Annu Malik owns 11 pairs of jeans but her favourite is the one ripped at the knees. She would wear it all the time if she could. In her spare time, she plays music on her phone and watches YouTube videos. Sounds like an ordinary 17-year-old? Except when Annu wears her jeans or plays Temple Run on her phone, it’s an act of defiance against patriarchal control.
Last December, after three girls eloped from the village of Ishapur Kheri in Haryana’s Sonipat district, 120km from Delhi, the sarpanch called for a ban on jeans and mobile phones for girls. In his words, the village earned a bad name and families came to him pleading “bachchon ko tight karna padega” (children have to be disciplined).