In 2011, I was going to the Gram Panchayat (village council) office on the midday. The office is at the farthest corner of our village. Along my way, I saw there was a big gathering of men and women. I pulled over my car and asked a woman, what was happening? The answer shocked me: a man was beating his wife with a belt, in full public view.
I walked over to the man, caught his belt and angrily asked, 'why are you beating her?' The man was also hurling insults and expletives at the woman. I shouted, "why are you using such language?"
He shouted back, "who are you?"
I said, "I am the sarpanch of the village"
He fell quiet.
"Why are you beating her on the street?" I demanded to know.
The woman now spoke: the man - her husband, wanted 20 rupees (less than a penny) from her. When she could not give him that, he started to beat her.
I walked out of the venue and the whole scene was still playing in my head. For two days, I could not sleep. I felt restless. Again and again, one question kept coming to my head "how can I stop such incidents of violence?"
I then decided to start an NGO. Once I did that, I also a vocational training center and started to offer training opportunities.
The women who got trained, started to get work. And I now want to keep supporting women like this, helping them to become economically empowered.