For centuries dating as far back as 3000 BC, India would've been regarded as not so much a country, but more a collection of evolving kingdoms and sprawling empires. Each with their own ruling dynasties, customs, culture, cuisine and fashion. The nation may be unified as one nowadays, but the remnants of this land's rich and diverse heritage still lives on.
Have you ever worked in a business that looked professional and successful on the outside, but turned out to be dysfunctional on the inside? Maybe there was a destructive culture of office politics and complaining. Maybe the company simply didn't care about its people, or it was a chaotic, high-stress workplace, with low morale and high burn out.
Caste has become a taboo. Its relation to labour and in particular slavery goes virtually unquestioned; an uncomfortable conversation over chai or at a cocktail party. This does not contribute to the gradual erosion of stigma, it stifles discussion and a recognition of the basic living conditions of India's Dalits...
I had the role of Anita, another girl who finds herself imprisoned in a brothel in Kolkata... 20 million people are in some form of slavery in the world, of that 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation, 5 million are children. And this "industry" is worth $150 billion a year in illegal profits.
The story of two teenage girls raped and murdered in India this spring while looking for a discreet place to relieve themselves outdoors made headlines around the world. Sadly, their situation is far from unique. Half a billion women and girls - 15% of females worldwide - are forced to do this every day simply because they do not have access to a toilet. This crisis risks women's health, and threatens their safety. The new Indian government was moved to act following the tragedy of the two Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh, pledging zero tolerance for acts of violence against women. Their statement is welcome. However, protecting women from harassment and attack will not happen overnight.