Anjuman is a human rights activist and a member of WinG-India and Assam engaged in research, documentation and blogging.
Maleka Khatun (70) from Mahendraganj works as a domestic helper. On the days that she has work, she gets food, while on others she either borrows from generous neighbours or goes out to collect green vegetables in and around her house. At times, she even has to do without eating. Her staple is mostly rice with dal or saag.
Maleka’s husband died about 12 years ago. Her adopted daughter was earning a few hundred rupees a month by giving tuition. Since schools have now closed down because of the lockdown, that income is no more.
Now Maleka’s daughter and her small baby have also become dependent on her. With the extended lockdown, the family’s future remains uncertain.
WLTC Photo Series
Bali Khatun has received five kilograms of rice, one kilogram aloo and one packet of salt since the lockdown was imposed in March. In the photographs, Bali is seen cooking rice and tender jackfruit curry, the best meal she’s had since the lockdown because her neighbour gifted her a small piece of tender jackfruit.
Bali lives in Mahendragunj with her 10-year-old son and husband. Her husband has now lost his daily wage work. They live in a rented house. Thankfully the owners had waived her monthly rent of Rs 800 for April.
To make ends meet, Bali has started making kheta (cotton quilts) for her neighbours.
Photo series co-ordinated by Banamallika Choudhury of Women’s Leadership Training Centre (WLTC) and Sampurna Das a doctoral student at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.
WLTC is a feminist organisation based in Assam, working towards gender and social equality. It focuses on enhancing women’s capacities and creating space and opportunity for women (cis and trans) to take decision-making and leadership positions within families, communities, in governance and politics.