A thousand thorns is a long term visual project to document the changing aspirations of women in rural India. Through the story of Pushpa and Pushta, my intention is to highlight how women across India are challenging the gender and also the social evils prevalent in the society surrounding to me. 

Pushpa and Pushta are two young women working as forest guards in the dry, arid and unforgiving region of Thar desert, in Rajasthan. A job, typically, considered a male bastion. Pushpa, 25 years old, mother of a 5 year old son, is a widow. She lost her husband in an accident. While Pushta, 26, a farmer’s daughter, recently got married and is constantly chastised for not providing with a male heir. She has had two mis-carriages. Fighting their way through the patriarchal clutches in rural Rajasthan, these women are subtly asserting their right to equality.

Rajasthan has the lowest women literacy rates in India and still has a prevalent child-marriage practice. Patriarchy defines the daily code of conduct and also access to resources. Women are seen as the keepers of ‘honour’ of the families and communities and as such are barred from accessing life the same way a man does. However, with education, modernisation and technology seeping into rural India, the women are aspiring to do more than their traditional gender defined roles.

They dream to work, be financially secure and carve an identity for themselves. Pushpas and Pushtas can be found in villages across India. Theirs is a story playing out in million other homes but rarely covered and provided platforms. This isn’t a story of struggle but a story of friendship, hope and evolution.

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