This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Thousand Deaths In Silence: A Look At Choices Given To Women In India

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Jyoti Singh:

“Had she been my daughter, I would have shot her for the shame she has brought upon our family!”

How many times have you heard something of this kind before? Ask me and I will tell you that I have heard this a hundred thousand times in the many years I have lived . This is the reality of the place I was born in, no matter how grim it may seem to you.

I have come across the grand tales of killing one’s daughter for one reason or other many times now. These were the tales of horrors narrated to us when we were kids. Some of those who were murdered were my own cousins. Some of the people who killed them hold stupendous records of killing their six or seven daughters in a row till a male child was born.

The logic behind such gruesome acts of barbarity when asked was, “itna dahej kahan se layenge?” (from where will we bring so much dowry?) One cannot justify their crimes but the logic behind the murders isn’t baseless. A civil servant from the upper caste demands a dowry of one crore, while the P.O. of a government bank will not agree to marry if he is not given atleast a sum of 25 lakhs and a professor in a reputed college will not compromise on anything less than 30-35 lakhs in cash, mind it! Dowry, an evil in itself, leads to other evils in the society such as female foeticide/infanticide, subjugation of women and limiting the expenses incurred on them etc. Also, those parents who dare to raise their girl child have no other option but to indulge in unfair means to accumulate enough wealth so that they can do their daughter’s kanyadaan. Apart from this if you haven’t brought enough dowries with you then there are high chances that you could be subjected to extreme forms of domestic violence which might be fatal. Such a loss is irredeemable. These gruesome events take place in a country where the laws are pro-girls.

Therefore, when a girl elopes to marry a man of her choice, technically it should please the parents. But, unfortunately it does not. She is hunted down by all means and life after that for her is never the same. She is not supposed to marry a guy of her own sub-caste, a guy of another caste or a guy of another religion. So, before she can think of falling in love she needs to rationalize whether this relationship is feasible. And they say, “Love just happens.” Fools they are! Therefore, the options available to her are narrowed down to the guy of her parent’s choice.

So, why don’t we trust our parents that they will make the best choice for us? Is it our instinct to experiment or the influence of the so-called modern ways that we want to fall in love freely? But, love does not leave any choice. So, I asked my brother (since I dare not ask my father), “Am I allowed falling in love?” He nodded, “Yes you are by your own will! But, why do you want to opt for something which will create problems at home?” A point well made by my brother which sums up the precarious nature of choices available to us.

If I can make the choice of my career on my own, if I know what food I like, what dress I prefer, what people I like to be with, why I can’t I choose my partner? What’s so wrong with this that it does not get me the approval of my parents and society by extension? Why is that when I choose to materialize my relationship with my partner, I need to flee from home?

Why can’t I just go to my parents and say that this is the guy I want to be with?

But then, I am a good girl. I am not going to leave my father for a petty five-year long relationship with a boy. I am not even going to ask such questions. I won’t let these stupid thoughts cloud my brain. I cannot be a bad example for my younger sisters. I cannot soil my father’s honour for my dreams and desires. I cannot be the cause of the murder of a yet another girl child whose parents are scared that they will have to face the same disgrace suffered by my parents.

I am ready to die a thousand deaths in silence. This is not my own destiny…this is the collective destiny of my community.

You must be to comment.
  1. pranjal2707

    Very well pointed out that one wrong practice leads to many other and all of them being inter related. I very well agree with all the points mentioned and the amount of problems which women have to suffer is very disheartening.
    Along with this the political parties supporting this. We hear in many cases how the police and even the courts treat the couples who tend to run away and then the dilemma.
    All this has to stop and the people must not follow such cultures and traditions which inhibit the freedom of girls and deprive them of their responsibilites.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Archana Mishra

By Prakash Chand

By Fazlu Raheman

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below