RH Reality Check, Asia
Deepali Gaur Singh is a Bangalore-based (Karnataka, India) academic and media practitioner. She is the author of the book ‘Drugs Production and Trafficking in Afghanistan,’ published by Pentagon Press which focuses on the economy and politics of Afghanistan, in particular, the effects of the narcotics trade on the security and stability of the region as also globally. She has an M.Phil. and Ph.D. on Tajikistan and Afghanistan from the Central Asian Studies Division, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Deepali is also a filmmaker and photographer. She has been actively engaged with developmental organisations in rural Karnataka, Rajasthan, New Delhi and Orissa documenting social change and developing an archive of alternative images in different media on issues ranging from early childcare and primary education, health, environment to the informal sector workforce. She has also made a film on the situation of immigrants in Germany where she studied at the University of Hanover while on a DAAD scholarship in July 2000. As a freelancer she has researched and written extensively on Afghanistan and the new Central Asian Republics. Many of her writings have been published in Indian national dailies like, the Deccan Herald and in Kabul Press, an Afghanistan-based news and current affairs website. She is the recipient of the NTS-Asia post doctoral Research fellowship, 2009-2010. She is a member of the Cluster for Excellence, Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg and has been awarded a post doctoral fellowship by the DFG (German Research Foundation) at the cluster between November 2008 to January 2009 and August 2009 to January 2010.
With over 35 million homeless children in India, and shelters for only 36,000 of them, children’s lives can be precariously balanced and sexual abuse is widespread. But even those living at home are not always safe.
Bigamy is outlawed in India with the exception of the Muslim minority community which is governed by its own personal/ family law. In reality, even non-Muslim men have been able to use the method of quick-fix conversions to undermine the law.
For most communities in traditional communities in India, a bride is expected to be a virgin and concepts of honor and dignity run deep. Now the government is accused of promoting virginity testing at mass weddings.
Though still more young girls than boys are kidnapped for marriage, there are parts of India where kidnappings of boys for marriage occur more frequently than for ransom.
The Taliban succeeded in pushing back women’s rights by centuries. But eight years of international presence in Afghanistan have not improved women’s prospects by much if at all.
Movement or displacement of women after marriage in India is a phenomenon commonly linked to issues of exploitation and trafficking of women.
Gender discrimination and conservative socio-political agendas can work against women’s right just about anywhere in the world.
Despite the annual show of presence in different parts of India during gay pride parades, lesbians continue to remain one of the more closeted groups amongst the LGBT community.
Despite some progress in electing women, too few women legislators are getting elected, and India’s Parliament remains dominated by men.
The international community played a role during the drafting of the Afghan constitution, ensuring seats for women in Parliament. Now this is the time to follow up on those principles that they enshrined for the Afghan people.