Mathura, Hapur, Jhajjar – Small-town divorces rising and shocking courts, lawyers, families

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: India

Publishing organisation: ThePrint

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-09-20

Language: English

Authors: Desk and editors.


Award winning journalist with 6 years of experience in reporting India’s most critical issues–unemployment, gender crimes, human rights, politics, and policy.

Born and brought up in a village in Haryana, I fought my way out of the state’s stifling patriarchal set-up to reach the National Capital, becoming the first person to graduate in the family. During my college days at Delhi University, I learnt to wear the lens of English writers to examine the condition of Rural Women. In journalism, I wear both my rural and urban lenses to bring an element of critical intersectionality to my reporting and writing.

Project description:

What has changed in the last few decades in Indian small towns? People started believing that “80 percent of divorces are from women.”

My story investigates what goes on in family courts in Indian small towns.

Impact reached:

The story brought significant insights from the small towns. It contributed hugely to the public debate on divorce and women’s rights in India.

Techniques/technologies used:

I spent weeks in India’s small town family courtrooms. I witnessed first hand what goes on between the lawyers, judges and women. I followed Rinki’s case throughout to tell the story of hundreds of Indian women, who are asserting their hard fought autonomy.

Context about the project:

The story is about women in small towns and how all hell breaks loose when they announce that they are divorcing their husband.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

The story taught me patience as I stood in the corners of Indian courtrooms, watching over the judges, lawyers and families silently, writing down my notes. Never give up on a story.

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