Article published on Freethinker Co. November 2016.
In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the main highway threads along the fringes of the Ganges river, flooded with honking trucks decked in fluorescent flowers. Beyond this chaos though, there’s a quieter landscape that tourists, trade and government don’t reach. Here, life carries on in much the same way it has for hundreds of years. Money is earned from agriculture, spent on colourful weddings, and strict social customs dictate the type of life someone will be born into. In India, 70% of the population continue to live in rural areas and villages in Uttar Pradesh are home to many of the nation’s poorest.
It is here where I meet Kiran. Kiran is 23-years-old, but she carries the weight of many generations in the folds of her saree. When we meet, she is lying on a wooden bench under the burning monsoon sun. I smile, and she gazes back without emotion. Kiran has tuberculosis, a condition that is still common in this state despite the disease being preventable. She caught it from her brother-in-law, who also lives in the house that she shares with his wife, their children, her husband and his parents.
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