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I took part in Connect India's Learning Journey trip to Gujarat, India, in 2007. Whilst on this journey, we were introduced to a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as KMVS, which focused on women's empowerment. Here I was told a true story of a woman from an "untouchable caste". The story really made a lasting impression in my thoughts.
There is great pressure for women from the "untouchable caste" in India to give birth to boys and this particular mother gave birth to 5 daughters consecutively. The baby girls were killed by the in-laws as soon as they were born by a method known as "doodh pitthi", where the baby is dipped in boiling hot milk. The mother had been getting abuse from her husband and his family and was unable to return back to her own village.
One day it got too much for her and she walked to a dry well and flung herself in...However, she was still alive. Her husband dragged her out, with many broken bones, and dumped her at the doorstep of her father in her home village, a shameful rejection and a reminder of her failure as a wife. KMVS has been working with similar cases and communities to improve mentality and education so that women can be treated better.
This story really stuck with me and I tried to imagine what made her want to end her life. I imagined the feeling of maternal satisfaction that she would gain by being re-united with her lost daughters and I imagined her doing her motherly duties with her babies. The music "Escape" is an interpretation of this hopeful feeling of being re-united as well as the sadness of leaving the world behind.
The track features the voice of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India in 1947 in which he announces the freedom of India from the British rule. The nation is free yet so many women and poor villagers are very far from free.
Find out more about Connect India and Learning Journey at www.connectindia.org
For more music..go to www.amal-lad.com