And I stopped taking my education for granted!

Hello everyone, this is my first post on Jagruti. In my own life, short and therefore lacking in experience though it is, I've come across quite a lot of issues ranging from domestic violence, incest, obstacles to woman's education and career, dowry deaths, suicide, ragging etc and a host of other social evils that has bothered me or the people I know, friends and family. These are not stories that I read about in newspapers, but the truths in many modern and supposedly civilized homes. While growing up, I used to hear or witness these horrid stories and wonder what brings about the savage beast in man which leads him to commit such crimes.And most of the times, I regret to admit, I couldn't do much but remain a mute spectator because my family didn't want to get into any mess. I'm just 23 years old, and I've seen the worst kind of men possible. But I still think that the world is a beautiful place, and there's still lot of hope. I'm a medical student and while working in the hospital, I've encountered people from all sections of the society and their plight made me realize how vast the range of human suffering was. Seeing a woman lose her husband in a bomb blast, but still keeping strong to care for her injured child and many similar instances sure made me sad but most importantly brought me to marvel at the resilience of the human spirit, the ability to move on despite hardships. Hearing about is different, witnessing first hand the pain people go through every day changed my whole perspective of life. All of a sudden, missing a class picnic wasn't the reason to sulk for a day! There are things far more important than that going on. We all have faced tough stuff in our lives, and few stumble and take along time to recover, while the rest recover soon, and few never recover. All I want to do through this platform is share my experiences, what have I seen...and if it strikes a chord with anyone suffering from a similar problem and help them realize they are not alone and recover faster...I would feel I have made up for years of being a mute spectator. I also hope to create awareness among the rest of the people, so that they can help someone in need.

Today I want to talk about a 30 year old girl, M. She's from a village in Bokakhat, Assam and a distant relative of mine. Her father is a farmer and the responsibility of supporting a huge family has been a huge financial burden on him always. They are 4 daughters, and 3 sons one of whom died in childhood. M had always been academically inclined despite the hardships in her family. She resolved to study and get a good job and not get married at 14 like her elder sisters. Her parents were reluctant about her studying further than 8th standard, but her two elder brothers had always been supportive. The eldest brother, used to work in the farms in the morning, attend college during the day, and sell vegetables in the evening. And M started giving tuition classes at the age of 13! While growing up, they didn't have electricity in their village and couldn't even afford notebooks to write on what was taught in school. She passed her matriculation exams without writing a school note, and relied on her memorizing whatever the teacher taught!!

The elder brother got a scholarship and went off to study in Chennai. The second brother dropped out of college to sell vegetables and support the family. M told her parents of her decision to go to the capital of Assam to pursue her higher studies after her 12th board exams. They refused saying it was too expensive and she lost a year of studies. She didn't sulk at her misfortune. Instead she worked doubly hard, and within a year gathered enough money to fund her education for the first year of B.A in Guwahati University. She worked part time and managed to fund her education and also send some money home each month. It was then, in 2001 that I first met her. I didn't even know she was a part of our extended family. She used to come over to our home on weekends from her university hostel, and I got to know her better. I was astonished at the hardships she suffered while growing up and ashamed at myself for neglecting my studies at times. I got the best of educational facilities, and took it for granted, never even gave it a thought how almost 2/3rd of the population of India who live in villages, struggle day and night to get a good education. That was a turning point in my life, and I took an extra interest in my studies rather than mugging up before exams.

M has now completed her M.Phil degree and her elder brother is a professor at a reputed college by now. She too is trying to get a teaching job at college, but their is dirty politics involved and despite good grades she hadn't been able to secure a job. Jobs are being given in the college at her hometown, on the basis of how much money the candidates can give!! The man who is responsible for recruitment of new professors, straight away told her that the rates start at 3 lakhs and go up to 6 lakhs!!! She can never afford that money and as much as I know her, would never resort to bribing to secure a job. She has again taken up tuition while she's looking for a job. I feel so sad that with her qualifications, and sincerity, and ability to work hard...a person so capable...a person who has struggled all her life to study hard and get a good teaching stuck due to selfish bureaucrat officials who even today hampers the progress of deserving youths and go unpunished. What should be the action taken to bring justice to individuals like M?

-Quirky Mon.
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