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Guide to the Melanie Dornier photographs, 2013-2016

Summary

Collection consists of two documentary photography series taken in India by Melanie Dornier. "Mahila Thana: All Women Police Station" is comprised of 56 color digital photographs, taken in 2016, recording daily life inside the walls of the All Women Police Station of Gurugram, Haryana. The images convey the human impacts of woman-specific crimes and social justice, and the role of the police station and its female officers as a safe haven for distressed and abused women. The 54 color digital prints in "Punch My Face: Women's Boxing in India" document the daily life and experiences of Meena Kumari, a wife, mother, daughter, police officer, and boxer, 2013-2016. All prints measure 11 3/4 x 8 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11523
Title
Melanie Dornier photographs
Date
2013-2016
Extent
1.0 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English.

Collection Overview

Content Description

Collection consists of two documentary photography series by Melanie Dornier taken in India. "Mahila Thana: All Women Police Station" is comprised of 56 color digital prints. The photographs - taken during 2016 - record daily life inside the walls of the All Women Police Station of Gurugram, Haryana. The 54 color digital prints in "Punch My Face: Women's Boxing in India, document the experiences of Meena Kumari, a wife, mother, buffalo owner, police officer, and boxer, between 2013 and 2016.

In an artist's statement Dornier describes that in 2012, "...the safety issues of the Indian women and gender violence were brought to the fore by the news of the gang rape and death of a young student in New Delhi, India. Since then funding and action plans have been implemented all around the country. In Gurugram, the millennium city in the state of Haryana, it was decided to open an All Women Police Station (AWPS) as in each of Haryana's districts and this was completed in August 2015. The project 'Mahila Thana,' which is 'All Women Police Station' in Hindi, documents the daily life inside the walls of the AWPS of Gurugram."

On "Punch My Face," Dornier reflects that, "Meena Kumari was born in December 1982 to a modest rural family. Now she is reaching the end of her boxing career and she hopes to soon become a police inspector. In 2001, Meena was one of the first Indian women to become a boxer and enjoyed visibility on the international scene. Her first major fight was confronting her father who believed boxing was not a respectable activity for a woman. Despite this Meena worked harder and harder and quickly reached the national and international stage in the flyweight category (51KG). Back then, female boxers were trained with young boys due to the shortage of women in the ring...at the end of 2016 and at the end of this photo documentary, we see Meena in the first months of her third pregnancy."

Dornier is the winner of the 2017 Bettye Lane Award for Feminist Photography, sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Collection is arranged in two sub-series: Mahila Thana: All Women Police Station and Punch My Face: Women's Boxing in India. Prints are in original order as assigned by photographer.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research. Images may only be viewed for educational, non-commercial purposes; any other use, including print reproductions or distribution by any means requires the photographer's permission.

There is no use or distribution by any means of these images permitted in India until 2028.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Melanie Dornier photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Photographs, 2013-2016

The 110 color inkjet photographic prints in the collection form two series: "Mahila Thana: All Women Police Station," and "Punch My Face: Women's Boxing in India." All prints measure 11 3/4 x 8 inches. A printed inventory and artist's statement is located in the box for each series.

Mahila Thana: All Women Police Station, 2016

.5 Linear Feet, 1 box, 56 color inkjet prints, 11 3/4 x 8 inches

With "Mahila Thana," meaning 'all women police station' in Hindi, Melanie Dornier documents life inside a women's police station in Gurugram, Haryana. The color digital prints were taken during 2016. According to Dornier, "in India, policewomen represent only 6.11% of the total police force, a very low figure compared to 9% worldwide. As a result, female police officers are mainly assigned on woman and child crime. Inside Gurugram's AWPS, 25 policewomen and 14 police officers are dealing everyday only with women's cases of crime, violence and divorce."

The images convey the human impacts of woman-specific crimes and social justice, and the role of the police station and its female officers as a safe haven for distressed and abused women.

Case consultation, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

A female villager is coming to expose her case of sexual harassment to ACP Dhaarna Yadav.

Box 1
Image RL.11523-P-0001
Outside view of AWPS, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Bhateri is leaving the police station on her scooter to go to the Civil Hospital

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Image RL.11523-P-0002
Outside view of AWPS, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

On a rainy Tuesday and men are waiting their turn outside on the doorstep of the AWPS to consult ACP Dhaarna Yadav.

Box 1
Image RL.11523-P-0003
Women Cell, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Krishna in charge of the women cell while ASI Maha Ram is listening a woman who is the victim of a marital dispute. Constable Nisha brings some paper work.

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Image RL.11523-P-0004
First Report Information, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Initially attending the AWPS women cell because of a marital dispute, this woman who is now a victim of domestic violence, comes to register an FRI with SI Raj Bala. She is accompanied by her sister.

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Image RL.11523-P-0005
Women Cell, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Prem Chand and ASI Maha Ram are counseling a young mother on her marital issues. She is accompanied by her mother, her sister and her daughter.

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Image RL.11523-P-0006
Late evening help, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

An old lady comes to look for help, accompanied by her two daughters, about her alcoholic husband. CT Manju and HC Bala, in charge of the entry desk , inform her that she should register an FRI and that she would have to come back the next day.

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SI Krishna, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Krishna quickly runs outside when in a case review to ask for some additional information from her colleague.

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Case consultation, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ACP Dhaarna Yadav is consulting on some cases and the complainant brings some additional information to document his case. His wife has fled to a foreign country.

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Begging, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

At the end of case review, a relative begs ACP Dhaarna Yadav to rule in his son's interest.

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High temper, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

During a case review with ACP Dhaarna Yadav, the relatives argue.

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Cases review, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ACP Dhaarna Yadav is listening to arguments from both sides in mediation on marital advice.

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Writing, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

To archive a case, two written copies have to be made. ASI Kiran is doing its fastidious exercise.

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Portrait, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Poonam is waiting in the hall to meet ACP Dhaarna Yadav to review her case against her father's abuse.

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Exit, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Victim Poonam is asked to leave the room while she argues against ACP Dhaarna Yadav's rules.

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Women Cell, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Krishna is busy with paper work while a woman is waiting to show her case of marital issue to her.

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First Report Information, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Rajbala is checking the FRI of a pupil in the interrogation room.

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Emotional distress, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Late afternoon, a woman enters AWPS to register her case of domestic violence. ASI Chander Kanta and ASI Reena comforted her.

Box 1
Image RL.11523-P-0018
Ghonghaat, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

The woman covers her face with her veil as expected by rural tradition (Ghonghaat). SI Krishna discloses the case of marital dispute to ACP Dhaarna Yadav.

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Image RL.11523-P-0019
Fan, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ASI Roshaw, personal guard of ACP Dhaarna Yadav is fixing the fan during a case review.

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Paint, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Painting of the Interrogation room while ASI Kiran is on duty. The women seated are waiting their turn.

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Hands' talk, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

These are the Hands of SI Krishna during a mediation session.

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Directive, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SHO Kailash is giving orders to ASI Kiran in the AWPS's courtyard.

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Entry desk, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

HC Bala is conversing on the AWPS' phone.

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ASI Chander Kanta, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

In the interrogation room, she double copies some cases.

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Entry counter, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Meena is in charge.

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Image RL.11523-P-0026
Administrative work, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

HC Munesh and CT Nisha are ordering paper work of closed cases.

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Image RL.11523-P-0027
ACP Dhaarna Yadav, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Portrait of the ACP Dhaarna Yadav at her desk at the AWPS.

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Image RL.11523-P-0028
Entry book, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Every visit and request should be logged in the entry book.

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Image RL.11523-P-0029
Files, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

On each case, a lot of paper work is requested by the police force.

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Image RL.11523-P-0030
Evidence, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Manju is handling some evidence.

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SHO Kailash, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SHO Kailash is having a tea break between two interviews.

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Image RL.11523-P-0032
Paper press, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ASI Kiran is using a screwdriver to hold her paper against the breeze of the fan.

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Image RL.11523-P-0033
Chai Wala, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

The tea vendor is serving tea at the entire police station.

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Image RL.11523-P-0034
SHO Kailash, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI seated at her desk, is having a phone call before going back home in the late evening.

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Armoury, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Manju is unlocking the evidence and arms room.

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Image RL.11523-P-0036
Night duty, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Manju is checking the outside of the AWPS.

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Image RL.11523-P-0037
Car park, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Women police officers are waiting to go home at night.

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Image RL.11523-P-0038
Restroom, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Bhateri is resting at night.

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Image RL.11523-P-0039
Personal effects, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

In the women's rest room, some clothes and uniform are hanging.

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Restroom, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Meena and CT Manju are seated on the bed waiting to start their duties.

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Image RL.11523-P-0041
Lord Krishna, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

In a private room, a prayer was performed.

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Earrings infection, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

In the restroom, CT Ritu is taking care of CT Kavita who has an earring infection.

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Resting, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Anju is sleeping in the restroom.

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Police uniform, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Members of the police force are often seen without a uniform even if they are on duty. SHO Kailash is filling in some paper work with HC Munesh and CT Suman.

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Breakfast, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Batheri and CT Nisha are having their food seated on the bed of the restroom.

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Motherhood, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Portrait of ACP Dhaarna Yadav and her three year old son Angad.

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Child's room, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

Body guard of ACP Dhaarna Yadav is looking after her son Angad.

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Inside view of AWPS, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

CT Kavita is on the courtyard of the AWPS.

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Begging, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

A young man is begging SI Rajbala to not bring any charges against him.

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Arrest, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

A man accused of rape spent the night in the AWPS.

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Jail, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ASI Suresh is answering a man accused of rape.

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On the way to court, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

ASI Chander Kanta and CT Kawal are accompanying a defendant for his judgment.

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Dowry harassment, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

A truck brings all valuable goods of a couple to sort out a case of dowry harassment.

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Defendant, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

A woman was accused of fraud.

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Inside view of AWPS, AWPS, Gurugram, Haryana, India, 2016

SI Kiran crosses the courtyard of the AWPS.

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Punch My Face: Women's Boxing in India, 2013-2016

Shot from 2013-2016, Melanie Dornier's series 'Punch My Face' documents Meena Kumari's daily life in Rewari, Haryana. Kumari is one of the first Indian women to become a professional boxer. Characterized by the photograper as "a wife, mother, buffalo owner, police officer and boxer," Kumari hopes to eventually become a police inspector.

Meena Kumari's mother, Mundi, Rewari District, Haryana, India, 2014

Saraswaki Devi Kumari sitting in the family house living room, proud to show her daughter's medals and trophies.

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Meena Kumari's training, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

Meena is training every day, early morning and late evening.

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Meena Kumari, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

The Haryana's boxing team is training together. The male boxers often train in the ring while females stay down.

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Meena Kumari's punch, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

She is practicing her punch.

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Meena Kumari, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

After training, Meena is taking off her hands' protection.

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Meena Kumari and her coaches, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

Meena Kumari is running to strengthen her body, timed by her coaches: Surrender Gulia and Sandeep Kaur.

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Image RL.11523-P-0062
Meena Kumari's sweat. Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

To lose her pregnancy weight, Meena has to wear a sweat jacket so that she is not too heavy for her boxing category of 51 KG for the 62nd All India Police Competition.

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Image RL.11523-P-0063
Breastfeeding, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

Just after practice, in her living room, Meena is breastfeeding her 9 months daughter nicknamed KuKee.

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Image RL.11523-P-0064
Train station, Delhi East Railway station, New Delhi, India, 2013

With the Haryana boxing team; Meena, her husband and their daughter will be travelling by train for more than 30 hours to the 62nd All India Police Competition.

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Image RL.11523-P-0065
Queue for medical examination, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, Meena Kumari along with other female boxers is queueing for a weight check and a medical examination in order to register for the competition.

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Image RL.11523-P-0066
Personal effects, Boxers' quarter, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, a bra and boxing gear are lying on the bed of a female of the Haryana team.

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Image RL.11523-P-0067
Training, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, the Haryana boxing team is training while watching boxing matches.

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Image RL.11523-P-0068
Diaper change, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, Meena is changing her daughter. Sitting next to the ring encouraging her team, with her husband, Sunil.

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Hug, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, Meena is hugging her daughter before entering the ring.

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Meena Kumari and her female boxing coach Matma, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, the referee is checking Meena's boxing gear before the start of the match.

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Meena's Boxing match, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, it is the first time that Meena is competing after her maternity leave.

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Image RL.11523-P-0072
Boxing corner, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

At the 64th All India Police Competition, Meena is taking advice from her coach Surrender Gulia and boxing friend Pinki.

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Image RL.11523-P-0073
Boxing Match, Police Academy of Haryana Sport Complex, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

At the 64th All India Police Competition, Meena wins the match.

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Image RL.11523-P-0074
Meena Kumari and family, Sport Hall, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, 2013

At the 62nd All India Police Competition, Meena, Sunil and KuKee are leaving the competition after Meena's defeat.

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Jharkhand, India, 2015

At the 64th All India Police Competition, Meena wins her 10th nationwide gold medal in flyweight category.

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Image RL.11523-P-0076
Kukee, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

Inside the house, Meena's daughter is playing with her mother's gold medal from the 64th All India Police Competition.

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Image RL.11523-P-0077
The trunk of medals, Mundi, Rewari District, Haryana, India, 2014

Meena's mother in the family house is digging in a large trunk to find all of her daughter's medals.

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Sunil Kumar, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2014

In the bedroom, Meena's husband is taking a picture of the recent magazine article of Meena to post it on social media.

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Interview, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

On the doorstep of her house, Meena is giving an interview to local press about her victory at the 64th All India Police Competition.

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Preparation for boxing competition, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

In her living room, Meena is preparing herself for boxing competition around her husband, Sunil and their daughter, KuKee.

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Rest time, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

In her courtyard, Meena is playing with Kukee, her daughter.

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School, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is going to pick up her daughter KuKee from school.

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Housing Core, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

In her kitchen, late evening, Meena is washing the dishes.

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Respect for her father-in-law, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

Meena is sitting in her living room, when her father-in-law enters the room. She jumps to hide behind the curtain. Her friend, Poonam, gives her a scarf to cover herself. By tradition, she has to cover herself in front of the elders of her in-laws.

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Womans' talk, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

Meena is sitting in her bedroom with her best friends Poonam and Suchi. During this time the men are eating in the living room.

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Meena, Poonam and Sunil, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2015

In her living room, Meena is having a laugh with her best friend Poonam and her husband Sunil.

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Ponytail, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In her living room, Meena is getting ready to go outside.

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Sickness, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In the house, Meena is sick and her husband, Sunil is taking care of her.

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Doctor's appointment, private hospital, Karnal, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena and her husband Sunil are consulting a gynecologist at the early stage of her pregnancy.

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Family portrait, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2014

Meena, her husband Sunil and their 18 months daughter KuKee are sitting in the bedroom chatting.

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Anger, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is threatening to slap her three year-old daughter KuKee.

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Meena Kumari, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

In her living room, Meena is waiting for the babysitter to look after her nine month-old daughter, while she has to report for duty in uniform.

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Meena Kumari, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In her living room, Meena is playing with her daughter after her police duty.

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Feeding, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is giving a glass of rose-flavored milk to her daughter KuKee before to dropping her to her nanny.

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Dressing, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

In her bedroom, Meena is dressing up in uniform.

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Closet, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2013

Meena's shoes closet.

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Meena Kumari, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In her house, Meena is posing in her police uniform of Sub Inspector in front of Lord Shiva's temple.

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Police duty, Rewari District, Haryana, India, 2016

During the Panchayat's (equivalent of mayor) election, Meena is on duty to ensure order in villages.

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Police training, Karnal, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is learning how to make a traffic fine.

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Meena Kumari, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is feeding herself with milk before going on duty.

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Pictures and icons, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

On the shelves of Meena's house, there are icons of Sai Baba, the goddess Durga and pictures of Meena's husband and father in military uniform.

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Meena's buffalo, Mundi, Rewari District, Haryana, India, 2014

It is a portrait of Meena's mother, Saraswaki Devi Kumari with relatives in front of Meena's buffalo in the family village.

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Harvest, Mundi, Rewari District, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is helping her mother to harvest the family's field.

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Harvest, Mundi, Rewari district, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is helping her mother to harvest the family's field.

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Picnic, Mundi, Rewari district, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is sharing a meal with her mother and daughter during the lunchtime of the harvest.

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Portrait of Meena and her daughter, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In the living room, Meena and her daughter KuKee are sitting in the sofa looking at a book.

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Packing, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

In the living room, Meena is packing a backpack to spend a night out in the Ashram of Marajah Rajinder Singh with her daughter Kukee.

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Dressing, Police quarter, Madhuban, Haryana, India, 2016

Meena is getting ready, putting her bangles on to assist at the public show of Marajah Rajinder Singh in North Delhi.

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Image RL.11523-P-0109
Praying, Marajah Rajinder Singh's Ashram, New Delhi, India, 2016

Meena and her daughter Kukee, seated on the floor, are praying in the Ashram waiting for Marajah Rajinder Singh.

Box 2
Image RL.11523-P-0110
 

Historical Note

Melanie Dornier is a French documentary photographer who graduated in 2004 with a Masters of Education and Evaluation at the University of Pierre Mendes in Grenoble, France. In 2011 she was nominated for a Salon de la Photo of Paris Emerging Photographer award and in 2016 she received an Oxygen Award.

Dornier is the winner of the 2017 Bettye Lane Award for Feminist Photography, sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.


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Provenance

The Melanie Dornier photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2017.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico and Sylvia Herbold, November 2017.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2017-0126.

Other Notes

Digital prints are on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Smooth 300 gr, printed with Epson 7890-8 colors using the ink UltraKrom K3.