Basanti : a role model for tribal women in Rajasthan
"When I started teaching, they were only five girls in our village school. Now over 300 girls have passed up to middle school or class 8th. Currently, of the 108 students enrolled in our school, 53 are girls", said Basanti.
Basanti Devi, 43 years old, a tribal Rajasthani woman is a school teacher. For 20 years, she has been teaching children in a school in Rajasthan’s Pali district’s Thandi Beri village.
She studied till 5th standard and was married to Hakma Ram, at the early age of 13th. Despite her education till 5th standard, when she got married, Basanti was the most educated woman in the village. Against all odd, Basanti’s husband was in the favour of her studying further.
” Luckily, a few years after my marriage, the state’s Social Welfare Department began a Shiksha Karmi Yojana under which people who had studied till 5th standard could become teachers in the tribal area. I got a chance to teach in our village school”, recounted Basanti.
In 2000, she was earning a good amount of Rs 600 per month.
Sharing her experience of how this money helped her to overcome her family’s opposition to her job, Basanti said, ” When I got my first salary, I gave the entire amount to my mother-in-law. She had never received so much money in her life. Since then she never opposed my becoming a teacher”.
Basanti first completed her 8th standard exam and later passed the 10th standard exam. Her determination to study further paved the way to clear her12th standard and then she enrolled in a private college for her bachelor degree. Eventually, she got a certificate of STC, which was equivalent to a B.Ed degree.
“When I started teaching, they were only five girls in our village school. Now over 300 girls have passed up to middle school or class 8th. Currently, of the 108 students enrolled in our school, 53 are girls” she said.
Basanti has been working with a mission to encourage the women that they should be able to read or write at least, besides her noble teaching profession.
“Till about a decade ago, the condition of girls and women was miserable. Many men would have 3-4 wives and girls were largely helpless. Basanti has given new inspiration to thousands of girls. The results are visible: most tribal girls and their mother’s study and at times resist social evils that cripple their lives,” said Nathu Singh, a local activist and a journalist.