Pollachi, ringed by palm trees, has a marketplace famous for jaggery. Yet, the town was barely known within even Tamil Nadu until around a week ago, when it came into national spotlight for a case that has shown the dangers young Indian women face as they explore greater freedoms in a conservative society. On March 11, a blurred video of a young woman crying and begging a group of men not to harm her was posted on the website of a Tamil magazine. The year-old was from Pollachi. She had filed a police complaint on February 25, recounting how a man she had befriended on Facebook ripped off her clothes in a car while his friends filmed her. They threatened to post the video on social media if she did not pay them. They also stole her gold chain before pushing her out of the car. The video was later removed from the website. By then, the incident had sparked protests across the state, putting pressure on the police to arrest the four accused men on charges of sexual assault and blackmail. As reports emerged linking the accused men to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam , a high-decibel political slugfest ensued.
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Each afternoon the men of Thennamadevi leave their village and head for the surrounding fields, many carrying bottles of high-strength home-brewed alcohol. Hours later they stagger back home through the paddy fields of the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Thennamadevi is racked by alcoholism. Most of its male inhabitants participate in ruinous daily drinking sessions. Around 90 women with families in the village have been widowed. The youngest husband to die was However, over the past six months something remarkable has happened to break the cycle of squalor and despair: the teenage daughters of the drunken men have taken over the running of the place. A library is being built where well-thumbed books promote the virtues of learning and independence. The phenomenon of teenage female self-help has made aid agencies and politicians across the state sit up and take notice.
Her show Taste the Nation on Hulu premiered on June 18th, She has hosted the Emmy-award winning cooking competition program Top Chef on Bravo continuously since season 2 She has acted in film and television, and hosted several cooking programs before Top Chef. Her parents divorced when she was two years old. Lakshmi immigrated to the United States at four and was raised in Manhattan, New York , before moving to La Puente, California with her mother and stepfather. In , when Lakshmi was 14 years old, she was hospitalized for three weeks, and eventually diagnosed with Stevens—Johnson syndrome , a rare illness caused by hypersensitivity to an infection, or a potentially fatal reaction to certain kinds of medications.