Monday, 19 March 2018

Woman Who Inspires Me by Latha Ramanan

(Photo courtesy: Internet)

Woman Who Inspires Me

One of the strong women, apart from my mother - the first role model, I admire and has influenced my career choices and way of living is Medha Patkar. An alumni of TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences),  a professional social-worker who left her comforts and scholastic life to the cause of slum dwellers, unorganized labourers, street hawkers, forest dwellers and thousands of villagers who live around river Narmada. She could have lived a carefree  family life with her doctorate in hand, instead she chose to live for and with the villagers, discontinuing her PhD studies. She used her studies to bring social justice to the unorganized masses. Many times when Medha Patkar fought for social and environmental causes she would be seen as an enemy by the government or the people with power and had risked her life to bring about changes in policies to accommodate rights of  the affected communities.  

Whenever I think of higher studies I would remember people like her and that unless it would offer skills to serve society I will not take up any study. Her life has been an inspiration for me to take up social causes and be the agent of social change while being content with a simple living.  When I worked in social projects where I had to reach out to rural communities  by walking miles through unknown places I would remember her months long walks through villages in her social justice campaigns. Somehow a new spirit of joy and motivation fills me up and a courage to engage in selfless work in the role of a social change agent.Over the years, I have mellowed to look within and to work silently as a social change agent, without any titles.  The spark kindled by strong personalities like her and from my own family still lives in me, as strong as ember - an ash covered red-hot charcoal that looks like put-out fire externally yet ready to ignite whenever it is required. A strong warrior fights  relentlessly and courageously for silent masses until justice is done to them!I dedicate this article to the warrior in Medha Patkar who is still  fighting for the rights of rural people for the last 30 years plus.


(Written for a voluntary agency for Woman's Day, on the same title,"Woman Who Inspires You")