Penguin Books India
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Growing up in a remote village in Bengal, Rekha Kalindi was always made to believe that being born a girl was a burden. A feisty, intelligent child, she was aware of the horrific consequences of forced marriages on the young girls in her village. Having observed how her friends were married off and sent to live with their mothers-in-law, where they were often treated like slaves, she was determined not to suffer the same miserable fate.
At the age of eleven, Rekha caused a sensation when she refused to be a child bride. Furious, her mother locked her up and even starved her, but the young girl’s spirit could not be broken. It took an incredible amount of bold determination for Rekha to persuade her family not to marry her off against her will. Ever since, she has actively campaigned for the rights of young girls, and has emerged as a crusader for justice. She also went on to become a recipient of India’s National Bravery Award in 2010. The Strength to Say No is a powerful portrait of one girl’s monumental struggle against oppression as well as a heartrending and inspiring story about the triumph of the human spirit.
Rekha Kalindi was born in a remote village in Bengal, 100 miles from Kolkata. Since her story was revealed, she has travelled all over India to speak and her international profile continues to grow. She is the recipient of India’s National Bravery Award.