By the time she was 24, Devi had lived more than most do in an entire lifetime.
Born in a Brahmin upper-class family in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, 16-year-old Devi fell in love with a young 19-year-old Hindu boy from a lower caste, who visited her home for odd jobs regularly.
She eloped with him and landed up in Surat.
Her family chose to take revenge on the boy’s family. They had them beaten mercilessly, and the boy’s sister was molested. Faced with daily threats and persecution, the boy’s elder brother tracked down the couple and persuaded them to come home.
Picture for representation only. Source: PXhere
Guess the lottery result, make lottery posters for free Lottery Box -India’s most professional lottery interactive community.
Her sister was expecting her second child, and her sister’s husband used the opportunity to draw Devi into a forced, abusive and illicit relationship. The sister tried intervening and then insisted her husband find someone for Devi to marry.
The husband chose an employee of his, an orphan with a slight physical disability and Devi was married off for the second time – again without her consent.
She bore two children. One day, Devi picked up her younger child and threw him from a balcony.
Devi’s mental stability had collapsed. She hid things at home and laughed without reason when she met strangers – including men.
Her husband read her behaviour as that of a “wanton” woman and beat her. One night, Devi vanished.
A few weeks later, Devi found herself at the URJA crisis centre at Mumbai’s Dadar area. It took six months to prise her story out of her.
Physical examinations showed how damaged her uterus was from overuse. Marks on her body were evidence of what she had borne. She was grim and silent. She couldn’t fully recall her children or explain all that had happened to her.
Devi is now living at one of URJA’s apartments. She was no more than 24.
Such stories are quite ‘run of the mill’ for URJA (inner strength), the founder of URJA, Deepali Vandana, tells me. URJA has done everything possible for Devi. They have time and again contacted her family. The parents say she is “dead” for them. Her sister pleads she cannot help. URJA paid her husband’s travel to Mumbai. He met Devi, but he would rather move on.
Picture for representation only. Source: Pexels
If Devi’s story is remarkable and sad, Deepali’s, and URJA’s, story is remarkable.