Asrina Khatun grew up in a large family – with her parents, four older siblings and two younger ones – in the village of Madanpur in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district. Her father worked as a stone grinder and her mother distributed ration supplies for the local panchayat. It wasA a somewhat repressive environment for girls, with many social and religious dictates on how they should lead their lives. Girls were not allowed to dress as they liked, Asrina said. And If they talked to boys, they were pulled up harshly by the community’s moral police.
There was a school in the village that went upto grade 10 but most girls had to drop out by the time they reached 8th grade. The expectation was that they marry and have children. “None of my friends in the village have managed to leave,” she said. “They have all stayed there – to be housewives and mothers.”