Telegraph misrepresents All India Forgotten Women

Telegraph newspaper recently published an article called BONANZA FOR THE ‘OTHER WOMAN’ in which the reporter, Shabina Akhtar, wrote a paragraph about All India Forgotten Women’s views on maintenance to live-in partners. It says,

“Hyderabad-based Uma Challa, president of the intriguingly-named but hyperactive All India Forgotten Women Forum, has appealed to anybody who is somebody to stop Vyas in her tracks. “A live-in relationship is the preferred arrangement of men and women who want to avoid legal formalities governing their union, separation or the bond itself. Bringing such an arrangement within the purview of law is ridiculous and legally untenable,” argues Challa. She claims that a woman who lives with a man outside wedlock generally has “loose morals”. “Giving her legal recognition would only encourage more and more such women to move in with men without marrying them, thus posing a grave challenge to society,” she maintains.”

The reporter misrepresented All India Forgotten Women and our views, and below is my response to the reporter and the editor of telegraph.

(As I write this post, Shabina Akhtar called me and apologized for the error committed by her and said she would do what she can to correct the error.)


Dear Shabina,

I just happened to come across your article BONANZA FOR THE ‘OTHER WOMAN’ dated 23 July 2008 in the Telegraph.

I am happy to see that you have gathered opinions of different individuals and organizations who are concerned about the issue. I would also like to thank you for dedicating a paragraph to All India Forgotten Women’s views. However, I would just like to clarify that in our very brief conversation, I, as the President of All India
Forgotten Women, spoke to you about the legal implications of providing maintenance to live-in partners. I spoke about how such provisions would adversely affect the institutions of marriage and family. I did not make any judgments about the moral values or lack thereof of women (or men) who prefer live-in relationships.

All India Forgotten Women stands for true gender equality, and we demand that civil and criminal laws are equally applicable to men and women.

My views on NCW’s proposed amendments are very clearly stated in my letter to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which you have a copy of and have sought my permission to quote verbatim. I am providing a link to the same below.

I request you to publish a correction in the article in the interest of accurate reporting. I will be blogging my communication to you in All India Forgotten Women’s website and my personal blog.

Thanks and regards
Uma Challa
All India Forgotten Women


Email sent to follow up on Shabina Akhtar’s phone call on 30 July 2008 1:44 p.m. (ccd to Editor of Telegraph):

Dear Shabina,

Thank you for calling me this afternoon. I hope that, as you mentioned over the phone, you will make the necessary corrections to the article and do the needful to accurately represent the views of All India Forgotten Women. I will make a note on our website and blog about the same.

Thanks and regards
Uma Challa
All India Forgotten Women


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