Half the Sky

Usha Narayane Character Analysis

Usha Narayane is a woman from the Indian slum Kasturba Nagar. Usha combatted the mobster Akku Yadav, whose gang used rape and sexual humiliation as a way to control people in the slum. Incredibly brave, Usha is an example of a woman who took the risk of defying expectations of female docility to the benefit of her whole community.

Usha Narayane Quotes in Half the Sky

The Half the Sky quotes below are all either spoken by Usha Narayane or refer to Usha Narayane. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Half the Sky published in 2010.
Chapter 3 Quotes

‘Empowerment’ is a cliché in the aid community, but it is truly what is needed. The first step toward greater justice is to transform that culture of female docility and subservience, so that women themselves become more assertive and demanding. As we said earlier, that is, of course, easy for outsiders like us to say: We’re not the ones who run horrible risks for speaking up. But when a woman does stand up, it’s imperative that outsiders champion her; we also must nurture institutions to protect such people.

Related Characters: Nicholas D. Kristof (speaker), Sheryl WuDunn (speaker), Usha Narayane, Akku Yadav, Goretti Nyabenda
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

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Usha Narayane Character Timeline in Half the Sky

The timeline below shows where the character Usha Narayane appears in Half the Sky. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
In the Indian slum of Kasturba Nagar, Usha Narayane, a young Dalit woman (the typically poor, darker-skinned Untouchable caste), showed what can happen... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Akku Yadav didn’t target Usha’s family, because their education made them more likely to receive aid from police. One day,... (full context)
The Oppression of Women  Theme Icon
Universal Benefits of Women’s Empowerment  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
A crowd of Kasturba Nagar residents, who took pride in Usha’s schooling, were enraged on her behalf. They threw stones at Akku Yadav’s mob until it... (full context)
Universal Benefits of Women’s Empowerment  Theme Icon
The Complexity of Aid Theme Icon
Solutions to Address the Oppression of Women Theme Icon
Kasturba Nagar erupted in celebration. Although Usha wasn’t at the courtroom, she did organize the attack and was arrested. Enormous resistance from... (full context)