THE BIG STORY: For the first time ever, a PM breaks the silence on women’s workforce participation

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was speaking at a conference of state labour ministers in New Delhi.

“The future needs flexible workplaces, a work-from-home ecosystem and flexible work hours,” he said. These, he added, are “opportunities for women’s labour force participation.”

To my mind, no prime minister has ever openly acknowledged India’s two-decade-old crisis in women’s employment. It’s a crisis that puts us barely ahead of Saudi Arabia in terms of the percentage of women who have jobs or are looking for work.

Modi did not make a direct reference to what has been one of the world’s most rapid declines in women’s workforce participation. Nor did he touch upon reasons why Indian women have been quitting paid work in droves. Still, just acknowledging the problem is a start.

Araam karo

Between 2004 and 2020, 46 million women (roughly the population of Malaysia) quit paid work. This happened at a time when more women were getting educated, when fertility rates were falling and when the post liberalisation era was creating newer job opportunities. So, at a time when you’d imagine more women would be getting jobs, they were actually logging out.

It was a mystery. But apart from a few economists, there has been radio silence, more or less, from politicians, policy-makers and, until Covid, even media.

In 2017, when I began a year-long series of articles to understand why women were quitting paid work, most people were taken aback. “But you see women everywhere. Are you sure they are dropping off the labour force? You must be mistaken,” was the sort of response I invariably got, at least from non-economists and lay people.

Imagine what would have happened if men in such large numbers had lost jobs.

Protests. Bus burning. Rail roko. Mayhem. Fall of government.

But when women lose jobs, they disappear quietly into their kitchens. Nobody says, “How terrible.” For many families, it can even be a matter of prestige that ‘their’ women don’t need to work and can relax, araam karo, at home and focus on their true calling of bringing up model children and making sure their husbands and in-laws are well looked after.

Coronavirus changes the conversation

First, it brought with it the reality of domestic work and the disproportionate burden on women. Locked down at home with their wives (and minus domestic helpers), I think men saw for the first time just what it took to run a house, keep it clean, put food on the table, supervise the kids’ homework.

Research by economist Ashwini Deshpande found that in the early days, men chipped in far more than they had ever done before. Sadly, by the end of the year, it was back to the usual this-is-women’s-work nonsense.

Yet, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that we are talking more vocally than before about the assumptions that it is women’s work to cook, clean, care for children and elderly. Political parties even began making election-time promises of allowances to women.

Second, two years into the pandemic brought with it the idea that work from home was a real possibility. This is the game-changer Modi was referring to at the labour ministers conference. And, yes, it definitely works for some women though others who I have interviewed grumble that work-from-home often means live-at-work since you’re always on the clock.

Another glass ceiling gets a knock

On Tuesday, Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot gave 11 women their appointment letters as drivers for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses. He also committed to hire 200 women bus drivers.

Delhi’s first woman bus driver V Saritha was hired in 2015. Seven years later she remained the only woman bus driver.

Why? The old buses had fixed seats and you had to be of a certain minimum height to drive them. Now, low floor buses with adjustable seats can be driven by shorter drivers. Ergo, more women.

Delhi is ranked as the fourth-worst city in the world for public transport for women, according to a 2014 survey. In a bid to get more women to take the bus, the Aam Aadmi Party has already waived ticket fares from women on buses.

Now, hiring more women drivers and conductors on buses will instil greater confidence and enable more women to use public transport. And, this in turn, will enable more women to take up jobs away from their homes.

If this is not the definition of a virtuous circle, then I don’t know what is.


From 33% of women in 1998-99 who said they would prefer a son over a daughter, just 15% of Indian women now say they prefer sons, finds Pew Research analysis of the latest round of the National Family Health Survey.


“I am human and I too sometimes long for joy, light and fun amidst these dark clouds.”

Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin responded to a video showing her dancing at a party and added she ‘hadn’t missed a day of work’. Around the world, women showed support as #DanceLikeSanna trended.


Credit : Indian Express

Adored by million from both sides of the border, Pakistani singer Nayyara Noor died after a brief illness. She was 71. The Guwahati-born singer whose family migrated to Lahore in 1958 had no formal training in music but learned by listening to Begum Akhtar’s ghazals and Kanan Bala’s bhajans in her childhood.

Listen to Pakistan’s nightingale sing Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Tum Mere Paas Raho here.

FIELD NOTES: Women leaders do better than men in times of crisis (but first you have to give them a chance)

Even though women leaders remain under-represented on Covid 19 taskforces across the world, they outperformed their male counterparts in their response to the Coronavirus pandemic, finds a new paper.

Published in the Journal of European Public Policy, the paper examines task forces and gender-sensitive policy responses in 62 countries using data compiled by the UN Development Programme and UN Women. It found, on average only 25% of task force members are women. Women are also slotted into advisory rather than decision-making roles. But in countries led by women there is notably higher representation of women on task forces.

Including women in executive office impacts gender-sensitive policy outcomes. In terms of crisis response, women leaders top men for their apparent compassionate approach. When women are present in decision-making, there are better outcomes for women, finds the paper.

Moreover, crises can be moments of opportunity where women can gain executive office, in what is known as the ‘glass cliff’ phenomenon. But male leadership will be preferred when in high threat conditions when, typically, voters prefer ‘strong’ leadership that is associated with masculinity.

Read the paper here.


Bilkis Bano update: Supreme Court wants Gujarat to explain

Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court has asked the Gujarat government to explain the grounds on which it freed the 11 men convicted of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and murdering people in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The men had been sentenced to life imprisonment but walked out of jail on Independence Day after serving 15 years.

“We are only concerned if there was an application of mind in granting the remission and if it was within the parameters of law,” a three-judge bench of chief justice NV Ramanna and judges Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath told senior advocate Kapil Sibal who had filed a public interest litigation on behalf of three petitioners. Sibal told the court that the crime was horrific and the convicts were not entitled to premature release in the public interest.

Khusbhu Sundar speaks up

BJP politician Khusbu Sundar became the lone female voice from her party to speak up and condemn the release of the 11 men. “A woman who is raped, assaulted, brutalised and her soul scarred for life must get justice. No man who has been involved in it should go free,” she tweeted.

T for thirunangai*

Acting on instructions from the Madras high court, the Tamil Nadu government has issued a glossary of terms in Tamil to be used to address and describe the LGBTQI community with dignity and respect. The glossary has largely been adapted from one that was created by The News Minute, Queer Chennai Chronicles, Orinam and several individuals.*(transgender woman)

Kerala high court fixes mess by judge who ruled on ‘sexually provocative clothes’

The judge who passed two controversial orders in separate cases concerning sexual harassment charges brought against writer Civic Chandran has been transferred. In the first case, judge S Krishnakumar granted anticipatory bail to Chandran since the woman who had filed the complaint wore ‘sexually provocative clothes’. In the second, the judge declared that Chandran could not have touched a Dalit woman since he was a reformist.

The orders created outrage on social media. The Kerala high court has set aside both orders and transferred the judge to a labour court in south Kerala’s Kollam district.


In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the repeal of Section 377A that criminalises sex between men. But, there’s a caveat: the right to amend the Constitution to recognise same-sex marriage, vests with Parliament, reports The Straits Times. That’s not likely to change any time soon.

In Wyoming, Republican Liz Cheney has paid the price for defying Donald Trump by being crushed in a primary election. But it might not be lights out yet as Cheney hints at a 2024 White House bid.

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THE BIG STORY: The long (and sometimes futile) wait for justice by rape survivors

On India’s 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need to support ‘nari shakti’ (women power) and called for a ‘change in the mentality’ towards women.

Later that day, 11 men serving a life term after being convicted of gangraping and murdering 14 people in the 2002 Gujarat riots walked out of Godhra jail and went home.

They were felicitated with sweets and garlanded. BJP legislator C.K. Raulji, one of the members of the panel that had unanimously ruled for the early release of the men, told Mojo Story the men are Brahmins and Brahmins have good sanskar (values).

The Gujarat state’s remission policy allows for the early release of prisoners who have completed at least 14 years of a life term; these men had served 15. But those convicted of heinous crimes, including gangrape, are ineligible. Those found guilty of crimes investigated by the CBI are also ineligible – unless the state government has the express permission of the central government to do so.

Bilkis Bano, who was five months pregnant when the men killed her three-year-old daughter and then took turns to rape her, her mother and other relatives, leaving them for dead, said she was unaware that any of the men had applied for remission. “How can justice for any women end like this?” she said in a statement released through her attorney Shobha Gupta. “The release of these convicts has taken me from my peace and shaken my faith in justice.”

Justice for rape should not be so hard to find

In 2019, a Delhi court sentenced former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger to spend the rest of his life in jail for kidnapping and raping a minor girl in 2017. But a local court in Unnao issued a non-bailable warrant on the survivor for alleged cheating and forgery filed by the father of Shubham Singh, one of the accused being tried in the rape case.

Calling the complaint a ‘counter judicial proceeding’, the Unnao rape survivor filed an application in the Supreme Court to have the case transferred to a Delhi court. The apex court has agreed to hear the case next week.

In Hathras, the family of a Dalit girl who was gangraped and murdered in September 2020, her body forcibly cremated in the middle of the night by the police, is still waiting for the Uttar Pradesh government to fulfil its promise of a house and a job so that they can be relocated and pick up the pieces of their lives.

The family of a nine-year-old Dalit girl raped and killed at an electric crematorium in Delhi’s cantonment area waits for justice one year later; their lives upended, unable to continue working as daily wage labourers because of the police security that accompanies them everywhere.

In the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, of the seven women who eventually filed complaints of rape, only one woman continues to fight for justice; one died of natural causes and five others eventually withdrew their statement in 2018. “They still have to live there amongst the accused who wield political clout,” explained human rights lawyer Shubhangi Singh who worked with the survivors.

Bilkis Bano spent 17 years fighting for the conviction of the 11 men, changing homes 20 times in the course of these years. Local police officers initially refused to file her complaint. It was only after the National Human Rights Commission intervened and the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to investigate, that the men were arrested in January 2004, nearly two years after the crime.

In August of 2004, the Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred out of Gujarat to Mumbai. In January 2008, the Mumbai trial court found the men were guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment; the CBI wanted the death sentence. The men went into appeal and in May 2017, the Bombay High Court upheld the sentence.

Then, unknown to Bilkis Bano, after spending 15 years in jail, one of the men filed for remission, or early release, in May 2022. Three months, all 11 were set free.

“Bilkis is someone who believed in the system. She thanked the Supreme Court when it granted her compensation. I have no words to imagine what she is going through,” said senior advocate and criminal lawyer Rebecca John. “What does it say of us as a democratic republic that celebrates the men who gangrape, murder and kill a baby? What is left to say?

India’s rape crisis

Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau found an average of 77 rapes reported a day in 2020—a year when the nation was under a strict lock-down. For 2019, there were 88 rapes reported every day.

Conviction rates for rape were as low as 27.8% for 2020. To put it another way, out of every 100 rapes reported, 72 accused get away.

It’s not conviction rates alone. “We do not have an ecosystem conducive to any victim, let alone rape victims,” said attorney Aparna Bhatt who set up Delhi’s rape crisis cell in 2005. “Just going to the police station is a challenge. Nobody wants to believe women. There is no support system for vulnerable classes. Complainants and witnesses are threatened by the perpetrators. Even going to court for hearings is a challenge.”

A woman who has suffered sexual violence cannot be treated like a victim of theft, Bhatt continued. She needs medical and social support, psychological counselling, and assistance to relocate and find a job.

It can take as many as 100 days to file a first information report (FIR) in police stations in UP, found a study, Barriers in Accessing Justice by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Association for Advocacy and Legal initiatives. “Even when cases get filed, the happen only with the help of a paralegal or a lawyer,” said Shubhangi Singh who wrote the report.

Very often the hostility comes from the judiciary. This week, a judge in Kozhikode, Kerala dismissed two separate cases of sexual harassment brought against the writer, Civic Chandran. In the first, the judge ruled out sexual harassment saying the woman had worn ‘sexually provocative clothes’, in the second he said Chandran is a reformist who has fought the caste system and, so, could not have possibly touched the second woman complainant who is Dalit.

Why stricter laws fail as a deterrent

Recommendations by the Justice J.S. Verma Commission, set up to examine the law following the 2012 gangrape and subsequent death of a physiotherapy student in Delhi, did not include the death sentence for rape.

The Congress-led UPA government went ahead and introduced it any way.

Ever since, Parliament has kept expanding the scope of the death sentence: In 2018, for the rape of all girls below the age of 12; the Shakti Act in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for ‘heinous’ rape and gang-rape cases; in 2019, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences tweaked to punish ‘aggravated sexual assault’ with a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of the death penalty.

Ironically, stricter sentencing often results in a reluctance by judges to pronounce guilty sentences. If you know you’re going to put away a man for life, or sentence him to the gallows, you are going to want to be sure of the evidence. If the witness is less than perfect, if the evidence gathering is even slightly dodgy, you might be inclined to give the accused the benefit of the doubt.

“Stricter punishments do not serve the cause of women,” said John. “More and more women are being disbelieved and more and more men are being acquitted. I think it’s time to tone it down.”

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot waded into emotive territory with his recent comments on how the expansion of death sentences for rape offences has led to more women and girls being killed.

The Congress chief minister of Rajasthan which recorded 5,310 rape cases, the most for any state in 2020, presented no data linking the death sentence with murder. But his concern reflects an argument often used by activists: If death is the outcome of rape convictions wouldn’t rapists opt to murder their victims rather than leave them alive to testify against them?

“Changing the law is easy. But the death sentence is not a deterrent. What is, is an effective system of trials and convictions where perpetrators know that they will be caught and punished,” said Bhatt.

In any case, the death sentence is rarely used, for any crime. The last execution took place in March 2020 with the hanging of four men convicted in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.


Globally, 150 million more women than men went hungry in 2021, a year in which 828 million people were affected by hunger. The gap between men and women has widened significantly, found a new paper, up from 18 million in 2018.

CARE: Food Security and Gender Equality

FIELD NOTES : What women think of AI

In a world where women make up only 26% of data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) positions, women in the United States are less likely than men to say that technology has had a positive effect on society, finds a Pew Research report published earlier this month.

Women are also less likely than men to feel excited about the increasing use of AI computer programmes in daily life. For instance, 43% of women among the 10,260 people surveyed said they would be very, or somewhat, concerned if AI programmes could diagnose medical problems. Amongst men, only 27%.

Women were also more sceptical about driverless passenger vehicles: Only 17% said they are good for society, compared to 37% of men who believe they are. In fact, three of four, 72% of women, were clear that they would not want to sit in such a vehicle.

Read the paper here.


A Dalit boy’s thirst led to his death

In Rajasthan’s Surana village, a nine-year-old Dalit boy was alleged thrashed by his teacher after he drank water from a pot reserved for dominant castes in a private school. The teacher, Chail Singh, 40, allegedly beat the boy so severely that he died of his wounds in an Ahmedabad hospital, 23 days later.

The teacher has been arrested and an inquiry into the incident has been ordered by the Congress-led government of Ashok Gehlot.

In limbo in Tashkent

The ban on India by football’s apex body, FIFA for ‘flagrant violations’ has meant that India will not be able to host the women’s U-17 World Cup. It has also left Gokulam Kerala FC, the first Indian women’s team to qualify for an AFC club championship, hanging in Tashkent, unsure of whether they will be allowed to play. “Full punch we are going ahead,” head coach Priya PV told Dhiman Sarkar. The team’s first match is scheduled for August 23 against Iran.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka Oscars) has apologised to actor and activist Sacheen Littlefeather for the abuse she endured after refusing Marlon Brando’s 1973 Oscar on his behalf.

Brando was to have received the best actor award for The Godfather but could not attend and so asked Littlefeather to publicly turn down the award on his behalf in protest against the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films. But as Littlefeather, the first Native American to step onto the Academy Awards stage, began to speak, she was booed and heckled. Actor John Wayne had to be physically restrained from storming the stage to attack her, reports HuffPost. And, of course, that was the end of her career.

Now 75, she will hosted for an evening of ‘conversation, healing and celebration’ in September “I never thought I’d live to see this day,” she said.


In Saudi Arabia, a student of Leeds University, UK who was home for the holidays has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on twitter, reports The Guardian.

In Italy, Giorgia Meloni is riding a wave of popularity with a message that blends Christianity, motherhood and patriotism that could next month see her become Italy’s first women prime minister and its first far-right leader since World War II. Associated Press has the story.

In Silicon Valley, Apple has updated its general employee conduct policy to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of caste to its already existing categories of race, religion, gender, age and ancestry, reports Reuters.

Scotlandreports BBC, has become the first country in the world to ensure universal access to free period products following the passing of landmark legislation in 2020.

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THE BIG STORY: There’s nothing funny about domestic violence, least of all ‘dark comedy’ Darlings


In a week dominated by chatter around Netflix’s new release, Darlings, comes the sombre news of yet another woman dying by suicide on August 3 after eight years of marriage and unceasing domestic violence.

“I kept thinking he’ll reform,” Mandeep Kaur says of her husband Ranjodhbeer Singh Sandhu in a video that has gone viral ever since she recorded it in Queens, New York just before dying of suicide. “He keeps getting drunk… has extra-marital affairs… and hits me,” the 30-year-old says in Punjabi.

According to Jaspal Singh, Mandeep’s father, demands for dowry from Ranjodhbeer, a truck driver, and his family began soon after the marriage in 2014. The abuse escalated after the birth of their first daughter. When the violence became intolerable, Mandeep’s family filed a complaint with the New York police. A chastened Sandhu then apologised to his wife and promised to end the abuse.

According to Jaspal Singh, Mandeep’s father, demands for dowry from Ranjodhbeer, a truck driver, and his family began soon after the marriage in 2014. The abuse escalated after the birth of their first daughter. When the violence became intolerable, Mandeep’s family filed a complaint with the New York police. A chastened Sandhu then apologised to his wife and promised to end the abuse.

It only got worse. “My in-laws didn’t do anything to help me…you all ganged up and left me helpless,” says a weeping Mandeep in the video.

The Indian embassy tweeted that it is in touch with the US authorities and the Uttar Pradesh police has registered criminal cases against Ranjodhbeer Singh Sandhu and his parents. According to the Kaur Movement, that helps sexual and domestic abuse victims, the Americans are treating the death as a homicide and not suicide and social services has taken charge of Mandeep’s little girls, aged 4 and 6.

But in a post on Friday, the Kaur Movement said as Mandeep’s next-of-kin Ranjodhbeer had been handed over her body and had conducted her funeral in secret.

Real life v reel life

Source: BBC News and Netflix

Cinematic treatment of domestic abuse does not always have to be grim. Maid, a 10-part series also on Netflix, is the real life story of a young mother who walks out of an abusive relationship. It is affirmative and, at times, funny. When it was released in October 2021, it was the top five most-watched show for weeks.

Darlings too opened to mostly positive reviews and, according to BBC’s Geeta Pandey quoting a statement from Netflix has had “the highest global opening ever for a non-English Indian film”.

But to find the comedy, dark or of any other hue, in Darlings is hard. The first half of the film that shows a volatile husband take umbrage against a multitude of minor faults, from the stone in his rice to the discovery of his wife’s shopping spree, is triggering and traumatic precisely because it is so graphic in its telling.

“Would I hit you if I didn’t love you?” the faux contrite husband asks. Convinced that her husband will change, the wife, Badru rejects the legitimate escape routes that come her way. These include the local police who urges her to register a case so that it can arrest the husband. The alternatives also include the independent life lived by her mother, Shamshu. Shamshu has brought up her daughter single-handed and is now venturing into a home catering business.

Yet, it is the mother who rejects the simple option of a divorce on the grounds that it will stigmatize her daughter.

The second half doesn’t get better with Badru extracting her vengeance. If the first half cuts close to reality, the second (and presumably comedic half) is fantasy. A husband as dominant and vicious as this one tied up and tortured for days in a crowded chawl? I don’t think so.

More to the point, violence for violence instead of taking a legal route sounds like a cop-out. In the end, if justice is served it is not by Badru’s actions but by a twist of fate.

So, what is the message? That women caught in an abusive marriage should remain optimistic and that in the end, everything will be magically resolved on its own? It is offensive and disrespectful to every woman who suffers domestic abuse.

Domestic violence tropes

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Darlings is set in a Mumbai chawl and feeds into several tropes about domestic violence – that it happens within a certain lower middle class economic strata (not true), that it is triggered by alcoholism (that’s not the only reason and nor is every man who drinks an abuser).

Worst of all, with its unrelenting focus on Badru, the film seems to endorse the notion that women are to blame for the violence inflicted on them by their spouses – a meal that’s not up to scratch, disobeying an order, suspicion of an affair. The husband is never to blame, especially if he’s acting under the influence.

Darlings is an important film because films on real issues are few and far between,” said Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO of Breakthrough, a non-profit that works towards making violence against women and girls unacceptable. “But the onus of leaving an abusive relationship cannot lie only with the survivor.”

The willingness of the police to help Badru flies against the reality of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) findings that just 3% of domestic abuse victims seek help from the police.

In seven states, more than a quarter of the women surveyed by NFHS-5 said they faced violence by a spouse. In Bihar, a ‘dry’ state, 40% of women are victims, and that’s a decline from 43.7% in 2015-16.

In Karnataka, the numbers of married women who reported facing physical or sexual violence from a spouse more than doubled, from 20.6% five years ago to 44.4% in 2019-20.

Nothing funny about domestic violence

Domestic abuse and the patriarchal systems that support it is not funny. Darlings is out of its depth when it veers into ‘dark comedy’ terrain.

This in fact ties in with NFHS findings that a majority of people—more women than men—justify spousal abuse. In Telangana, 83.8% of women surveyed (70.4% of men) said violence from a husband was justified on grounds including disrespecting in-laws, neglecting the house and children and on suspicion of marital fidelity.

In the end, the joke in Darlings is on us – and on the one in three victims of spousal abuse.

India has strict laws against domestic violence. If you are a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse from your spouse, you can call:
All India Women’s Helpline: 1091
Emergency Response Support System: 112
Women’s Helpline: 181


“Indian women are blessed; scriptures like Manusmriti give a very respectable position to women.”

Justice Pratibha M Singh of the Delhi high court set off a storm for praising the laws of Manu that prohibit pigs, dogs, roosters, menstruating women and eunuchs from looking at Brahmins while they eat and insist on women being under the control of her father, husband and son as she progresses in life.


Indian women athletes brought home nine of the 22 gold medals, including one for Lawn Bowls Women’s Four and one for the mixed team table tennis won at the Commonwealth Games. Women athletes also accounted for seven of India’s 16 silver and 10 out of 23 bronze medals.


Credit : Nikita Gill

With more than a million fans online, Britain’s most followed poet Nikita Gill has a new book out this month. These are the words, says the blurb, is an ‘empowering, feminist and beautifully illustrated poetry collection’ that covers a range of issues from fat shaming to heartbreak—all the things that 35-year-old Gill wishes someone had told her when she was younger.

The book is out on August 18, but you can pre-order it for Rs 667.


CREDIT: The Hindu Archives

Once hailed as Asia’s fastest woman, a fierce rival of P.T. Usha in the 1980s and one of the Philippines’ most decorated athletes, Lydia de Vega died of breast cancer on Wednesday. Usha told Sportstar that Lydia was ‘a good friend and a great rival’ against whom she had lost the 100m twice, once in New Delhi in 1982 and once in Seoul in 1986. But after being beaten in New Delhi, Usha beat her in the 200m.

In 2005, well after her retirement, Lydia opted for a life coaching children and people with disabilities in Singapore, The Straits Times said in an obituary


A student hacked into his professor’s private Instagram account. She got sacked

Kolkata’s St Xavier’s university reportedly forced an assistant professor to quit in October 2021 after a parent complained that he had caught his son, her student, going through ‘objectionable’ photographs posted by her on her private instagram account.

The professor who plans to move the Calcutta high court has demanded an apology and monetary compensation from St Xaviers. She said the photographs, including two in which she is wearing a bikini, were uploaded by her in June 2021, two months before she joined the university.

No action has been taken against the student but the father complained that it is “obscene, vulgar and improper… to see his professor dressed in scanty clothes.”

Man who abused, assaulted woman in a viral video, arrested, denied bail

After being on the run for over 48 hours, self-styled politician Shrikant Tyagi was finally arrested on Tuesday after a video showing him abusing and assaulting a woman at a high-rise in Noida went viral. The BJP has distanced itself from Tyagi whose bail application has been denied by a UP court. Prior to his arrest, Tyagi’s supporters had stormed the housing society in a bid to ascertain the woman’s address. Illegal portions of his property were demolished by the state authorities.

Breaking through

Students in government schools in Odisha will now study a gender equity curriculum that has been integrated into their regular social studies syllabus from grades six to 10. The partnership between the state department of school and mass education, non-profit Breakthrough and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia will use interactive classroom discussions to encourage adolescent boys and girls to reflect on culturally embedded gender norms and practices in order to transform gender attitudes and behaviours.


In Toronto, a day after announcing her retirement from tennis, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams lost her first match to Belinda Bencic. Williams who turns 41 next month said in an article in Vogue she wants to ‘evolve’ from the sport to focus attention on her venture capital firm and having a second baby. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family,” she wrote.

In Afghanistan, one year after the Taliban swept back to power on August 15, women continue to be absent from senior government positions, girls remain shut out of high school education and women need to a male relative to chaperone them if they undertake a journey that is more than 78 km from home. Reuters reports on a grim anniversary.

In Singapore, a man found guilty of raping his daughter while his wife was undergoing treatment for cancer has been sentenced to 24 years in jail – and 24 strokes of the cane, reports The Straits Times.


Do listen to this 2019 acapella rendering of the national anthem without any instruments that melds eight harmonious voices.

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