Anjali is 18 years old and lives in a village in Uttar Pradesh, a state in central India. She lives with her parents and her two brothers. Her father is a driver and a farmer, and her mother works in a rural child-care center. When Anjali is not at school, she helps her father with the farm work. She writes in her diary entries about milking the family cows, her days at school and observing a Hindu fast.
Teenage girlhood in India unfolds to the backdrop of a country where a large number of women and girls regularly face violence, inequality and challenging circumstances.
Stories about rape and gender-based violence regularly make headlines out of India, and according to government data, 39,000 rapes were reported in the country in 2016, more than 19,000 of those child rapes. The statistics about girls in the country are often staggering: While the incidence of child marriage is going down, there are still 17 million girls between the ages of 10 and 19 who are married. And earlier this year, the Indian government said there are 21 million “unwanted girls” in the country who get fewer educational opportunities and nutrition than boys, and that 2 million women and girls go “missing” every year because of a range of reasons, including abortion of female fetuses and neglect.
Today is July 22, and it’s also a Sunday. Today I woke up at 6:30 a.m. I washed the dishes and swept the floors. My mom woke up and she threw out the trash and then she bathed. I cleaned the kitchen properly then I also bathed. My mother was doing her puja [prayers].
I made tea and milk. Then my parents, my younger brother, Ashish, and I all had tea together. Then Ashish and my father went to graze the cows. Today is Sunday, which is why I cleaned my house.
My head started hurting so I lay down to rest after taking some medicine. I fell asleep then I woke up at 1:33 p.m. I washed my hands and face, and then I took a bath. I ate food and then near my house, there was a lot of trash. I explained to the people there that they shouldn’t litter, and told them to pick up trash from here. They said no. For three days, I’ve been aggressively telling them to pick up their trash. Today when they hadn’t pick up their trash, I bothered them and they threw out their trash, because of which my entire neighborhood became clean. That made me feel good.
It was 4 p.m. in the afternoon and I sewed a tunic for myself. It took me two hours to sew it. It was then 6 p.m. and I washed the dishes and swept the floors. My mom did the sewing. Then I went to milk the cows. My mom made food. We all ate and watched TV. Then I emptied all the plates and cleaned the kitchen.
This morning I woke up at 5:37 a.m. I washed the dishes, then I swept the floors and cleaned the kitchen.
Today, I have come to school. Today, I have a fast for ekadashi [a religious fast, based on the Hindu lunar calendar].
My sociology class was at 10:20 a.m. After that, I had Hindi and then I went to study hall. One of my friends, Manisha — she lives in Shivolar — met me. We were both very happy to see each other. We made a lot of mischief in hall, then she went home.
After hall, I had my political class. I studied, and then school let out at 1:30 p.m.
After I came home, one of my feet started hurting. After I changed my clothes, I put medicine on my foot and rested. I couldn’t have any medicine because of my fast. After resting I woke up, swept the floor, boiled milk and drank it. At 5 p.m. I went to my tutoring class.
I had a lot of fun in tutoring today because Sir did not come. So we all listened to songs on the computer, watched videos, played games and had fun. Today I didn’t do any new work.
When I got back, it was 8 p.m. at night. I went to milk the cow, came back and warmed the milk, then I drank it. My parents and Ashish had all eaten dinner. I emptied all the dishes and left them for washing.
China and India have 70 million more men than women. The consequences are far-reaching. (The Washington Post)
‘Men treat us like we aren’t human.’ Indian girls learn to fight back. (TheNew York Times)
The girls of this small Indian town have started a soccer revolution (Roads & Kingdoms)