Last year we wrote about the massive changes taking place in the lives of Indian women as they steadily pull ahead of their male counterparts at every level of the education ladder and also emerge as highly effective entrepreneurs in the digital era – see One of the joys of living in India is that every week brings new news of fresh victories for Indian women in their tussle against the patriarchy. This story from Mewat, a Muslim dominated area which is spread over 3 states – Harayana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – is a report of another small win for India’s women.

Mewat has made a name for itself recently for the wrong reasons – it is said to be new cybercrime hub of India – see Since part of Mewat notoriety is built on the region being seen as hub for ‘sextortion’, a byproduct is that Mewati women are discouraged by the men in their families from building a presence on social media: “In Mewat, a woman’s activity on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc is inextricably linked to her morality and character. Fathers, brothers and husbands actively discourage women from revealing themselves on social media platforms. The restrictions women face in the physical world are extended and even buttressed in the virtual world—with the support of ‘well-meaning’ neighbours and friends.

Young girls are told that nobody will marry them. They are warned that their reputation will be destroyed. These diktats are couched under the very real fear that the women’s photos will be morphed and misused.”

However, as one would expect contemporary Indian women are rebelling against these sanctions. The Print profiles a Mewati lady, Shahnaz, who has built her profile on social media: ““In our society, we have to live according to other people’s and not our own wishes. My husband raised no objection over the picture but my neighbours raised the alarm and tried convincing him and my in-laws that it was wrong,” said Shehnaz, adjusting the shawl covering her head.”

Shahnaz is not an outlier. She’s part of a broader social movement in Mewat which is demanding change: ““She is among the five women from Mewat who participated in the ‘Laado Go Online’ campaign organised by activist and former sarpanch of Bibipur village, Sunil Jaglan. In November 2022, he announced that one woman would be selected to become the female brand ambassador of Mewat.

The goal is to bridge the digital divide, break misconceptions, and create awareness among women about their rights and representation. In 2015, Jaglan had rolled out the ‘Digital India With Laado’ campaign — which involved households putting up nameplates bearing their daughter’s name — soon after his ‘Beti Bachao Selfie Banao’ campaign was lapped up by the Narendra Modi government to launch a nationwide ‘Selfie With Daughter’ drive.

Jaglan was ecstatic when five women sent their photos for the Mewat brand ambassador position. This in itself is an act of asserting oneself, he says. “It was an uphill task for these women but they fought to send a picture.””

And this is why more than 30 years after its initial publication VS Naipaul’s “India: A Million Mutinies Now” remains the most contemporary of Indian non-fiction narratives.

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Note: the above material is neither investment research, nor financial advice. Marcellus does not seek payment for or business from this publication in any shape or form. Marcellus Investment Managers is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a provider of Portfolio Management Services. Marcellus Investment Managers is also regulated in the United States as an Investment Advisor.

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