Photographer Shivani Srivastava is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. From her project ‘Just Because She Is A Girl‘. To see Shivani’s albums click on any image.
Zoya Khan, 5 years old, Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi
Daughter of Shabbir Khan who is 25 years old, and Beli Khan 22. The couple were married when Beli was 13 years old, they have 2 children Rehan who is 7 and 5 years old Zoya.
“...she was warned by her in-laws that if she gave birth to a baby girl she had to leave the house.”
When Rehan was born, everyone in the family was happy because Beli had give birth to a boy but the things were not the same during her second pregnancy, the expectation for a male child was higher this time and she was warned by her in-laws that if she gave birth to a baby girl she had to leave the house.
“...the in-laws asked her to move out of the house with her new born.”
To her in-laws disappointment Beli gave birth to Zoya. Unhappy, the in-laws asked her to move out of the house with her new born. Beli pleaded, cried and begged, without a place to go she stayed at her aunt’s place for a couple of years
Zoya was growing without her father’s love and without knowing that she had a brother. Beli also was not allowed to see her own son.
After several discussions, arguments in the family, finally Beli could return to her house with Zoya who was now 5. Rehan was super excited to see Zoya, he will now have a sister to play, to talk and to make him company when everyone in the house goes out to work.
“...the hatred her father used to have for her...”
She isn’t aware about her mother’s struggle to bring her home and the hatred her father used to have for her. She is a girl, deprived of education and freedom. Raised in a different manner, not allowed to go out and play. Zoya remains inside the house by her father where she plays with other girls from the neighborhood.
“...wondering that maybe someday she will be free.”
Zoya wishes to tell others that her father is not a drunk, that he loves her. She hopes one day to go to school, play outside, eat chocolate, wear good clothes and have fun. Zoya has an immense curiosity about life, and was constantly staring and wondering that maybe someday she will be free.
By Shivani Srivastava