blind and HIV positive, stares straight ahead.
Life wasn’t always this hard.
A decade ago, the couple lived a middle-class life. They owned an apartment in Goregaon, a northern suburb of Mumbai, and a shoe shop in nearby Andheri. At one point, Subash employed eight assistants and earned 50,000 to 100,000 rupees ($1,100 to $2,200) a month. They rode around town on a motorbike, and when they went to the market, they never questioned how much food they bought.
“We have gone from a time when we had a lot of money to nothing,” said Vimal, sitting on the floor of her home.
Subash is one of about 320,000 disabled people living with HIV in India, according to a 2007 report by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). There is a higher prevalence of disabled people living with HIV than in the general population because of factors related to poverty, it states. Poverty increases vulnerability to HIV, and people with disabilities are over-represented among the poorest of the poor.
However, despite this correlation, those with disabilities who are living with HIV have not been targeted by assistance programs in India, according to Heather Ferreira, a program officer for the HIV/AIDS program at World Vision India.
Less than 2 percent of those with disabilities living with HIV receive support from HIV programs, the DFID report states.
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Follow Hanna on Twitter: @Hanna_India
Posted on March 27, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International.
MUMBAI, India – Nearly four decades ago a janitor at a Mumbai hospital raped a young nurse, strangling her with a dog chain. The nurse, Aruna Shanbaug, plunged into a vegetative state from which she never recovered.
Thirty-seven years later, the courts say she could be allowed to die — should those who care for her deem it the best decision. Right-to-die activists are heralding the landmark ruling as as step forward, though in a somewhat surprising turn of events, the nurses who care for Shanbaug have not chosen to exercise this new right.
Regardless, the court’s decision to allow passive euthanasia has once again provoked debate over whether terminally ill patients should be allowed to die willfully.
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Posted on March 14, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, Media, women.
An exhibition featuring the work of India’s first female photojournalist is showing at the National Gallery of Modern Art through April 11. The collection of about 150 photographs by Homai Vyarawalla includes images of the last days of the British Empire, the Indian Independence movement and the birth and subsequent struggles of a new nation.
Ms. Vyarawalla, who is now 97, spent most of her career working for the British Information Services, which later became the British High Commission. Many of her photographs depict important political leaders and events in India’s modern history. These include the first flag-hoisting ceremony at Red Fort and the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi.
The exhibition (Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort; 91-22-2288-1971) also includes photographs of Indians enjoying leisure time at cultural events, social gatherings, school functions and private institutions, said Sabeena Gadihoke, a curator and the author of a biographical book on the photographer, “Camera Chronicles of Homai Vyarawalla.”
Continue reading at NYTimes.com.
Posted on March 10, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International, women.
MUMBAI, India — “Chai Baby,” “Baby Masala” and “Made in India.” These are a few of the many blogs written by infertile Westerners trying to start a family through surrogacy in India. For the most part, the blogs tell tales of frustration, nervous anticipation and joy.
Commercial surrogacy has boomed in recent years as a result of India’s low cost of labor, lack of regulations and relatively inexpensive yet high quality medical care.
Surrogacy, which can cost upwards of $70,000 in the United States, is only a quarter of that in India. The Indian women who carry the babies earn about $5,000 to $7,000, upwards of 10 years’ salary for rural Indians.
“India is fast becoming a hub for surrogacy,” said Amit Karkhanis, a lawyer in Mumbai whose office, KayLegal, gets one new query a day from someone who wants to come to India to have a baby via surrogacy. “Five years ago, we were not even doing this.”
But not every surrogacy story has a happy ending, and given the fact that each country has its own laws on the matter, some Westerners who have engaged in the practice in India are finding themselves in legal limbo. As a result, the Indian government may soon regulate the surrogacy industry.
Consider the case of Kari Ann Volden, from Norway.
Continue reading from GlobalPost.
Posted on February 25, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Health, India, International, women.
CBC Radio’s Dispatches is replaying my story on maternal mortality in Assam’s tea gardens as well as an interview with me.
“If Sulekha Lohar only had access to an ambulance instead of that handcart in rural India. If the local clinic just had a doctor instead of empty shelves. If the nearest hospital just had a blood bank, her children might still have their mother. Troubling public health issues facing women in the developing world have been the focue of Hanna Ingber Win’s work. ”
Follow me on Twitter: Hanna_India
Posted on February 8, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Crime, India, International, women.
MUMBAI, India — A poor girl in northern India is a member of the lowest caste. She winds up in jail after fleeing her alleged rapists. These alleged rapists are powerful men.
What are the odds the story gets better from here?
Slim, to say the least.
“Here child marriage is rampant, abuse of minor girls is rampant, abductions are very frequent,” said Tapas Kumar Chakraborty, a community volunteer and journalist in Uttar Pradesh, where the girl lives. “The powerful men and the gangsters get away with everything.”
And yet, the story of this girl appears to be an exception — at least so far.
Months after losing her mother, this teenage girl living in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, was abducted. The girl’s father, a farm laborer, pleaded with a state assemblyman to help him find his daughter. The legislator helped rescue the girl and then offered to let her live with him as his domestic help. The father agreed.
“He thought she would be safe there,” said Chakraborty. “But that didn’t happen unfortunately.”
The legislator, Purshottam Naresh Dwivedi, and three other men allegedly raped and beat the 17-year-old repeatedly. The girl tried to flee, but she was caught, beaten, accused of theft and handed over to the police, according to news reports. The girl, a minor, spent a month in jail.
It is not uncommon for powerful men who sexually assault or exploit women in India to use their money or political connections to shield themselves from legal consequences.
“This is one such reported case. There are many, many, many such unreported cases,” said Amitabh Kumbar of the Centre for Social Research. “Exploitation of poor women by politicians is a common trait not just in UP [Uttar Pradesh] but across the country.”
But thanks to a combination of factors connected to her own personality, an active civil society and political games in her state, the girl has not only been freed from jail, but the politician and other accused men have been arrested. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Party’s general secretary and heir apparent as prime minister, traveled to Uttar Pradesh on Monday and met with the girl at her village.
In a place like Banda, there is usually little chance that a poor girl will manage to get out of jail or that authorities will arrest powerful men.
Why has this case turned out differently?
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Posted on January 26, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under Crime, India, International, Media, women.
MUMBAI, India — “Envoy shames India.” “India-UK diplomatic row.” “Diplomatic cover for domestic violence?” “Wife beating hardly diplomatic.” These are some recent headlines peppering Indian news outlets.
Put plainly, the case of a senior Indian diplomat allegedly beating up his wife at their London home has caused quite a stir. Indians are debating everything from the role of diplomatic immunity to what extent one allegedly violent husband can shame an entire nation.
But perhaps most strikingly, the case reflects India’s complicated relationship with and often tolerance for domestic violence. In India, many communities still condone marital abuse.
Continue reading at GlobalPost.
Posted on January 24, 2011, by Hanna Ingber, under India, International, travel.
The first night my mother and stepfather arrived in Mumbai, I stuffed them into an auto-rickshaw and took them to my local Bandra (northwest Mumbai) hangout for a bite to eat, washed down with the obligatory Sula wine. On the way back to my apartment, my mother leaned her head out the rickshaw and stared in wonderment at the tiny shacks lining the road. She turned and whispered to me: “This is all fascinating. But, you know, I’m a little disappointed. We haven’t seen a cow yet.”
And from there our weeklong adventure began. Them seeing India through my eyes, and me seeing it through theirs.
We spent two days in Mumbai so they could get a sense of where I have been living for the past year, as I’ve worked as a GlobalPost correspondent. We did the tourist must-sees – the Gateway of India and Taj bathroom stop, National Gallery of Modern Art, Jehangir Art Gallery, a view of the Queen’s Necklace from Dome. After eating butter-pepper-garlic crab at Trishna, we took a rest outside the majestic Prince of Wales museum.
As we sat on a concrete divider, my mother took photographs of Indian families with their anklet-clad children, and Indian families took photos of us. We never made it into the museum.
Continue reading and see photographs from our trip to Mumbai and Kerala at India Abroad. (Use the zoom function at the top to read it.)