Dalit woman Sarpanch teaches computers to villagers

Nauroti is a 70 year old dalit women from Harmada village in Kishangarh Tehsil in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. She looks very ordinary with a normal sari and walks barefoot but once she talks with us, we can understand she is no ordinary woman. She was a stone cutter working on a road construction site when she was refused to be paid minimum wage. She mobilised the labourers and successfully waged a battle against them three decades ago.

Image courtesy : The Hindu

                      It was in the early 1980s that she joined the barefoot college in Tilonia founded by Bunker Roy. What made her stand apart from other women was her boldness, her ability to learn fast and above all the leadership qualities she displayed when she mobilised the construction workers. She became a sathin for women’s empowerment and would travel to villages in the region and educate them about their rights. She also joined adult literacy classes and later learnt to work on computers. Later, she trained many other women who had never gone to school like her. She has also had the chance to go to the US and China

             She is popularly known for overcoming the domination of Jat community in their village. The entire village remembers her for the service activities like construction of water bodies, hand pumps, toilets, houses for those below poverty line. A burial ground which is being used as dump yard has been restored and fenced to stop encroachment. She initiated the construction of Primary Heath center which is long pending. She finished her five year term leaving a surplus of Rs 13 lakh in the panchayat account.

              She has been an active member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan from 1981 and participated in the right to information campaign in Rajasthan. It is this campaign that laid the foundation for the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed by the Union government in 2005.

               Her story is well known across borders and she has visited China, Germany and the USA among others and is scheduled to travel to Pakistan soon. She reads Hindi newspapers everyday and even logs onto the Internet.

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