Why land means hope for India’s vulnerable single women

by Manipadma Jena

A woman laborer carrying cement is silhouetted against the setting sun at the site of a commercial complex on the outskirts of Jammu November 22, 2012. Photo: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta
A woman laborer carrying cement is silhouetted against the setting sun at the site of a commercial complex on the outskirts of Jammu November 22, 2012. Photo: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta

When her husband died seven years ago, leaving her to fend for herself, 37-year-old Kuni Majhi survived hunger, illness, drunk men hammering at the flimsy tin door of her thatched hut – and very nearly lost all hope.  Recently however, Majhi was offered a chance of a secure future – in the form of a small block of land complete with a brick house of her own.