1. When Pooja Chopra was born, her parents were dismayed. Her father didn’t want a daughter, and her mother knew what the consequences would be.
2. As was expected, Pooja’s father demanded that Pooja be put in an orphanage, or be killed. Pooja’s mother left her husband, vowing to raise their daughter alone and into a woman that would make her proud.
4. Watch Pooja’s mother tell the moving story of saving her daughter’s life:
5. “Pooja’s Story: The Girl Who Lived” is an excerpt from “The World Before Her,” a film about two distinct groups of Indian women: beauty pageant contestants, and militant Hindu fundamentalists.
6. Director Nisha Pahuja said, of Pooja’s story:
I remember when Pooja told me the story of almost being killed at birth for being a girl… That moment became a turning point for me in terms of the focus of the film. I knew it had to be about the struggles that so many Indian women continue to face. It also changed the way I looked at Miss India – suddenly it was no longer passé or just simply derogatory. It was so much more complex. I had to ask myself: given the Indian context, can I disregard my Western prejudices and see a beauty pageant as “empowering”? It’s something I still grapple with.