I am very happy to
introduce these extraordinary powerful women, who are Roll Models to
coming generation. These women, their will power, and their
dedication to the life gave them strength to achieve these
extraordinary things in their lives. They are very simple at heart,
and they are very ordinary women in their personal lives.
Get your Dreams done into actions” is their motto.
SULOCHANA RANI YADDANAPUDI.
Poor man’s Engineer
Her name is May
George. She is the first woman engineer in Tamil Nadu Government.
The other specialty is her talent in constructing strongly built
houses at low cost. This resulted in the contractors and government
officials turning out as her enemies. But she won a place in the
hearts of poor people. She retired as the Chief Engineer of the
Housing Board in 1983. She is now 83. M.George who won many national
and international awards is also a writer. She is mow rendering
service to poor women who are AIDS victims. A few more details about
her in her words…
I belong to
Coiambattore. I studied upto the tenth class there. I did the first
year of my Intermediate in
and the second year in Eluru. I took my degree in civil engineering
from the Gindi Engineering College, Madras in 1945. I did a
specialized course in national Highways. I got married and remained
idle for one year. My husband is a mechanical engineer.
A year later I took
a job as a junior engineer in the City Improvement Trust. The other
engineers were all men. I was the only woman engineer. I was
subjected to a lot of discrimination. I faced disrespect and
experience helped me to develop determination. The department in
which I work helps in building houses for those who live in slums.
It was then the thought that I should construct cost effective
houses for the poor occurred to me. If I had got a job in any other
department I might not have got this thought. In Mandavallipakkam
and Wellis I constructed houses putting my thought into practice.
Later I constructed
thousand houses in Podi, an area in the out skirts of the city. The
thousand houses were constructed in a circular design, each block
consisting of 16, 18 houses. I used hollow blocks and roof blocks
for all the houses. For each block of sixteen houses the drainage
pipes were planned in one line connected to the bio-gas plant
situated in the middle of the block. Expenditure can be curtailed by
following this method. For the foundation also hollow blocks were
used with small sized iron rods at regular intervals. When there
were earthquakes, they were getting confined to limited areas
because of the spaces between blocks and the movements of the layers
beneath the earth did not affect the entire building.
I built my
two-storied house also following this design. I cut down expenses on
doors and windows by designing them in a special way. I constructed
many houses on this design in near Chengalput and Madhurai. Rich
people can build their houses in the manner they like but the
problem of the poor are many. At one stage I gave serious thought to
building houses in the nights also but such experiments can be made
only with the help of team work but not by a single individual. So
many such designs remained in the thinking stage. I was appointed as
the Principle of the Women’s
I continued in that post till 1969. I got the hostel building
constructed for the students of this college at Taramani.
after my retirement I started the Zonta Resource Centre at
Pallavaram in Chennai in association with the Zonta International
Centre of Netherlands which is a self-service body. We gave training
to thousand women in different crafts. We built low cost houses
freely for poor women who were AIDS victims in Madambakkam but the
neighbors destroyed the houses opposing our service move. They
abused me for bringing AIDS patients into their colony.
From then on I
directed my energies in creating awareness among the poor towards
I wrote a number of
books on “The Role of Women Entrepreneurs in Indian Economy and
Vocational Education…and other such topics…”, explained M. George
detailing her successes.
The Heart Yearns for more
The organizer of the programme who intended to find out that
youngsters below twenty consider as the inspiration for the future
India asked those assembled that question. The answer given by one
of the girls was misheard by the organizer. He heard the answer as ‘Indira’.
He commented that the young girls of these times take Indira Gandhi
as the inspiring example that wish to reach high levels in life. The
girl who answered the question felt ashast at what the co-ordinator
said. In a loud voice she said “ I did not say Indira Priyadarshini
we take Indira Nuyi as the model not only for girls but for all
young Indians”. This is a truth which has to be believed and
accepted. Fifty year old Indira Nuyi is the representative of
which is glowing as a world power. There is no wonder that Indira
Nuyi was selected for the award of Padma Bhushan by the government
of India. She has been recently named as the global Indian of the
Year by C.N.N – I.B.S channel. Indira has already been known as the
most powerful woman of the world. Two years ago the wall street
journal described her as the woman entrepreneur who should be
carefully observed. She is known as the person who works eighteen
hours in a day of twenty hours. She is the symbol of all the Indian
women experts that work in different capacities all over the world.
Indira Nuyi is the first woman CEO of the Pepsico, an American
multinational establishment. “When I look at myself in the mirror I
knew that I am an Indian. I was born in India. The soul of India is
in me” she often says.
What is the secret of her success? This is the question that
baffles her admirers. There are many truths to be learnt from her
for every young Indian who enters into practical life. Indira
strongly believes in “Grahyate Vastava” perfection is reality. She
says “how you say is more important than what you say.” She also
stresses that in times of crisis “one should react and respond with
lightning speed.” And that this speed is most essential. One example
from a speech of hers is to be quoted. “When I was studying
geography in my school days we were told to consider the five
fingers of a palm as the five continents. The index finger (the
Europe. It represents the upward movement. The ring finger is
which stands for the senses, the thumb represents
which has self-respect, the little finger is
and the middle finger is
Remember that the middle finger is always fixed. If you are smart,
if you are educated and possess intellectual awmen, if your
activities in the business field reflect sound principles, you will
reep all the benefits.” She says that the main reason for her
success rests in her being bred in India. She explains that “being a
woman and that too a foreigner, I learnt that I should be more alert
and smart than others in order to succeed in my efforts.” Razor
sharp intellect and an ability to take deft decisions in critical
times are her mental assets. It is because of the direction given by
a woman of such intellectual capabilities, Pepsi Co. shaped itself
as one of the top establishments of Multi national firms within ten
years. Indira entered Pepsi Co. in 1994. Within seven years of she
became the Chief Financial Officer. Quaker Oats, Tropican juices,
Gatorade and other companies got merged in Pepsi Co. and Indira
played the key role in the re-organization of her company. She is a
past-master in strategic planning. She was made the CEO of Pepsi Co
with in a year of the wall street journal naming her an entrepreneur
that should be observed carefully.
Nyui who was born in
Madras (now Chennai) received her degree from Yale school of
Management. She is a Hindu, body and soul. There is a big pooja room
in her home in America. She visits Tirupati every year and worships
Lord Venkateswara and offers gifts to him. Indira Nuyi who is wedded
to the culture of her motherland wears the traditional Indian dress
at her official social gatherings. She relishes greatly idli-sambar
break fast. Her alma-mater is Madras Christian College. The teaching
staff of that reputed college, remember Indira as though she
received her degree only the previous year. Indira’s father is a
banker. Her grandfather is a Judge. While
was the first step in her educational career, she completed CEO in
Calcutta which shaped her individual talents and attainments. She
learnt her first and important lessons of how to control her
colleagues at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Though
she has been living in
for two and a half decades, she shows keen interest in the progress
registered in Indian economic reforms. Is she not the daughter of
Girijan fashion designsers
Fashion technology and city are synonyms. Villages will not
have any connection with this field. This is what we feel. But the
Adilabad girijans are proving that if an opportunity is given to
them with some imagination, village women also can prove their
Seventy girijan girls of Utnur mandal of Adilabad district
are experts in designing sarees and chudidars. The clothers designed
by these girls are being sold in
Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore and such other cities fetching twenty to
thirty thousand rupees. The interest of Priyanka Gour, the wife of
the I.T.D.A. project officer of Utmur, on fashion designing came
handy for these girijan girls. Mrs. Gour introduced the girls to the
industry and got them jobs. It takes at least twenty days to draw a
design and embroider it on a saree. The customers supply the raw
material. Bhumakka, the project manager, Utmur mandal union, gave
the above information adding that they charge reasonable amounts for
their labour. She has done B.Tech. in Fashion Technology. These
girijan youth can speak Hindi and Kannada inaddition to Gond and
Lambadi languages. They started their work after a three months
training. Here are their experiences:
These girls learnt designing in three months with great
determination. As embroidery is an art which is part of their lives,
they show great talent in it. The ITDA project officer and his wife
have bestowed great attention on this work. They got Ravi Krishna
Hyderabad, who is an expert in Fashion Designing to train these
girls. The orders that are pouring in give no respite to the
studied up to fifth class in the
local ashram school. I gave up studies as I had no money to continue
it. I wanted to help my parents in running the family. The training
given by Sri Ravi Krishna helped me. I am now earning four thousand
rupees a month by designing wedding sarees. I have now the
confidence that I can stand on my legs and help my parents. If an
opportunity comes my way, I will go to other states also (Wedding
Theses centres brought about a happy change in our lives. We
are pushing forward with faith in our work. The customers sometimes
show their designs and get them done by us. If any firm recognizes
our merit and provide opportunities, we will go anywhere. (Gagrah
choli and costly sarees expert).
The Utmur girijan girls learnt designing in only three
months. Rarely do girls learn designing in such a short time. I had
given training to hundreds in
Bhadrachalam, Vishakhapatnam, Srikakulam areas. These Adilabad girls
learnt designing quicker than those of the above places. There is
greater skill in these girls. There is good money in this area of
work. (Fashion designer,
From the bar to bollywood
The person you see in this photograph is Shagufta Rafiq. She
was a singer in bars for fifteen years and later made a name for
herself as a script writer in films. Shagufta faced many ups and
downs in her life. Though many humiliated her treating her only as a
bar singer, she faced the adversity alone boldly. She worked as the
script writer to the films of the famous director Mahesh Bhat. The
details in her words.
“I grew up as a lovely girl undergoing humiliation right from
my childhood. The bitter experience I had faced early in life made
me bold and strong. I am the adopted daughter of the stage artist
Anwari Begum. I stepped into her house as a ten old baby. My mother
acted in films to make a living after the death of her first
husband. She gave muzra shows also for some time in
She later took a second husband. When her second husband also died
it was difficult for her to run the family. I had by then a brother
and an elder sister Sayeeda. We started cooking for paying guests to
keep ourselves going.
I do not know who my real parents were. But I used to hear
that my real mother was a very poor woman and that a wealthy man
deceived her saying he loved her. Some others say that Sayeeda was
my mother that I was born to her before her marriage, that Anwari
adopted me fearing that her daughter Sayeeda’s life would be ruined.
Yet others used to mock at me saying I was the daughter of a sex
worker. But mother used to dismiss these statements as rumours and
used to console me.
Sister Sayeeda married a cinema producer called Brij Sadama.
Then I was seven years old. But he suspected that I was born to
Sayeeda and a lover of hers. So he hated me and tortured my sister.
My brothers and their wives also used to ill-treat me. I suffered
agony because everyone looked down on me. In the school also my
class mates teased me. They did not allow me to play with them or
read with them. I lost the little contact I had with the world.
I became a loverly creature. No one gone thought to my life.
In due course books became my companions and the world. I joined in
Islamin studies. By reading Quran I gained peace and enthusiasm. It
was during this time I read the works of Mahesh Bhatt. They gave me
a lot of inspiration. There were many common features in the lives
of us both. Like my parents his parents had also not married. He too
faced a lot of humiliation. More than all this, we both were born on
the same day. In 1990 Sayeeda was killed by her husband. Her son
Kamal Briz was taking part in the shooting of “Sir” being produced
by Mahesh Bhat on that time.
When Kiran, the wife of Mahesh Bhatt, came to our house to
condole us, I expressed to her my desire to learn direction
strategies from Mahesh Bhatt. She gave me his number saying I could
meet him directly. I worked with him for two months but I reached
that direction was not my field. It was here that I got acquainted
with Deekshit, a cinema writer. He worked for movies like ‘Sir’, ‘
Naraj’, ‘Criminal’, ‘Phir Teri Kahani’, Yad Ayee, ‘Gism’ etc. I
developed a desire to write scripts for movies like him. But I did
not get an opportunity. Everyone asked me whether I had experience
in electronic media.
With the death of Sayeeda I had no option but to step into
Bars. Brother left us throwing the responsibility on me. I took a
Dubai to sing songs to the accompaniments of orchestra music. They
said I would be paid a lakh for three months. The classical music I
learnt in my childhood helped me now. I thought of earning a lot
through this profession and start my script writing experiment. It
was at this time mother suffered from intestinal cancer and I spent
all my earnings on her treatment. But she passed away and I lost my
mother who gave me moral support. Family fends increased and I lived
separately in a house and started working in Bars. Those who have
lost all sensibility alone can work in bars. Bars are fully politics
and exploitation. The earnings depend on the songs. The seniors do
not easily give a chance to the juniors. I worked for 15 years in
I commenced my trials again as a script writer. I got a
chance to write the script for two or three scenes for “Kaliyug”. My
career as a script writer started thus. Mahesh Bhatt decided to
shoot a movie with Parween Babi. In “Wo Lamhe” she had to act as a
‘schizophrenic’ and it was a challenge to picturise her character.
Mahesh Bhatt thought that being a woman I would be able to write a
powerful script and gave me the chance. I studied the nature of the
ailment by collecting material and prepared the script. The movie
was a great success. It gave me great satisfaction to win
recognition as a script writer in Bollywood.
Gems of Earth
Those whom you see here are four best woman farmers. Sunkara
Rama Devi of Warangal district and Karra Shashikala of Nalgonda
district received the state best woman farmer’s awards. Ratna Reddy
of Chittoor district and Lomada Lakshmi Devi of Kadapa district
received district level best farmer awards. Three of them have
studied only upto seventh calss, while is an M.A. B.Ed. These women
are from agricultural families. Their speciality is producing larger
produce with low resources. Rama Devi made the soil her life while
Sashikala chose agriculture though highly educated. Ratna Reddy made
a name as an industrialist also in addition. Lakshmi Devi stood as a
model to many by growing mulberry crop even during adverse famine
Sunkara Rama Devi
Her school was the field. “I belong to Vangapahad village
situated in Hasanparthy mandal of Warrangal district. As I was the
only daughter to my parents they never allowed me to do any work on
the field. My marriage with my relation Mukunda Reddy was celebrated
when I was studying fifth class. I went to my in-law’s house at
Guntupalli in my twelth year. From then onwards the field was my
world. They had three acres of land. My husband was lost in studies
and never bothered about agriculture.
My father-in-law passed away twelve years ago. From then on
the responsibility of looking after the lands fell on me. My husband
used to say that he would sell the land and with that money run
finance agencies. I strongly protested his proposal. I believe that
the land is like a mother. I feel that land gives me a great
support. My husband was left without a job after he completed his
B.Ed. It was our land that supported us during that lean period. We
ran the family on the money we earned from the crops. I was doing
every kind of work in the field, from ploughing to sowing the seeds.
When crops were affected by pestilences I sprayed insecticides also
In the beginning I did not know a thing about agriculture. I
learnt a few things observing the ryots in the adjoining fields.
When crops were insect ridden I didn’t know what to do. Though
insecticeds were sprayed the pests never died. One day an officer of
the agricultural department, Mr. Lakshminarayana visited fields. He
told me that spraying insecticides heavily on crops will not help.
He took me to a school run for agriculturists in the village. There
I learnt about many aspects of agriculture. I reduced the use of
insectiacides. I produced 22 quintals of cotton without using
pesticides. I won the best woman agriculturist award for this
achievement. Now I have taken on lease five acres and Iam
cultivating the land. Ryots should learn about the latest methods
and cultivate their lands. It is then possible to achive higher
production at low cost. The system of changing the crops should be
follwed. The suicided of farmers troubles me a great deal. Death is
no solution for any problem. Success will be ours when we move
forward with self confidence.
It is interest in agriculture. .. . .…….
I belong to Duggepalli village situated in Tripuraram mandal
of Nalgonda district. I did my M.A in Telugu and also B.Ed. But I
decided to take up agriculture which has been the tradition of our
family. I wanted to achive excellent results using natural mamures.
As a result I received a number of best woman riot awards. The state
best woman ryot award gave me great satisfaction and happiness. For
following modern technical knowledge while depending on natural
manures the state government recognized me. I want to do some more
experiments in the use of natural manures.
My independent views made me choose agriculture as my
profession. I do not like to work under others. I derive
satisfaction by being a ryot. I am also able find work for others
too. The doubts and worry I have about the use of chemical manures
and the resultant environmental pollution turned my mind to the use
of natural manures. I also recognized that by the use of chemical
manures soil was being eroded of its natural strength. We can make
the soil more fertile by using natural manures.
Lomada Lakshmi Devi
I was not deterred by obstacles………
My native village is Y.Kothapalli in pulivendula mandalam,
Kadapa district. I married Lomada Ramachandra about thirty years
ago. He belonged to my village. We have been living on agriculture
from times immorial. We have a son and a daughter. The water in
borewells went too far down to cultivate crops that depend on water.
At this juncture I turned my attention on Mulberry cultivation.
Previously mulberry cultivation did not give encouraging results.
Yet we cultivated mulberry with the inch and a half of water
available in the bore. Sri G. Jagannadha Reddy of the Siriculture
department created in us an awareness regarding the method that
would produce a greater yield. We got cocoons from other places and
started the cultivation. We achieved success with good results. We
received momitary help to the tune of Rs.5000/- towards the trees,
Rs.5000/- for the shed, 90% subsidy for drip irrigation, Rs.7500/-
for the stand and Rs.7500/- for the chandrikas. We cultivated
mulberry following modern methods. A ryot who works hard will earn
well if all seasons are favourable to him. Even if the climatic
conditions favour him, he faces problems with investment,
electricity etc. If every ryot curtails expenditure and cultivates
his crops there is the possibility of achieving the expected
produce. On certain occasions and certain periods there were natural
calamities. Yet I was not worried. Whatever the obstacles, I
continued my mulberry cultivation with single minded devotion and
great self-confidence. It was my confidence that made me the ideal
woman ryot and win the district best woman ryot award.
More output with less expenditure………………
I was born in Kolamanepalle village in Palamaneru mandal of
Chittoor district. I studied only upto fifth class. While doing
cultivation I started the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. As I
was a girl, all my people treated me very affectionately from my
childhood. As I am a child of a ryot I developed great love for
agriculture. This love made me get into this field. My aim always
was to produce a great output of crops with less expenditure. So I
developed varmicompost fertilizers in my fields and with that
fertilizer I took up paddy cultivation. I am growing raagi and other
cropos also in this method. I achieved a very high yield of a high
equality paddy. As a result I was awarded the district best woman
To-day agriculture has turned into a gamble. I feel that in
these circumstances the ryots shold achive quality product with the
help of limited resources and if they do so can overcome some of the
difficulties they are facing now. The reason for my taking lup the
Ayurveda industry is, it is a medication depending on herbs.
Ayurvedic medicines do not produce side-effects like English
medicines. I strongly feel nothing is better than a system that
depends on nature cure. These medicines are available for the
village folk at low rates.
The most difficult field in the cinema field is direction.
There will be many challenges in the work which takes behind the
screen. The present day youth among girls are coming forward with
great enthusiasm, if only they are given an opportunity. Reema
Kagthi and Pooja Coudary belong to this category. Reema says she
likes to make movies with stories that reflect her personal tastes
and image. Poojitha wants to produce documents on women’s subjects.
There should be originality has made mark in this field
though she has no cinematic background in her family. She is now in
the company of Meghana Guljar and Tanuja Chandra, the contemporary
women directors. Reema worked as associate director with Faran Aktar,
Ashutosh Govarikar, Meera Nair and others and now directed
independently the movie “Honeymoon Travels Private Ltd.” It is
significant that shabna Aajmi, Boman Irani, Ameena Patel and Diya
Meerja have acted as heroines in her low budget movie.
Reema Kagthi belongs to an Assamese family that lives in
Mumbai. Ever since her childhood Reema was attracted by the cinema.
When she revealed her mind that she wanted to work in that field,
her parents told her that she should do her degree first before she
thinks of any career. Though Reema did not relish their suggestion
then, she now says that because of the education she got then, she
could gain some recognition in the Hindi cine field. She did
graduation in Mass Communication in
Sophia College, Mumbai. As part of her degree course she had to do
internship and she approached Rajath Kapoor to give her an
opportunity to work as associate director. She thus set foot in
Bollowood with the film “Private Detective”. Her life took a turn
with “Lagan” in her career. She says she learned as much through her
DVD (which she brought with her own money) as through her work
experience. The DVD player gave her an opportunity to watch Marathi
cinemas as well as Hollywood movies and movies of different
Reema is a great admirer of Maniratnam, Pharan Aktar, Anurag
Kashyap but does not even like to imitate them. Some producres asked
her to remake Pharan Aktar’s ‘Dil Chahtha hai’ with heroines instead
of heroes. But as her story was not written as desired by them, she
did not get offers for some years. But finally Pharan Aktar herself
got ready to shoot the honeymoon theme with six pairs of husbands
and wives, the script of which was written by Reema. In our movies
imagination and originality are lacking. Commercial success is given
great importance. It is this commercialism that dictating the
directors. But I have the hope that the new generation directors
will change the trend”,
says Reema. Let us hope she too will be one of them.
should be crossed.
Her mother, Renuka Choudary, is a political leader, her
father is an industrialist. But Poojitha chose a field which is
different from that of her parents. “When I was doing my degree in
America, as part of my studies I started reading the works of women
writers. Thus I got acquainted with the problems of women. Returning
from America I settled in Mumbai. I worked for some time in an
advertising company called Sachi and Sachi. I did not like that jot
at all. It was at this time I got acquainted with Vinutha Nanda, a
Bollywood director. She asked me to work as assistant director for
the movie “White Noise”, which was being produced by Rahul Bose and
Koil Puri. Thus I set foot into the cinema field,” said Poojitha.
Later Poojitha produced a documentary titled “Sand in My
Nostrils” on the foetal murders taking place in
Punjab. This was follwed by “Gender Bender”, another documentary.
This documentary deals with the experience of women who entered into
new professions unconnected with traditional enterprises and
achieved success, detailing the women driving bulldozers and cranes
in Tata steel factory at Jamshedpur, those driving house boats in
Kerala’s Allepy, autos driven in Tamilnadu, those acting as barbers
in Andhra Pradesh and as priests in Maharashtra.
“Women’s earnings increase if they work in the fields beyond
the traditional areas. It is true that a person’s value increases
with economic freedom. Apart from this the feeling that they too can
work in all spheres enhances their prestige in society. When we
reach this stage, parents will feel proud of their girl children. I
produced this document only to focus this point. I am working in a
firm called young Indians also. In co-ordination with Reddy
Foundation, our Young Indians has started giving training to women
as cab drivers in
Women are going to drive taxies in
soon” said poojitha with great satisfaction. This documentary was
screened on the B.B.C., Al Jajeera and other channels in forty
countries. Poojitha produced the third documentary titled “Queen of
the grassroots” which deals with changes that have been observed as
a result of women taking up the job as a sarpanch. Poojitha says
that she will not confine herself to women’s problems alone but will
produce documents on cultural aspects also in the future.
articles/skits on moral behavour and on helping and serving old
various committees of Old age homes/trusts like
boards of the
for the Care of the Aged
Ravindra Rao Charitable Trust
ABCD – Vidya
Parasari Seva Samstha
Mahila Vibhag Association for the care of the Aged.
Women on traditional values, Poojas and Hindu philosophy
Seva Shakaram (for old, unemployed, matrimonials etc.)
Pensions, Fee and small maintenance for Poor students through
Balakrishna Veni, Mother-in-law
Priya Vamsi, C.A, SAP Consultant
Chief Manager (Retd.)
SBI Led Officers Movement in Banking Sector
Marks& Spencer in U.K.
poor students for their coming up, through coaching and small
monies for educational needs including paying fees etc.,
Delloitte as SAP Consultant
monetarily many poor students for their coming up.
An ‘Adopted’ mother
In modern times the
number of institutions taking care of destitute children is growing
and is providing employment to women. Kamala is now bringing up
children in the family services centre (FSC) in Kolaba, Mumbai, and
an agency that adopts children. Now Kamala’s experiences in her
fifteen years I have shared ‘mother’s love’ with fifteen children.
While taking care of my two children, the reason for acting as an
‘adopted mother’ is my financial problem. We lived a very happy life
with the job I had earlier. Once I lost the job the economic
problems cropped up. When I was in search of a job, my neighbors
showed me this post. They adopted a child from the agency where I
From the beginning
my hobby was to take care of birds and pet animals. I forget time
when I play with children. I keep the photographs and the dates of
birth of the children who have been allotted to me. Though some of
them are taken away on adoption I celebrate their birth days. Though
it is part of the duties, a bond develops between me and the
children in course of time. I tell myself that these children live
with me for a few months and that the FSC will find for them a
permanent place and that once they leave they are strangers to me.
If well-to-do and respectful families take a child away there will
be no chance of meeting the child again. Though I don’t see them or
meet them, I will find about the welfare of the child from their
‘father and mother’.
mong the fifteen
children whom I brought up, Tanu and Mayur are close to my heart.
When Tanu came to me she was very ill and weak. Doctors said there
was no hope of her survival. I took it as a challenge and strove
hard to bring her to a shape. Within that one year Tanu grew close
to me. I wanted her to call me ‘mother’. But she was taken away
after her first birth day on adoption. I felt tortured that a part
of my body had left me. I cannot forget Mayur also. His mischievous
acts and deeds made everyone laugh. Once he fell seriously ill. I
stayed with him and served him with all my heart so that he would
recover soon. Now these two children are not with me. But they are
leading a happy life elsewhere. When I go out my eyes involuntarily
search for them….the children whom I brought up. I ensentain the
hope of meeting Tanu and expect that she would recognize me.
When the hero
fights with the villain and his stooges on the screen the spectators
hold their breath. If the heroine like Vijaya Shanti does the fights
the the enthusiasm and admiration of her fans is indescribable. Most
of us feel that such incidents take place only in movies. The girl
with a bandage around her head whom you see on the screen is twenty
three year old Malavath Kalavathi who fought with not one but four
dakus on the Secunderabad railway station platform using her Kingfu
knowledge, all alone. She was seriously injured while chasing them.
She informed the interviewer that her desire was to become a police
officer and the attack by the goondas on her consolidated her
dertermination. She says that she will be able to help woman if she
gets a job in the police department.
“We belong to
Ghanpur village of
mandal in Nizamabad district. We are lambadas. Father is Amru.
Mother is Tari. They do farming. I did not go to school as a child.
I appeared for the seventh class exams directly and passed.
teacher is responsible for whetting my interest in studies. I had a
desire to become a police officer from my youth. I told him what my
ambition was. He informed me that if I pass at least the tenth
class, I may get selected in the ST quota. I studied and passed the
tenth class. I did intermediate also with CEC group. But I failed in
the degree exams, I stopped my studies. The financial condition of
our family was not encouraging. Father fell ill. Brother married and
got separated. The responsibility of fending the family fell on me.
Though the members of my family said a girl has no chances of a
police job, I did not give up my attempts.
During my college
days I was good at long jump, high jump, shot put and such games.
While studying my degree course I decided to take training in
marshal arts so that I could get into the police department. Under
the training of Sri Srinivas in Kamareddy, I completed the second
degree course in black belt course in Kingfu. When I was studying
Intermediate I applied for a post in civil police but did not get
it. Yet I did not give up my attempts. I applied for Railway
Protection Force also. When I came here to take the examination I
was attacked by the decoits.
My mother also
followed me to Secunderabad. It was half past ten in the night when
we reached Secunderabad. I had to go to my friend living in
Ramananthapur. Before leaving the station I needed to the visit the
toilet. There was an empty train at platform 9. I requested a
constable to take care of my mother and the luggage and walked
towards the train. A person rushed at me and pulled my purse away
from me. Though I was stunned, I recovered quickly, held him and
pulled back my purse. Then another person joined him. I was then
inside the train which was inter-tubular. As they ran through the
train I too ran behind them. They both tried to overpower me. I
utilized my knowledge of Kingfu and fought with them trying to
defend and save myself from them. It was then another batch of two
persons joined the attackers. One of them took out a knife. I was
not given to getting worried or afraid and at that moment I did not
lose my cool. I silently prayed and started attacking them single
handed using my skills of Kingfu.
The foursome jumped
out of the train and started running on the platform. I too followed
them chasing. One of them hit me on my face with all his strength
and I felt dazed. Another man injured me on my head with his knife.
I was bleeding profusely but was chasing them. They escaped in the
darkness. Their attack on me continued for twenty minutes. There was
not a constable of the Railway policestation. Force on the platform
to come to my rescue. My Kingfu saved me.
I walked forward
towards my mother with a bleeding head. We were taken to the railway
hospital and my head was bandaged. Later in the government hospital
three stitches were required to close the wound. I was advised rest
for three weeks as there was a heavy loss of blood. I identified one
of the attackers at the RPF office. The C.I admired my courage and
complimented me. I now pray God that the complaint I made against
the RPF and their non-availability on the platform will not spoil my
chances of getting selected.
From hotel to sports
Santulata stands as an example to what girls can do for rural
sports. Working in a hotel she has made a name for herself in Volley
Ball and Kabaddi. She now awaits government help to prove her mettle
at the national level.
Santulata was born in a poor family and yet has shown great
interest in rural sports. She has been steadily progressing in
volley ball and Kabaddi items. In her ninth class she obtained the
first place at mandal level games in Volley ball. In studies also
she is equally projected. She stood first in the deivision level in
her tenth class examination. She was selected as a member of the
district team in her first intermediate course in 2005 and exhibited
her skill at the state level volley ball meet at
nellore. In Kabaddi
also she played at state level competitions organized at
Zammalmadugu in Kadapa district in 2005.If the Medak district team
won the third place at Tenali in Gluntur district, Santulatha was
responsible for the distinction. She decides that her ambition is to
take part in International games representing India.
Santulatha says that if she has to fare well at national
level, the government has to help her. For want of proper facilities
at rural level, she has been handicapped. Her parents run a small
hotel and face many problems to maintain the family and yet are
encouraging her to do well in the sports field also. Government
assistance and help, she says, will awake her a better sprots woman
at the national level.
Another rural sports gem is Bhargavi who is studying eighth
St. Joseph’s high school in Gazvale. She too belongs to a very poor
family. The physical education teacher who observed her keen
interest in games encouraged her and as a result she has been taking
part as a member of the Volley Ball team representing her district.
Bhargavi assures that she will laurels at the national level inspite
of the dire poverty in which she lives. Her father runs a small tea
shop and is educating his children.
Her model is Sania Meerza, says Bhargavi. When whe was
applanded for her performance at the interstate Volley Ball Meet,
she felt very much encouraged. When she was selected at the national
level for the under-14 team she jumped with joy. But the financial
condition of her family worries her. She says she tries to forget
her poverty for the sake of the game. She is determined to win a
medal at the national level and bring credit to her school, her
family and the state. She expects the government to extend a helping
hand to sportswomen who are financially poor.
From disability to ability
Here are two women
who have proved that physical disability is no obstacle if one has
the ugre to overcome their handicap for achieving golry. Anjali
Aurora and Neha Bansali are the two women who have made themselves
role models with their self-confidence and determination and set an
example to thousands of women. Both these women had spent their
childhood singing, playing and dancing like any girl of their age.
But their lives did not proceed evenly for them. Anjali grew blind.
Neha Bansali who confirmed to the wheel chair when she hurt her
spine. Yet they out-grew their disabilities. Anjali Aurora became
the assistant manager in Air-force Authority. Neha Bansali is a
successful Chartered Accountant. These two women who perform their
duties with assistance from a companion stand as an ideal to the
society. The Ability Foundation of Chennai presented them with
National Awards. Their experiences in their words.
I was born in Delhi
and grew up there. I belong to a middle class family. I have a
gounger brother and a younger sister. When I was playing with my
friends my spine received a minor injury. But because of infection
the entire spine got affected. As a result I could not sit up and
got confined to the wheel chair. Except my right hand I could not
move any part of my body. I had to depend on others to attend to the
daily ablutions. I wanted to commit suicide. The support given by my
father and mother, my sister and brother kept me up, I took the +2
exam. I scored 92% in the exams. This achievement gave me confidence
and encouragement. I took the chartered accountant’s final exam and
stood tenth in the national ranking. This success made me live and I
grew up from then on.
I, who was confined
always to the wheel chair with ability to move only
one hand, developed a great urge to achieve something notable. I
could secure a job as a chartered accountant in a firm and became
the chief accountant. I co-ordinated the duties of 300 exployees and
solved the problems of our clients all over the country. Though
disabled and faced many problems, I could overcome problems with
self-confidence. I want to convey to other physically challenged
persons that though it is inevitable to seek help form others, if
only we can mould our lives as a model to be followed by others. It
gives us great strength. If any one of you need any help in the
chartered accountancy course you can visit me in neha.bansal 29 @
I belong to Delhi.
I am the only child to my parents. I was a topper in studies from my
childhood. When I was 12 I stayed in a hospital with fever. The eye
infection which followed the fever made me blind. I felt very much
frustrated that life without sight was unbearable. I spent sleep
less nights thinking that I became a burden to my parents. But my
father and mother consoled me greatly. I concentrated on my studies
with self-confidence and the support my parents gave me. I wanted to
be a lawyer and fulfilled my desire by stepping into the Delhi High
court as an advocate. Later I went to the Supreme Court to plead on
behalf of my client there. I am the first blind lawyer in the
Supreme Court. I achieved success in all the civil suits that I took
up in the Supreme Court. Later the Airport Authority appointed me as
the Assistant Manager in their legal cell. I am now enjoying my
profession taking on duties to solve the legal problems they face
all over the world. I advice the physically disabled to get rid of
their inferiority complex and pick up mental courage to face
problems in their lives. If we move forward with determination and
with an urge to be an example to others, failures will run away and
success will be ours. If any physically challenged person needs any
help from me, they can consult me through telephone no:
Model police officer
There is no need
for us to hold a gun in hand and run along streets to exhibit our
power and strength. The polity of Meeran Chadda Borewankar, the
Crime Branch chief of Mumbai, is that each person should carry out
his/her duties in the proper manner. She is the first woman to hold
this post. She carried out her work most successfully in areas where
crime had struck deep roots and came to be known as the super cop.
“Ours is a small
family. I have two sons. I do my work duty-bound as part of my
profession but not for money. I have very few friends. My father is
a superintendent of police. Perhaps that is the reason why his
profession had its influence on me from childhood. That is why I
chose this line. “My principle is to work hard with honesty,” says
Meeran Chadda who
has put in twenty three years of service does not like the
expression “Women Police”. At the age of 28 she took on
responsibilities as DCP (ports). She faced notorious criminals like
Varadarajan Modalayar and achieved success in putting them down.
When she went on
inspection of the ports, she sometimes took her one year old son
also along with her. In 1990 she went as the DCP of zone IV, Matunga
in Mumbai. This zone also was a criminal’s den. The are was noted
for anti-social activities connected with prostitution, black money,
matka gambling etc. Inspite of her success in her career, she does
not like to be called a ‘role model’, a ‘super cop’ etc. “I don’t
like to be called a role model because the expression increases the
pressure and tension on me. Such words, I think, make one feel that
something more has to be done in keeping with the expression.” Says
Meeran Chadda who was working as the Director General of Police,
when interviewed. She was ten more years of service and it is to be
observed what other tough posts she will hold in the future.
I Will wear my mother’s Saree and go…
This is about a
woman and her efforts who was born and bred in
theme of her movie deals with Indian Society but shot in foreign
countries which got nominated through a foreign country, that too as
an entry of a foreign movie.
Deep is trembling with and excitement. Deepa Mehata’s house
became an abode of joy. The reason was the occasion when the movie
WATER produced and dissected by this NRI, formed a place in the
Oscar Awards list among the first five movies in the foreign movies’
Deepa lives in
Ban Smith, director David Hamilton distributor Hussain
Amarshi were excited when on a Tuesday, in the morning news they
learnt that Deepa’s movie reached to top fine. “We will jumped in
joy like children” said Deepa.
She has decided the saree she would wear while walking on the
red carpet on the day she could receive the award. “A very old saree…
but it shines in golden hues… Moreover, that is my mother’s saree…
what between garments can be thought of for such an occasion…? So
saying Deepa expresses her joy.
Earlier she had produced “Bhoomi” (Earth), Agni (fire) and
now she had to struggle hard to produce the movie, water. It is
significant to note that all most all movies produced by her home
become controvercial. The movie WATER depicts the conditions
existing about 1938 in the
connected with Hindu widows which includes the character of an eight
year old gir. Deepa has to face a member of obstacles when she
Officers in the Army:
We are presenting you the views of some
of the women officers working in the army. The views expressed sound
positive and negative.
Major Reecha Sagar works in the
Electronic and Mechanical Engineers Department (EME). She now works
at Aknur Division, a little distant from Jammu. She says that she
does not like to be called a lady officer. “While on duty we feel we
are only officers but not girls. If a task has to be completed one
has to work professionally but not as men and women. I joined the
army in 1997. I have completed nine years of service. Women officers
in the army have a choice to opt for other divisions after putting
in five years of service. But I never gave thought for any change. I
am a first generation officer. More than fifty women took training
with me in Chennai in the Officer’s Training Academy (OTA). After
five years only four of us are continuing in the army,” says Reecha.
Major Sonal has three sisters. She is
the youngest of them all. She left a luxurious life in Mumbai and
joined the army. Sonal’s father owns a number of companies. She
could have lived a glorious life looking after the firms. But she
was attracted by the defence forces and joined the army. ‘I have
been working in the army for the last five years. I am proud that I
am in the army. I was posted as a Company Commander near militant’s
locations. I had to look into the welfare of 200 men, give them
training and keep them disciplined. Man or Woman one has to prove
oneself as an efficient officer. Our company arganised a number of
convoys from Pompur to Legh in the Kashmir Valley. I knew that what
I was doing was like a drop in the ocean. But in the defence of the
country even that single drop will help. My participation in
Operation Vijai and Operation Parakram gave me a lot of satisfaction
during my service of eight years,’ says Sonal. Major Sonal won a
gold medal in her batch as the best All rounder.
Lien tenant Colonel Sabitha has a
different kind of experience. “I was sent to an area nearly hundred
kilometers away from my unit on temporary duty when I was pregnant
seven months. This shift resulted in an abortion. The work
atmosphere in the army is horrible. It is difficult to face the ego
of man officers. That is the reason why I am thinking of
reluiguishing services at the end of five years. Women are willing
to work in the army. But the army is not ready to give opportunities
Major Meenakshi Sanial asks which job
has no pressures. “We are briefed how to escape from pressures in
the army. My sister-in-law works in a corporate company. She finds
time to go to the gym only in the nights. It is a great honor to
work in the army. My friends are envious of me because they could
not get an opportunity to work in the army,” says Meenakshi.
These are a sample of the views of women
officers in the army. Women’s condition in the army is as it is in
any other field. It is not so?
Now let us take a look at statistics :
Women Officers in the Army till
June 1, 2006 :
Army Defence :
37 Electronic and Mechanical :
155 Education Corps : 63
114 Intelligence : 57
Supply Corps :
163 Judge Advocate General : 20
Ordinance Corps :
From 1990-91 women were taken into
the army in the Engineering, Ordinance. Intelligence, Signals,
Education, Law, Logistics and Air Traffic Control divisions. Doctors
and Nurses were recruited earlier. The above services and short
services commissions. Since 1992, 50 women are getting recruited
every year. Now the strength has reached 150. Earlier every vacancy
attracted 36 applications. Now it is 50.
There 920 women officers
in the Army out of 34,000; 450 women officers in Air Force out of
15,000; 100 women officers in the Navy out of 6,000. Every six
months about 5000 graduates and post-graduate women are applying to
join the armed forces. Of these only a tenth of candidates get the
opportunity. Women officers reach the level of Major in their ten
Men officers do not show
an inclination to salute the women officers and the good work turned
out by women officers is not acknowledged or recognized by men
Women officers are not
permitted to enter Infantry, Artillary and Counter Insurgency
Women pilots are allowed
in the front line zones of Kashmir. They are not given fighter jets.
Women have no entry into
In the medical section the
opportunities for women have always been encouraging compared to
other divisions, harassment and discrimination is far less in this
Life is a ‘positive’ Message
Aavabi is a HIV positive patient. After
her husbands death she is working to create an awareness in the
villagers on AIDs and help the welfare of the womenfolk. A few
details about Aavabi in her own words………
“I was twenty seven years old then. I
heard the words HIV and AIDS for the first time. I contacted this
ailment through my husband. When he died my relatives and neighbours
thought that my life also would end in a similar maneer like my
husband’s. As a matter of fact my new life started from then
onwards. It was that ailment that made me go out of my house for the
first time in my life. It created in me a desire to work for the
well being of a few others. My mother or my brother did not like my
working as an AID’s volunteer. But I did not heed any one of them.
I, who was an AID’s victim, decided to
educate young girls about AIDS and HIV positive keeping in mind my
personal experience, The Instutute of Applied Dermatalogy works for
the welfare of the local HIV positive women. I took a job as a
convenor and now serving the cause. I have observed many women who
suffer like me. I felt very sad and bad when I learnt that their
husbands inflicted this disease on them by visiting women whenever
they went to other places on business trips.
THE AIDS VICTIMS TREATED AS
The AIDS victims were not allowed to go
near others till recently. They were treated as if they were
outcasts. The people humiliated these victims. I had observed the
relatives and members of family of AIDS VICTMS not willing to
perform the obsequies when the victims died. On such occasions we
used to go to their houses, carry the dead bodies of AIDS victims
and perform the last rites.
There are a number of other women
victims like me in IAAD. We all help in collecting the necessary
provisions for such families. The member of HIV positive women who
do not want to expose themselves is great. We act as counselors and
educate them regarding the precautions to be taken. We provide them
moral courage and create self-confidence in them to lead a normal
life. On this manner I have been trying to make my life a message
for AIDS victims by mingling with them ad one among them.
I got my two children medically
examined. Fortunately the result was negative. My joy knew no
bounds. My children are my strength. I want to live for their sake.
I have an yearning to serve the society in many other ways also.
Though I have earned a good name in the
society as a result of my services, I also observe people looking at
my children doubtfully. I feel terribly bad when some people try to
keep my children away from them. But I could boldly declare that I
was a HIV victim. Now I am in a position to face the society with
self-confidence and the people who are terror – stricken at the very
mention of AIDS.
Sri Nizam Rather, an officer of our
Health Services, is writing a book on my life and it will be
published soon. I feel that my life-story will be an eye – opener to
many. I am equally sure that the book will give now strength to many
victims like me to face life boldly and make the most of it.”
Precious new gem in Indian Literature
When Kiran Desai became the youngest
woman ever to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, she made a lot
of people happy. There was her American publisher Grove/Atlantic,
which had just put out of paperback edition of a paperback edition
The Inheriatance of Loss. There
was her Britishy publisher, Hamish Hamilton, which took a chance on
the 35-year old Desai’s novel after it had been rejected by a
discouraging number of publishing houses in Britain.
And then there was Terry Hong. Hong was
in charge of lining up speakers for this year’s South Asian Literary
and Theater Arts Festival. Having read and loved inheritance, Hong
had invited Desai to speak months before the Man Booker announced
its finalists. Onstage at the festival, Hong recalled her excitement
when, on October 10, a text message alerted her to Desai’s triumph.
Kiran Desai, who was born in India and
now moves easily between her apartment in New York kjand her
father’s home in New Delhi, as “the perfect example of today’s
The action in Desai’s novel moves back
and forth between a decaying colonial mansion in Kalimpong, a hill
town in north-east India at the foot of the Himalayas, and the
rodent-ridden basement kitchens of New York. It’s to these kitchens
that Biju, the son of the mansion’s cook (and sole remaining
servant), has been dispatched to make his fortune.
The Inheritance of
Loss took seven years to finish. During one stretch, Desail lived
with her mother and the two wrote in the same room – though in
extremely different styles, Her mother is “very disciplined”, Desai
says. “She writes by hand and every line comes out without a mess,
just grammatically perfect and taut_ as if it’s been edited and
Bio-Scientist Radharama Devi
Knowledge essential for would-be mothers
Radharama Devi is the recipient of this
year’s woman Bio-scientist Award. She took her medical degree in
pediatrics from Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam and started
her career as an Assistant Professor in pediatrics in the same
college. Later she played an important role in the field of Indian
genetic research. She took voluntary retirement and become the head
of the diagnostic section of the Center for Finger Printing and
Diagnostic Studies (CDAFD). She is carrying out now medical research
in genetics in which field she has great interest. While giving
medical help she is also encouraging people to develop interest in
genetic tests. Dr. Radharama Devi
Played a significant part in
establishing in India the first Neo-natal Screening System. Her
favorite branch of study and research is Inborn Errors of
Metabolism. Here are a few more details about Radharama Devi in her
I belong to Tenali. I completed my high
school studies there. I did the M.B.B.S course in Andhra Medical
College, Visakhapatnam. Also my post-graduation there. My father was
of opinion that girls should enter into the medical field in large
number and this thought made me take to the medical profession . I
won the President’s Medal at MBBS exam. This medal is awarded to
only six universities in India. I was awarded this medal as a
student of Andhra University. I also won the gold medal in medicine.
I worked as Assistant Professor for one year in Andhra Medical
College. Later I worked in Guntur Medical College for four years. It
was then that I married. Later I was the children’s specialist in
Bhabha Atomic Research Center for some time.
Genetic Tests of blood – relatives :
I worked as the Medical Officer in the
Indian institute of Sciences (IISC) from 1977 to 1994 in Bangalore.
I must say that this period was an important phase in my life. It
was here that I did my course in genetic engineering. From the
beginning I was interested in the field of study and research. In
this institute we carried on tests on newborn babies. We studied the
genetic and other problems of ill health of babies and gave
importance to the kind of medical help that should be rendered so
that the children would not suffer in the future. Such an approach
provides an opportunity in early detection of genetic problems and
in preventing them. We can detect possible mental disability and
Amino acid disorders that may occur later. Some of these defects can
be overcome by taking balanced diet and through medicines. If there
are genetic defects the treatment for such cases will be different.
I have done research on the problems
that arise in children born to blood relatives. Also on men’s
problems. I have looked into problems that may arise genetically as
a result of artificial insemination. In all classes of people the
woman is held responsible to bear children and if she does not, the
blame is thrown on her. This is because the society suffers from the
feeling of male superiority. We have to develop the awareness that
the male and the female partners are equally responsible in the
process. We also find the mother being blamed if children born are
deformed. This accusation is unscientific.
Counseling on genetic and
We conduct tests in the CDFD diagnostics
section on diseases connected with genetic problems. We give
counseling and do pregnancy screaming to pregnant women who may face
risks. We test to ascertain whether chromosomal and nural tube
defects are present. We also provide pre-natal diagnostic services
to detect chromosomal, inborn errors of metabolism as well as single
gene disorders. Mental derangement and physical deformity result
because of chromosomal defects. The parents can decide whether they
would retain the pregnancy or terminate it on receiving the required
medical counseling. We also conduct tests to new born babies to
detect whether they suffer from defects handed down from generation
to generation. We give counseling to young men and women who are
going to marry soon. We examine the genetic health histories of the
families and give them suggestions and advice. For example as a
result of problems connected with genes, there is a possibility of
‘down syndrome’ occurrence. This problem is observed in the children
born to those who are married in early age and those who marry very
late. Counseling before marriage helps in solving many problems for
There is a great need to develop an
awareness in people to go in for genetic, chromosomal and
bio-chemical test to detect and prevent genetic defects. Parents and
youth of the present day should take the initiative to establish for
a healthy family. If this knowledge is utilized properly they would
help in rearing a healthy society. My researches will be carried out
in that direction.
THE TREASURE FOR THE BLIND
Nidhi Kailas is 29
years old now. Naziruddin show palying the role of a blind man in
the movie ‘sparsh’ made a lasting impressing on Nidhi when she was a
student. It finally changed the very ‘outlook’ of her life. It
turned her life towards giving a helping hand to blind children.
She is now filling new light in the eye filled with darkness. She
has shaped her action – plan to see that the blind do not depend on
pity and mercy of others but stand on their own legs. She is
fighting for paying them wages commensurate with the work they do.
She learnt the Braille script to achieve her aim. She is now
working as a management consultant in Bangalore. Here are the
details about her in her words.
“I saw the movie”
‘Sparsh’ in 1979. I was then a student in I.I.M of Calcutta. I was
then a volunteer of National service scheme, my membership of the
N.S.S. changed my thinking process and the Movie ‘Sparsh’ influenced
my mind greatly my activity in N.S.S and the impact of ‘Sparsh’ made
me feel that I should make the blind lead a different and a new life
and that they should be self – sufficient economically. It took
nearly ten year for this seed to grow into a plant and into a tree.
As a child I tried
to walk closing my eyes on paths familiar to me. On such occasions
I tried to grasp the severity of problems faced by blind people.
Those simple experiments made me understand their difficulties. My
heart used to be filled with pity for them. But after going to the
movie ‘Sparsh’, I realized the truth that the blind cannot tolerate
others pitying them. Also that they eagerly await the day when they
can stand on their legs freely and with self – confidence.
In my student days
I visited all the schools for the blind. I spent thousands of hours
with the blind children. There I observed a very significant habit
among them of helping each other, which attracted my attention. I
observed in them a feeling that they were not different in any way
from the normal people with sight. But this confidence dwindles in
them when they reach the seventh or eight classes.
The blind fix their ‘Sight’ on self – earnings. The reason
for this is they know that the normal children make earnings doing
petty jobs. The fact that they too cannot do so subjects them to
disappointment. In addition they feel bad that they too are not
able to do practical in laboratories like other children. They
realize that lab work can be done only when they can see things.
This feeling makes them understand the severity of their defect.
Another problem I could detect as the inability of the poor among
the blind not being able to buy Braille books and audiocassettes.
When I understood
the thoughts and feelings of the blind, the eagerness to do
something to help them grew in me. In 2005 I opened a Braille
bookstore called ‘Geisha’, I learnt Braille scripts in my school
days itself. I introduced the mail order facility to obtain books
in Braille script and audiocassettes. Blind students can lace an
order of their requirements and get easily what they need. We
charge from them only the cost of the tape and if it is Braille
book, only the cost of paper. This was the first step I took to
help the blind students, but my main stress is on making the blind
They should lead a
life of self-respect. May people say that the blind should manage
and adjust themselves with what little they earn and not entertain
great ambition. I never liked this talk; my aim was to provide them
with earning outlets so that they could live respectable lives. It
was them that I wondered how it would work out if the visiting cards
were printed in Braille. I learnt that along with the usual
information on one side, the same information was printed in Braille
on the other side of the card and that it was an international
system. If at least 10% of the visiting cards are prepared in India
in this manner it will help small section of the blind in finding a
job for them. This business will help them to stand on their own.
It takes 20-40 minutes for a blind man to print hundred visiting
cards. If they are made to work for eight hours a day for
twenty-five days in a month paying them at the rate of one rupee for
cash visiting card they will be able to earn about Rs. 15,000 –
This money should go to their children themselves for the
time being we are able to run this system as a business. But we had
to struggle a lot to put our thoughts into practice. It took me a
long time to make the blind children realize that this was a
business proposition. I explained to them that good quality in
producing these cards was very important and essential. I told them
that the cards should be attractive and that they should complete
the given assignment with in a week. At the time of selecting
children to receive training in this art, I make it very clear in
the beginning that they money earned should be given to the children
only and that neither the school nor the parents should take
possession of the money. I strongly believe that unless I take
strict measures, the aim with which I started the programme will not
be achieved. Then only the blind will enjoy the fruits of
self-employment they will be able to lead a happy and free life with
self-confidence. I am planning to introduce more out lets to create
earning opportunities through my bookstore ‘Eesha’, I am now running
a unit in Bangalore. I am going to open another unit in Mumbai
Geetha Ramaswamy is a name known all over Andhra Pradesh.
She was born in a traditional brahmin family. She could not
reconcile herself to the traditional ritnals and turned towards
reformation and revolution. She resented the oppression on women
even in her student days. She fought against the landed gentry
supporting the rights of the poor and the down trodden later.
Geetha Ramaswamy believed that nothing was more powerful than
the book for social progress. She decided to make available
reformative writings and technical knowledge to common people. She
established Hyderabad the books Trust in 1980 in partnership with
Geetha Ramaswamy’s father was an official in the telephones,
working in sholapur when Geetha was born. She continued her
education in Bombay, Madras and Hyderabad. She was disgusted with
narrow communal feelings even in her college days. She wrote “In all
communities women have to transmit the felling of community. It is
more pronounced in Brahmin families. The young girls among Brahmins
are taught how to carry the weight of the traditions. I felt it
was a heavy order to be carried out. When the girl is in her
periods she is made to sit away from others. I was doing my middle
school studies then. Science tells us that during the menstrual
period the woman’s system produces the egg for the purpose of
fertilization and when it is not fertilised it is sent out in the
form of menstruation. But at home, during this period, restrictions
are imposed asking us not to touch this and that. I used to
protest. They told me not to enter the pooja room. Science gave me
the strength to fight. I realized that most of the Brahmin
traditions were the opposites of science. My people told me not to
touch the idols of gods during the periods. They said I would go
blind. To prove my point I used to go into the pooja room unnoticed
and touch the idols purposefully. I used to verify whether I lost
my sight on subsequent days. I did not go blind. I divided that
their words were follow, I also used to touch the pickles during the
periods but they did not get spoiled. In this manner I opposed
every threat of theirs and proved them wrong,” writes Geetha
In her time people
belonging to other communities were not allowed to visit her house
and she could not move in their company. She revolted against this
practice also. She had opposed all such moves in her girlhood days.
In 1972 she started
a women’s Forum in the college to tackle sexual harassment of girl
students by boys. The progressive student’s wing, called these days
as PDSU, supported her move. She later joined the wing as a
member. Her family did not approve of her action and subjected her
to untold misery. As a result she cut off her relations with her
family. After her marriages as she was kidnapped once, treated with
electric shocks saying that she was mad and was handed over to the
police and other such brutal acts.
At this time the
family of George Reddy stood by her. They never questioned her,
gave helped her more then what family members do with a humanitarian
says that extreme brahministic rituals turned her towards an
agitational out look.” The women in brahmins families get subjected
to great suppression. All my friends are non-brahmins. They are
very considerate and liberal women of no ther community get
subjected to suppression as Brahmin women. If a girl comes of age
and matures, a feast is held in other communities. The girl is
dressed up well and is given good food she likes. Not so in Brahmin
families the occasion makes the members of the family feel sorry as
if the girl had committed an un wanted sin. Strict restrictions are
imposed in the food served to the girl. In families of other
communities it is not so. The girls enjoy the freedom of moving with
boys and play with them. I our family it was a crime to sit by the
side of a man and was objected to my father used to ask my boy class
maters to go away when they visited our house. In other communities
there was considerable freedom within limits.
The great evil
among Brahmins…… was the feeling that except the Brahmins people
belonging to other communities were not human beings’ Such is
their community pride, my sister is those days was highly educated.
She was an M.A. and worked as an officer. Her was an arranged
marriage by elders and she used to live in the adjacent lane. Her
husband beat her with a stick once. She came to our house crying it
was a big shock to me. I began to worry why women suffered so much
my mother had a great liking to study. But she was prevented from
going to school after the fourth class. This should have pained her
a lot. Such incidents made me devide that I should not marry,” she
hounded the PDSU in 1973 and took an active part in its programmes.
After the emergency she went to North India and worked on the
problems of bhangis for three years. Returning from the North she
started the hyderabad book trust in partnership with C.K. Narayana
Reddy who had commerced publishing revolutionary literature.
Geetha says that
the book trust was established to fill the vacuum felt in the
availability leftist books in Telugu. The trust was kept going till
1984. She personally carried the books to each and every town and
sold them, though she did not have enough money and though her
mastery of Telugu language was inadequate she told the books with
“I slept in bus
stations, took refuge in the houses of some people by requesting
them, there were no bathrooms in some houses. I underwent marry in
conveniences, people asked me whether I had no parents when I opened
book stalls in towns. Some men behaved shockingly with me. It took
a long time for me to get used to all this,” she says but she
experienced satisfaction in selling the books. Once a person read a
book for more than half–an–hour and expressed surprise that the book
cost sixty rupees. Later he brought four others who shared Rs 15/-
each and bought the book some parents used to meet her and ask her
to recomme4nd a good book for their children.
With in five years
Geetha Ramaswamy’s efforts bore fruit and she became famous. But
left for against …….. being conferred on her. She left for
ibrahimpatnam and fought for the wages of the workers. She
organized an agitation on bonded labour she got 2500 acres of land,
which was under the control of land lords in titles, distributed the
land among the poor and the landless, 200 acres of government land
at Kundoor was freed which was under illegal occupation. She took
part in different land distribution movements during 1984 – 91. A
member of police cases were registered against her. “As I had the
support of people I did not feel beaten the party workers fought
boldly and courageously, their sacrifice was greater than mine” she
It is significant
that she never took to violent means in fighting for rights. She
knew that violence would beget violence. Though she had an
opportunity to be elected the people’s representative, she refused
the honour. She took up again the responsibilities of running the
book trust. She is now busy translating books of fame into Telugu
and bring them out at low cost.
Telugu writers fell
that whatever they write is of great importance, so she says she
translate are liberal minded and invite criticism while such a
situation does not exist in Telugu writing and hence she is not able
to take up Telugu works. The Telugu writers spend more time in
disputes and discussions than producing standard works.
When asked whether
she never felt it wrong to take part in agitations and moving about
as a member of revolutionary parties, Geetha says proudly that she
never felt so. “People who amassed wealth and properties will enjoy
happiness and luxuries, but those who take part in movements and
revolution will have the support of people. Wherever I go people
gather around me and talk to me affectionately what more is greater
than this wealth 3” she asks. She further states that the life of
Poolan Devi will be the torch brearer to S.C., S.T. and B.C. women.
Geetha says that
people who affirm that there is no community feeling is hollow
statement feminists, revolutionaries and intellectuals are no
exception to this. These do reveal in their language and bearing
the pride of the community they belong to Geetha says that if the
society should extricate itself from this evil, each community
should forget that there is another community lower in status than
their own. The progress expressed in words should be put into
practice. Then any movement will gain people’s support Geetha tells
us that she has no definite arm to achieve in future.
We think that business enterprise and devotion to Nature are
incompatable. Don’t we? But for Geetha kapadia, who hails from a
family doing business in textiles.Mountaineering is close to her
heart. She got acquainted with Aadivasi art during her week-end
mountaineering jaunts along with her husband. She learnt about Varli
paintings when she went on a sojourn among Sahyadri mountains, about
Tangka art in Tibet and about Madhubani paintings when she visited
Bihar. She was very much attracted by Varli art. Geetha keeps
herself busy organizing workshops in many schools, in British
councils and Allowance Franchises. She is introducing this art to
mentally retarted children also. She states emphatically that her
intention is to let people know about our art forms and that she
does not at all think of making money out of it.
Mithra Pucon achieved fame as an exponent of Hindustani music
and as a writer among Assamese women. Apart from her talent in these
two fields, she translates Assamese books into English now and then.
It is significant to note that she is the first woman from Eastern
India who wrote a novel in English under the title “ The Collector’s
Wife” She says that she derives greater satisfaction in creative
writing than at the result. She has been giving music concerts from
her seventeenth year on the radio. Her first collection of
children’s stories “Mamoni’s adventure” was published by children’s
Book Trust. She won the UNICEF – CBT award for the book. She gave
music concerts in many cities. Those who love to read her books
attend her music concerts also. She says that as her two sons have
grown up now, she finds enough time to practice music and write
Poetry ebbed out of Rama Tivari eighteen years ago when her
grand daughter was born. She penned her experiences as grandmother
in poetry and sent the poems to her granddaughter in her letters.
Later these poems were published by the Rajasthan Daily paper. The
favourable response of the readers to her poems kept up her interest
in writing poems. Rama Tivari worked as Lecturer in English in the
Rajasthan Government College in Jaipur till 1991. She is also an
expert in the field of translation. She has a good command over
Hindi, Rajasthani and English. She translated Rabindranath Togore’s
“Geetanjali” into Hindi from the English version. She translated
into Hindi R.K. Narayan’s novels “Malgudi days” , “Swamy and
Friends” and “The Guide”, Songs fsor children, short stories, novels
and translations were published she has to her credit 24 books.
Translating “Geentanjali” within 10 days is the most unforgertable
experience for her, she says. She proudly states that her grand
daughter, Anwiksha, has picked up the writing strain which she
herself acquired as a legacy from her father.
Geetha vasudevan is not only a professor of ancient Indian
History, but also ably manages the Cultural center. She holds a Ph.D
degree in her specialization and has written a book on the Chola
empire under the title “ The Royal Temple of Raja raja.” Her deep
interest in ancient Indian history made her step into another aspect
of her choice. She established a cultural center “Dakshin Chitra”
fifteen years ago in Chennai to encourage tours to cultural centers.
The life style of the rural folk of the four southern states are
explained and depicted at this center to the tourists. Cultural
programmes and shows are also arranged to educate the tourists. The
tourists are also made to taste the food and dishes which the South
In addition Ms.
Vasudevan opened a new study center. At this center opportunities
are created to pursue any course the inmates want to study. The
needs of the learners in the age group of twenty to eighty are
attended to here. Sources on astronomy, temple architecture,
gardening, art appreciation and the like have been introduced
numbering 21 till now. She feels very happy that her pursuits have
brought her recognition.
AMMI’ FOR ALL
“Though my son lives in a country beyond seven seas I am not
at all alone. There are many here who love me and call me “ammi”.
They are all my children. These are the words of Julee Nakuda.
Behind winning the love and affection of so many children lies the
great efforts of Julee in keeping orphans hale and healthy and
alive. She spends her time in giving shelter and the needed
education to the orphans to enable them to stand on their legs and
lead independent lives.
Julee was born in a muslim family seventy years ago. Girls
were married off in their 13th or 14th year
in their families. Julee also was given away in nmarriage early in
life. Her father who had liberal views, took an assurance from her
in-laws they would give education to her. They kept their word.
Julee did her M.A followed by Ph.D in social work. She did not stop
her education after getting her doctoral degree. She went to and
took a diploma in Social Service Administration from Denvar
University. She had a five-year-old son by then. The International
Union for Child Welfare, which works for children’s development, and
welfare invited her to attend their convention. This invitation
brought about a change in her life. The union proposed that she
should start a branch in India to help the poor children and
orphans. In 1967 she established the India Sponsorship Committee (ISC).
She is still holding the reins as its managing trustee. In the
Mumbai, Poone and Lona centers being run by Julee, more than a
thousand children are studying , enjoying good living facilities.
About five hundred children of these centers are now leading
independent lives having undergone training in professional courses.
About twenty five of them got married and settled in life. Evensince
the establishment of ISC, more than six thousand children of Mumbai
and surrounding areas were extended economic help to pursue their
studies and education. These children were also given counseling in
health care and other aspects.
Julee says that the cooperation extended to her by her
husband in carrying out her duties was of great help. “My husband
studied only upto Matriculation. Yet he gave me a lot of
encouragement in my studies and helped me in my work. He used to
make cuttings of news connected with the meetings I attended and the
photographs published and file them. He used to feel proud of me. If
behind the success of men there were woman, in my case it was a
man,” says Julee with pride. Her husband passed away and her son
settled in foreign countries. Yet she is continuing her work here.
She reads books in her free time which is her pastime. She now
spends time in reading books related to Buddism. Julee says that the
satisfaction one derives from serving manking provides fullest
happiness in life. Her personality reflects he happiness she has
been enjoying in life.
Those who see Aruna
Bikshu, who attracts one’s attention with her heavy build, never
think that she is a dancer, when she is not on the stage. It is also
difficult to imagine that she has the ability to make the spectators
glued to their seats with her performances that run for hours. She
is not just a dancer, a choreographer, a script writer, a researcher
and an instructor are also hidden in her. The dance ballet “Tirumala
through the Ages”, “Venkateswara Vilasam” etc. which she directed
while dancing in them were very well received by the audiences at
the recently held festivities at Tirumala. She could play the role
of the rakahasa, Vrushabhasura with ease. She is a resident of
Hyderabad. Here are few details about this artist par excellence in
her own words.
“Those who are fair
complexioned with big eyes and a supple body alone would be fit to
be dandcers” this statement of dance teachers is a myth. I am big
bodied and suffer from arthritis and hormonal imbalance. But the
moment I stand on the stage I forget about all these ailments. I get
lost in the character I play. Some say that I enact rakshasa roles
as I am big bodied. But as I have the self confidence I can present
them well, I play those roles. As a choreographer, it is I that
express the coyness and shyness of the character of Padmavathi! If
any one has the self confidence and the yearning to continue as an
artist, they can certainly do justice to any role and win the
appreciation of the spectators”
The methods of
dance instruction should change:
The dance teaching
methods should come free from the established tradition. There is
need for the dance teachers to be given orientation training. It is
a mistake to consider classical dance as something sacred that
should not be changed. If dance is brought nearer to the natural
ways of living and connected with things that abound around us and
taught as such. It is easy to learn dancing. It reaches many also.
If this is not done, dance remains static. If one has to enact the
bounds of love between Sri Krishna and Radha between the Lord and
Satyabhama, the dancer should first learn to understand the feelings
of live which the dancer herself possesses within herself. The
children should be given instruction first in understanding the
language of their bodies. Imitating the guru is not dance. The
physical ability and concentration of dancers differ individually.
One should take these aspects into consideration and impart the
training. Importance should also be given on the nutritious food the
In a way it is the
mistake of the presents if girls do not take to dancing as a career.
The parents spend thousands of rupees on children who learn dancing.
When they come of age and begin to know what they want, parents
perform their marriages and leave the future of the girls to the
decision of their husbands. If the husband does not like his wife to
continue dancing, the parents support the husbands thinking without
asking the girls to divide for
Themselves what their preferences are, This situation is very
painful. It is only in recent times that professional dancers and
artists are coming to the fore. I ask the dancers to bring their
children also along. If the dancers think of their children who are
at home how can they concentrate on their work here? I feel it my
duty as a woman to provided them such facilities.
If one entertains the idea of introducing adjustments, many
experiments can be made even in classical dance forms. In olden days
the kings supported art and perhaps that is the reason why today we
do not find regularization in art economy or art management. As a
result artists face many problems in confirming as artists.
I like experimentation. I introduce veera rasa in my dance
ballet ‘Rudrama Kalapam’ in the kucdhipudi style of dancing which
has only srungara and bhakti rasas as the predominant forms. I
planned the ballet on the basis of the three last battles fought by
Rudrama Devi. I conducted research for five years to prepare this
ballet. I worked on a project associating the artists of Chindu
Bhagotham. Some classical artists feel that their art form is the
most superior and that there is nothing to be learnt a lot from the
artists of Chindu Bhagotham. I studied the changes that have taken
place in society and their influence on Kuchipudi dance form and
brought out a dance ballet with the title ‘ Parikatha’. It was a
challenging task to show the result of a study in a dance form
leaving the written form aside.
Myself and Bikshu formulated a play under the title “Four
truths in one sheeth” taking the story of famous Japanese cine
director Akhira Kurasova’s move “Roshaman” as the source. In that
play there will be dance sequences for nearly twelve minutes. I made
the chereograph. This picture of ours bagged three Nandi Awards.
Scripts and choreography will be generally looked after by me and my
husband Bikshu takes care of stage lighting, music etc. We gave
training in acting to the children who acted in the movie “Bala
Ramayanam”. It is we who gave training in acting to the hero and
heroine (Iliana) of the movie “Devadas”. Myself and and my husband
work as a disciplined team when we handle stage plays also.
This school of
Married at the age of 17 years and a tenth class certificate
in her hands----well, this is the position of Smt.Jayalakshmi in
1961.She is from Tudiyalur,Coimbatore District in Tamilnadu. She
continued her education and graduated herself to the level of
setting up an educational institution. Had her achievement ended
here, there is nothing great about that. Everybody is interested in
profit-generating schools. Along with the institution meant for the
normal students, She is managing a school especially for the
mentally and physically challenged kids also. This is also in the
same campus as the original one. This year Tamilnadu Government has
recognized the good work being done by this institution for the
welfare of the physically and mentally challenged. The government
has felicitated Jayalakshmi on Teacher’s day. And now about this
noble teacher working for the students facing many problems----.
After her marriage, Jayalakshmi started working in the play
school near her residence. A Teachers’ training institute was
running this school, basically to train its students. She taught the
kids there for thirteen years. A team from the Ford foundation
visited this school. They appreciated her effort and extended her
financial help for pursuing a four-year degree course in child
psychology and development. After completing this course, she worked
in a home science college for some time. In 1973, she left that job
and with the cooperation of her colleague, Visalakshi Rajagopal, she
had started a new institution ‘vidya Vikasini’.
From 5 to 1,500
Jayalakshmi started this as a nursery school in a rented room
in Coimbatore with five students. Now it is a high school with 1500
students. The school has been since shifted to Tudayalu, near
Coimbatore. Just by the side of this, there is V.V.opportunities
school. They have started this for the physically and mentally
disadvantaged. Even before starting this, 20% of such students were
already there in the original school. However, Jayalakshmy realized
that the atmosphere is not congenial for them to realize their full
potential. The school of opportunities is the result of this
realization. It seems that although She decided to have both these
schools in the same premises, She was rather worried about the
possible adverse reaction from the parents and as to how to face
this contingency. After all this was about 25 years back! No body
was indulging in experiments of this kind. But thanks to the
confidence the parents had in Jayalakshmi, none of the parents
protested. Moreover, some of the students of the original school
with siblings inadequately equipped mentally and physically insisted
and ensured that they were shifted to the new school.
Open school method
Children from not only Coimbatore, but alsofrom places like
Trichur [kerala] joined this school. Jayalakshmi happily recalls the
case of the boy from Trichur, who, after having joined her school,
completed the training successfully and is earning stipend. Her
daughter, Jayanti provided the inspiration for her mother to start a
school for children like this. She has been working since a long
time in the institute of the mentally handicapped in Hyderabad. The
open school method is available in this organization for such
students, who could not complete the syllabi of the central or state
systems. Students who cannot pick up quickly have the facility of
taking up one subject at a time. They can also select such subjects,
which they can absorb quickly. Such facilities are available only in
a few schools in cities. Jayalakshmi made this facility available
for her students.
Training for the instructors---
After the identification of the deficiencies, she is
providing the facilities of counseling for the parents and
physiotherapy etc. for the students, as per their requirements. In
the case of the people interested in training defective students but
are not fully equipped with the necessary expertise, She arranges
training, as per their requirements. In the case of some students
after paying special attention for some time, they are being sent to
the normal school. To teach such students, senior teachers are given
training in bridge courses. Training modules are prepared and sent
to the parents also. Now, many people are coming forward to extend
financial assistance to the mentally handicapped children.
Jayalakshmi however says that what they want is that the government
should come forward to generate employment opportunities for this
category. ‘These people are entitled to get jobs, irrespective of
their physical and mental abilities. They are also citizens of this
country and it is the duty of the government to ensure that they are
not subjected to any discrimination in this regard.’
There is no doubt that jayalakshmi will brighten the lives of
many more such children.
Her name is Ramasubbamma. She is 35. She gets up in the morning and
starts her routine with providing bran for eight She buffalos. Her
daughter is working as ANM. Ramasubbamma arranges tiffin box for her
daughter. Then she joins her mother weaving baskets under the tree
and assists her. If any lady falls sick either in her village or in
the neighboring one, she takes them to the hospital. She takes care
of their deliveries. In the evening again, she is engrossed in her
domestic chores and also takes care of her buffalos. She earns
12500Rs by way of selling milk. As an anganwadi worker, She gets
another 500 Rs. For assisting the government as the torch bearer in
respect of activities pertaining to health, in her capacity as
‘aarogya karadeepika’ an amount of 10000 Rs. is put In her name
as a fixed deposit once in every quinquennium.
Ramasubbamma belongs to the Erukula community. They are always on
the move. Because of this she is not even aware of her birthplace.
Right from her childhood, she has been staying in Vuyyalavada, a
village in Orvakallu mandalam of Kurnool district. Her father,
Naganna sold her to some body else for Rs.12 and a toddy bottle and
that man got her married to Venkatramudu. After taking liquor, her
husband used to indulge in violence. Unable to accept this
situation, She went back to Vuyyalavada along with her baby,
Venkatasubbamma and joined her parents. From then onwards, She would
go the forest and get the leaves of the wild date tree. She used to
feed her parents and her daughter by visiting every house and
getting food from them. As the family did not have any house for
themselves, they were staying in the village choultry in vuyyalavada.
Her father passed away after bite by a dog. From that moment
onwards, it has become her responsibility to take care of her mother
as well as the daughter.
In 1996, the village unity society was in Vuyyalavada. They noticed
Ramasubbamma. They asked her to join the velugubaata and pay
30Rs. every month towards membership. When she told them that She
does not have that much, the members themselves paid the
membership fee for a couple of months [July and August]. From
September onwards, She used to pay the amount herself. For earning
this money, She used to weave baskets. In December of that year,
Baireddy Raja Sekhara Reddy , a member of the legislative assembly
arranged a meeting in Vuyyalavada. She represented to him that she
is put up in the village choultry and she should be allotted a plot
for constructing a house. After one year, the government had
sanctioned a place for her for constructing a house. In the year
1999, the United Nations development project recognized Ramasubbamma
as the poorest among the poor. She was given 20000Rs. on behalf of
the village unity society so that she could be her own employer.
They themselves purchased two buffaloes with that amount. She used
to support her family by selling the yield of milk from the
buffaloes. She started constructing the house in the same year. In
the year 2000, her house became a reality.
Says Ramasubbamma----- ‘Our elders believe that there is a rebirth,
after a person dies. Many people don’t believe this. But I do
believe. Why? For the sake of money, I sold myself. I died several
times. And I was born again. I think this is rebirth for me. Now, no
body uses words such as ‘erukali’, you woman, come here. I am the
secretary of the village unity society. The population of my village
is 4000. I have got my own house. Every body addresses me as
Ramsubbamma Akka’ [elder sister Ramasubbamma].
The village unity society people have noticed Ramasubbamma’s active
and rapid work. They have selected her as ‘Aarogya Deepika’.
She has to look after the deliveries of women. If she comes to know
about women suffering from uterus related diseases, She takes them
to the hospital. She also takes interest in family planning
operations and encourages them to undergo the same. In 2002, she
borrowed money and purchased another 6 buffaloes. She takes care of
the nutritional requirements of all the eight buffaloes, sells milk
and is now earning 12500Rs. She made her daughter an ANM. Her sister
passed away and she has taken up full responsibility in respect of
her late sister’s daughter, Sirisha. At this moment, the value of
Ramasubbamma’s properties is around 2 lacs. However, more valuable
than all this is the confidence she has about her life and her
Courtesy: ‘Andhra Jyoti’
Original article by B.K.Murthy
Translation by B.G.S.Rao
M. A. in Sociology, Ph. D. in
Sociology and M. A. in Police Management.
Father : Sri. Tattwakandar Mishra, Retd. Professor in Philosophy
Mother : Smt. Nirmala Mishra, Social Worker
: Smt. Tadasha Mishra, IPS Officer, Jharkhand Cadre
: Sri. Amrut Mishra, CIB Officer.
Employment : IPS (Regular
Recruitment) 1994 batch, Andhra Pradesh Cadre.
Soumya Mishra Cyberabad Deputy Commissioner
of Police (Crimes)…. Gentle, in keeping with the name…. a combination of
humanity,intellige-nce and ability. She had not bowed her head before
anyone or circumstances.
Fear and deliberation arise only when
something is sought after. I do my job! If my superiors feel like
creating problem the utmost they could do is transfer me. The president
of India gave me this job. I do what satisfies me. I do things that
satisfy me. Said Soumya Mishra when I met her in the Cyberabad Police
Commissionerate situated in Lakdi-Ka-Pool. “How do you do!” I asked her.
“I am always fine” was her smiling reply. As a police officer, as a
representative of the present day youth she appeared full of confidence
Being a woman, more so as a Police Officer, how do you feel in your high
Ans. In my view,
there is no difference between man and woman. I am clear about it. A
woman, without any doubt, is a very able person. It is history that
identified her as a weakling. The natural process of childbearing and
made her a prisoner within four walls. It is a fact that injustice has
been done to women. Women have been looked at from certain limitations.
It is unnatural to consider that women can do well only in certain
fields. In my view, any person can do any job with ability. I felt that
I could get a deserving job as I am an educated person.
Do you mean to say that anyone can do the kind of job you do now?
Ans. Where is the
doubt? Modern household gadgets have made life easy. Educational
facilities have increased. Women are lagging behind because of want of
encouragement and opportunities. I have no misgivings about their
Did you take to studies with the idea of joining the Police Force?
Ans. I have been an
intelligent student from the beginning. I prepared like all others for
the civils. I was married by them. My husband is an I A S Officer. I was
selected for I P S. I did not strive hard for this job with any aim or
How did you feel on the first day when you attended duties in the
Ans. My father and
members of my family felt proud. I am the first lady I P S Officer from
Orissa. It was a proud moment for me when I reported as A C C P,
Vijayawada. I felt it was the right job for my abilities and talents.
Did you face critical situations in a job of such importance as yours?
Ans. The problems
are almost nil. Of course there will be a some pressure as in all jobs.
I am an individual with no special desires. I did not think of amazing
wealth nor do. I crane for extraordinary comforts. I do my job with a
liking for it. I am not afraid of anyone. I am not selfish. I am
fearless person. If anything, I may be transferred. That is all. It is
the President of India appointed me. I give respect to my job and my
profession. I don’t give thought to the problems.
Women are considered to be delicate. Does this job, which gets you
involved with criminals, suit you?
Ans. To tell the
truth, this job is like fire walking. In this profession it is not the
question of men or women. As a matter of fact, there is a special
responsibility involved. Take for example the armed forces. They have
only one target – killing the enemy. There is no second target or
option. In our profession we deal with people and not enemies. We have
to bring about a change in them by punishing them. We should possess the
talent to bring about a change by impressing upon them the need to give
up criminality. I have taken up this task as a challenge.
What types of jobs can women do?
Ans. Women, at any
time, anywhere, are good managers. They are no doubt gentle and
delicate. They are work minded. They are honest. Women possess all the
necessary qualities to run an office or establishment. Observe them.
They think of many things. Take a housewife, she does the cooking,
attends to the children, teaches them attends to the needs of the elders
in the family. She does four different activities almost simultaneously.
It is only women who possess this ability.
What is your openion about yourself?
Ans. I have a
satisfaction about myself. At home and in my profession I work to
satisfy myself. I do not work to satisfy others. I do not work to
satisfy the people or leaders. I carry out my duties in the proper
manner, without fear, without greedy expectations, in keeping with my
What is the message you convey to the girls of these times?
Ans. They are very
intelligent. They have a number of opportunities before them. They have
the encouragement of their parents. But they need correct guidance.
Parents should not stop the studies of their children by the time they
attain twenty years and perform their marriages with boys who are not
employed. Girls should determine that they should get into a job and
stand on their own. The present day girls do have the openings of their
choice. They have to utilize the opportunities with discretion.
Do you enjoy contentment in your married life and official life?
Ans. I have two
children. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am not allotting enough time to
their care. I attend to their needs the moment I reach home from the
office. I try to spend with them whatever free time I can manage to
snatch. I am fulfilling my responsibilities as a working mother to my
satisfaction. I must do justice to my profession. My family life should
be happy. I told you already what a variety a woman is. She can take up
ten different activities at the same time. That is possible only for
women. That is why I too am a managing thing. I am an individual who has
derived a lot of joy. It is my good fortune that I am able to serve the
society as a Police Officer. I am equally fortunate that I lead a
satisfying life as a housewife.
name is Rama Devi, surname being Kanneganti. I am the Founder President
the Association of Ladies Enterpenuears of Andhra Pradesh (ALEAP). ALEAP
is my dream. In the beginning I started a business. I have an industry.
I learnt by personal experience that it was not an easy thing to
establish and maintain an industry. I strongly felt that if there was a
common platform many women could run industries independently. The young
and enthusiastic industrialists need encouragement, training and a
little financial help. As a result ALEAP took shape. It encouraged many
women industrialists. An Industrial Estate for women was established in
Gajularamaram in Andhra Pradesh. I am proud to state that it was
possible because of my efforts. I received many awards like Best
Promotional Award, Best N G O, Best Women of the year etc. But I
consider it a greater award to meet many women every day, at ALEAP,
which reflects my objectives and ambitions and help them in starting an
industry by them selves.
Q. Please tell me a few details about your early
years and education.
I was born in Guntur in a middle class family. I received my Diploma in
Business Management in 1976. My foremost objective was to become an
industrialist. My mother was a reputed social activist. She loved
serving the society. I set foot into social work because of her
Q. How is social service
conducted with Industry?
You see, service is service looked at from any angle. After I
established an industry, I learnt by personal experience how hard it was
to keep it going well. I came to the conclusion that no woman who wished
to start an industry should face the difficulties faced by me. I
realized how difficult it was to manage a firm all-alone. Many women
desire to establish a small unit and run their families. They have
enthusiasm. They work hard. But they need training, they need financial
help. I felt that if there was an association with many members, things
would run smoothly and easily. That was how ALEAP took shape.
Q. Could you achieve your
It is not an imagined achievement. It is being seen physically before
me. ALEAP Industrial Estate, the First Women’s Industrial Estate in
India. Nearly 70 units are functioning in an area of 30 acres. All the
necessary facilities needed for those who wish to establish an industry
are available at the site.
Q. How do these facilities
help the women?
For those who wish to start an industry, technical assistance, training
and research reports are the primary requirements. In the year 2003,
President of India Dr. Kalam, inaugurated the Center for Entrepreneurs
Development (C.E.D). This center makes available the raw material and
the technical know-how related to the industry envisaged.
Q. Is it easy to establish
an industry based on suggestions and exchange of ideas?
It is make matters easy that ALEAP has started the Credit Guarantee
Association. It assures and makes available the loan amount required for
the industry. The Government, the Banks and ALEAP have jointly formed
into an Institution. The Andhra Bank, C.G.T.S., A.C.G.A. have together
established M.C.G.S. with the establishment of this body, the
industrialists can draw a loan up to Rs. 25.0 lakhs without any
collateral security. What more does an industrialist want?
Q. What are the other
activities of ALEAP?
ALEAP is not only functioning in Hyderabad, but has been working in
Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam also. Industrial Estates for Women have
been established in those places also. My aim and ambition is that many
women should stand on their own with the help of ALEAP. By the way,
there is another important aspect. It is not enough if an article is
manufactured. It should be marketed. ALEAP works towards finding such
openings in the area of marketing.
Q. Can you say for certain that an industry has
been a success in any part of the state from your experience?
If the raw material required for the enterprise is available in a
particular place, if the required training to run the industry is
available, if patience and hard determination is also available, any
industry will be a success in any part of the state. We have a plan to
introduce a Unit for every District, depending on the resource. By
collective effort good results could be achieved for further
Q. Do you suggest that every
District should have an Industrial Estate?
It is beneficial if there is a joint forum for women, training
facilities, loans, encouragement, help, advice and suggestions – if all
these are made available, let them be women or men, it is easy to
establish an industry and keep it going well.
Q. Tell me what you think of
I like women. They are my kin and co-workers. They all are hard workers
like me. If we have to safeguard our identity, we have to work harder
than men. The responsibilities of women of today are very great. She has
to labor hard equally on her family and her job. There will be a lot of
pressure on her. Yet she has to work hard. Even if women occupy high
positions in life, there will be an under current of affection and
fellow feeling among them. It is because of this delicate bond and
quality; they are able to play the role of a housewife and a manager
LEELADEVI R. PRASAD, born to illustrious parents late Shri V S Hiremath,
an outstanding IAS officer serving as Deputy Commissioner in the
Districts of Karwar and Dharwad, and late Smt. Gurudevi Hiremath an
ardent and selfless social worker and writer.
She has inherited the
best of both of parents. Born on January 12th 1934, a true
Capricornia exhibiting great zeal and devotion in every sphere of
activities that she has ventured. Studied upto B. A, she took her first
step into the male dominated socio-political arena. At the tender age of
23 she was elected as Councilor of Bangalore City Corporation, which she
served till 1964: a singular achievement indeed!
Later as the first
women secretary of Karnataka State Co-operative Development Board and
Karnataka Branch of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association she did
The year 1995, saw her
as the political administrator, a great culmination of her social
career. She was elected to Karnataka Legislature Assembly from Athani
constituency of Belgaum Dist. Serving with dedication the people of
Athani as their elected representative it was but natural the mantle of
Minister for Primary Education as also information Minister of Short
time should fall on her capable shoulders. She entered the 10th
Vidhana Sabha with the resounding victory from the same constituency in
1994. she was then made the Minister of State for Minor Irrigation in
which capacity she served selflessly and earned laurels for her
Department. Elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1996, she returned to active
state politics and is now Minister of state for Tourism, Kannada and
On the personal front
she has achieved no less. Happily married to well known Advocate and
Notary Shri H S Renuka Prasad, son of late Padmasri Dr. B Shivamurthy
Shastri, a famous name in Kannada literature and Karnataka ex-President
of Kannada Sahitya Parishat. She is blessed with a son and three
LITERARY AND CULTURAL
Hailing from a family
dedicated to Kannada literature a great love and taste for it was
inculcated in her. Having famous scholar and writer Shri B Shivamurthy
Shastri as her father-in-law gave her the unique opportunity to imbibe
the thoughts and writings of great literary figures. She has been
inspired by them to such an extent that she has strived to follow in
their footsteps by contributing drams, essays, novels and articles of
literary merit. She has also been editor of a cultural magazine
‘Pratibha from 1954 to 1958.
Culture has been her
forte. She has been a roving cultural ambassador representing Karnataka
in Australia, Bangkok, Canada, France, Mexico, Singapore, UK and USA.
WORK FOR THE PROGRESS OF WOMEN
Though born and bred in
a traditional manner she has been able to understand the problems faced
by the downtrodden women and empathized with them. She has relentlessly
toiled for their rights and liberation. She is the first leader from
Karnataka who is actively pressing 33 percent representation for women
in the new women’s bill being debated in the Parliament and the State
Smt. Leeladevi R.
Prasad is a multifaceted personality, a rare breed of an active woman
politician totally immersed in the needs, sorrows and joys of the
people. She has participated in every aspect for the progress of the
nation, community and individuals. She is the embodiment of courage and
selfless service ready to face immense challenges and give herself
completely for others.
Service to the Public is Service to God
Harnessing her various
facets as a simple house-wife, caring legislator and tireless minister
she has worked with perseverance to attain her goals. These have been
achieved through discipline, hard work and have taken her to the
pinnacle of success.
Equally at home in the
Kitchen and the Cabinet she has conducted herself with poise, élan and
leadership. She is indeed a woman of outstanding achievements, a dynamic
politician, a happy house-wife, tireless socio-activist, a prolific
writer, a keen gardener; indeed a woman worthy of admiration and
As a Minister for
Primary Education fixed the age limit to kids joining schools; as Minor
Irrigation Minister getting the independent status to Minor Irrigation
and census of tanks in Karnataka. As a Minister of Kannada and Culture.
She started Kittur festival, Kadambothsava Vachana Sangeetothsava at
Ingaleshwara, Basavanna Bagewadi, Ulavi, Uduthadi, District Festivals in
each District, a code of conduct for grants etc.
has done her Graduation in Commercial Pilot Training. She is the
Executive Director of Flytech Aviation Academy. She gives training to
Pilots and Engineers. She is the only woman entrepreneur to run an
Aviation Organization in India’s 20 Academies.
RAVINDRANATH (Chairperson, AP Women Commission)
Qualifications: B A (Political
Science), Osmania University, Diploma in Journalism.
and Social Activities: 1989 – 1994 Ex-MLA of Secunderabad (209)
Assembly Constituency. 1992 – 95 Chairperson (APTS) A. P. Technology
Services Ltd., 1992 – 94 One of the Panel Speakers of the A. P.
Legislative Assembly. 1991 – 94 Member HUDA – Hyderabad Urban
Development Authority, 1990 – 93 Member A P Central Jail Advisory
1988 – 90 Chairperson Y.M.C.A., Secunderabad (The first
only woman in the country to be nominated as President of Y.M.C.A. 1989
When did you enter into politics?
Ans. Even before I got into politics, I was busy as a leader in some
activity other from my college days. But my parents were not giving me
encouragement in my activities. They wanted me to concentrate on my
studies. But I felt that my life was to be spent among people. I got
married immediately after obtaining my degree. My husband is
Ravindranath. Ours is a love marriage. Inter caste marriage too. My
parents were not happy but they did not oppose.
Do women get the required encouragement in politics?
Ans. Of course there
is…up to a particular stage everyone encourages. When it comes to
offering a minister’s post, there excuses are made that a woman finds it
difficult to manage. That an elderly person cannot stand the stress etc.
No one likes a woman to reach that position.
You held many posts, which post gave you satisfaction?
Ans. As the
chairperson of Y.M.C.A. I could realize how many activities could be
taken up by me successfully. I feel social work gives a good opportunity
to be of service.
it not possible to serve the people without being in politics?
Ans. It does not
mean it is not possible. Service means satisfying the needs of people.
If one wants to help people sincerely a political position is of
advantage. Social work in my view is not a time killer. In my opinion,
work is a great asset. I created a position for myself through social
work. I can proudly say that I did a great lot of useful work to the
Christian Community and the people as M. L. A.
Are you happy as the Mahila Commission Chairperson?
Secunderabad seat was allotted to the T. R. S. party I had to sacrifice
my seat. Sonia Gandhi promised to compensate me as soon as the party
comes to power. She kept her word and gave me this post. I have great
regret for that family. They keep their word.
Any message to be given to women?
Ans. Everyone should
cooperate. We on our part, try to introduce new Acts and to amend the
existing Acts. The N. G. O’s also should join in our efforts. If there
is any need for establishing counseling centers, we work for it. Let us
all work together. Everyone desires that all should be happy and
prosperous. Is it not so?
I am a Rajput by birth. Father, mother and
four of us…. An elder brother passed away when he was young. The rest of
us were educated by our parents. My mother used to work hard. In those
days very few took to tailoring. I grew up observing how hard mother
worked. I used to feel that I should give her some rest
take upon myself some of her responsibilities. When I was young I used
to help her at the sewing machine. I used to help her in her daily cores
at home. I wanted to give her happiness. She lives now with me.
If you ask me how I got interested in
Karate, my brother joined the karate classes first. He used to come home
and tell us how great the karate classes were. Under the influence of
his words I too went to the karate classes. But brother stopped
attending the classes with in a month. I did the full course. I am the
first girl in India to have won the Black Belt. I am also the first
examiner. Another girl won the Black Belt under my training. In this
respect too I am the first. I have remained single. I did not marry.
Family conditions, responsibilities…they prevented my marriage. I had
not that chance to marry. I helped my family as I had wished. I am happy
Q. How did you develop
interest in Karate?
Ans. My brother who
took to the classes used to tell us about karate details. His words
whipped up interest in me for karate. I took the classes. Brother gave
up abruptly. I achieved the Black Belt.
Q. In which year?
Ans. I joined
classes in 1981. I won the Black Belt in 1988. In 1999 I got the same
honour the second time. I am the first to achieve among girls. In 1991
international karate competitions were held in Malasia. I received the
higher training there and took part in the competitions. I acted as
Referee-in-charge for many competitions. There is no one in Andhra
Pradesh who enjoys my seniority as Karate Instructor.
Q. Will there be
pressures and side tracking for women in this field?
Ans. By side
tracking we have to mean preventing women are truly not allowed to reach
high places. There is an Association called Karate Budokon Association.
If we want to organize a competition on our own, we have to take the
permission of the Association. I have been asking for permission for the
last five years to organize a national competition. I have not so far
been given the permission. You know that recently karate also was
included at the Olympics. I felt very happy. There is time for seven
years. But it is very difficult to give training for Olympians with that
time. If given an opportunity, I can train children for the Olympics.
Q. For how long have
you been in this field?
Ans. For the last
twenty five years. This art originated from Buddhism and spread to
Lohaina it came to India. There are many
experts here who have won the Black Belt.
Q. what is the
interest of girls regarding karate?
Ans. The situation
is a little disappointing. More members of boys learning karate compared
to girls. Take for example Judo. Even the strongest man can be made to
fall in Judo. But in karate there are many techniques. Karate helps
girls as an armour to save themselves from dangers. But their parents do
not encourage them. I ran a member of classes in many women’s colleges.
They don’t see like girls at all. I came to a decision that I should
conduct training in only women’s colleges. I identified some colleges
and spoke to the principals. I am going to offer training to girls in
those colleges. I told the principals that if the girls come to me I
will give them training. I waited for many years. They did not come to
me. So I decided to go to them.
Q. how many hours do
you spend in training hours?
Ans. At least eight
Q. Are you happy with
Ans. I like my
profession greatly. Among the boys that took training, thirty five won
the Black Belt. Among the girls fifteen. There are software engineers
also among them. I am happy with this profession.
Q. why did you not marry?
conditions. There was need for me to earn for the family. My mother
toiled hard. I must help my sisters. My sister’s husband passed away. I
had to go to her rescue. I worked for the welfare of our family. I did
not think of marriage. I did not get an opportunity too. I have many
responsibilities. My mother used to feel anxious about me. I told her
that I was not working for strangers, but for my sisters, brothers and
mother. She got reconciled. If I had married, I would have grown
selfish. Now, I do not have any such feelings. I am independent. So I
could be of help to my people.
Q. could you achieve
in your life what all you desired?
Ans. To some extent
I could achieve what I desired. I trained many…..some thousands of
students….I feel highly satisfied and happy when they talk to me….that I
achieved something in life. My aim is to give training to a member of
girls. I must get recognition to karate that helps me to attain this
position….. Everyone should encourage karate.
I was born in Kaluri (Kerala) on the
afternoon of 9th October at 2.07 pm as said my mother. My
father named ma Manjula without consulting anyone. My
mother’s name is Sathya Bai and she is a Malayalee. My father Prabhakar
Rao is Telugu. After me two sisters were born they are Bindu and Sarada.
Bindu is well known as Bindu Naidu, and Sarada is a Software Engineer.
Three of us spent our childhood in harmony, till date we are the same.
Bindu gives me a lot of support in all matters.
I had great interest towards Fine Arts from
my childhood. When I was in school and college, I participated in dance
and dramas. I had a habit of writing short poems in English. I
even used to draw pictures. When I was in 7th standard
imitating the pictures of Vaddadi Papayya’s. I used to stayback at home
saying I got stomachache drawing pictures
being absent from the school. That
is the way I used to spent my leisure.
Marriages were conducted at a very early age
in those days. Hence, I got married at the age of 18. My husband name is
Sudhakar. I completed my graduation, my first son Sreekanth was born.
Then, later we had a second son Sasank.
The reason for me to have such strong values
in my life is my parents. They handed the situations very gracefully and
in a dignified manner. I admire them. I also long to be a good parent
My marriage is a life support for me once in
all way. My husband is not only my partner, but is also a friend, guide,
and business partner. As both of us are strong individuals, sometimes
ego clashes do occur. But as we had made vows during marriage, we
usually discuss problems and sort them out.
Now my married life is 25 years. We know how
to behave with each other and never trespassing at other’s
As my husband is in creative field. My in
born talent and passion for creativity pulled me into this field. I
learnt more from him. He always praises me saying, I am better than him,
“a disciple better than the teacher” that gives me a lot of happiness.
As a woman, I highlight women’s problems in
my T V serials, like “AAGAMANAM”, “RUTHURAGALU”, CHAKRAVAKAM” and “KASTURI”.
“Artists are builders of Society”, a statement by a writer and that
gives me a lot of inspiration. The entire program that are produced on T
V by me are viewed by many lakhs of people and they are influenced. This
awareness is an under current for me. Although sometimes I faced dark
covers in my life. I never thought of leaving my field. In happiness,
and in sorrow, this creativity is my outlet.
My advice for the youth-man’s conscience is
God, with that in mind, anything can be done, either creativity or
born in a traditional family in 1924 in a village called Potharalanka in
Guntur District. My father was a reputed lawyer. In the days when girls
were not sent to school, he made me study up to fifth class. My marriage
was performed when I was ten years old. My husband was sixteen years old
then. To overcome the problem of Child Marriage Act, we were taken to a
Telangana District in the Nizam State where the above act was not in
force for our marriage. I was sent back to my parents much against the
prevailing custom, as I was very young. I took the opportunity to study
up to seventh class. At the age of twenty-three I was a mother of five
children. My husband Sri Rama Murthy, had broad views. He took the bold
decision to implement family planning for me by spending hundred rupees
for the purpose.
I was fond of studies from my childhood.
When my children grew up. I took up studies again and took my B. A.
Degree in my thirty-sixth years. When we were living in Bapatla my
husband asked me whether I was interested in taking a course in family
planning. I jumped at the idea and completed the one-year course with a
stipend of a thousand rupees. I used to put questions to the learned
professors in my broken English. During this period I set aside old
world traditions like untouchability, rituals and observing isolated
distance during menses and worshipping fake swamijis (They call
themselves modern saints) one day my mother-in-law asked me to go to
Swamiji at 10’ O clock.
“Do what ever he likes, give him whatever he
I went to Swamiji’s room. He told me he
wants my body; I was shocked and ran away from his room. I was yelling
about the Swami, and calling him by names. My mother-in-law is afraid
not for me but about Swamiji, because he may curse my family. But my
husband came, and knew the truth, and asked the Swamiji to get out of my
house. Those are the days, we would taught silently about these things.
From my childhood, I am not afraid of men. God gave me loud mouth. I
made it practice, to scare them with my
After completing the family planning course,
I took a job as District Educational Organiser in Guntur and toured the
District enthusiasing and encouraging people to develop awareness about
health and education.
We started a paper called “Vikasam” in
Vijayawada. During the emergency my husband was jailed. After his
release we left for Hyderabad. Education, agitation and organization
were my objectives. We started a paper called “Women’s Freedom”
established family counseling centers and performed thousands of F. P.
My husband supported me whole-heartedly in
all my activities. Our wedded life ran for sixty years. I feel I am not
just a wife, a mother and a householder but a force, a power I am a
woman of deep determination and live beyond all bonds. I am now eighty
two year old. I dedicated my life to serve the society.
The society has grown selfish and rotten
now. Corruption, trickery and bribery rule the country. This situation
makes me feel sad and pained. I have done very little to the society.
The condition of women has shown an improvement of only ten percent
compared to the past. The present day women are idlers. They spend time
before the T. V. sets, visit movies and indulge in gossip but do not try
to realize where they stand in the society. It is women who have been
encouraging man’s superiority. Their condition will not change until
they change themselves.