As the only girl in her noisy classroom of 22 boys, Padma Kanwar Bhatti is one defiant symbol of the toll exacted by India’s deadly preference for male children.

Padma, 15, lives with her parents and two elder brothers in Devda, a village of 2,500 residents in the Rajasthan state district of Jaisalmer, which has one of the worst female sex ratios in the country.

“There is no other girl in my class and there are very few girls in our village,” she says hesitantly.

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