India is the second most populous country in the world and the gap in its rural and urban distribution is vast, making it difficult for people coming from different classes to adjust with each other. According to Registrar General of India, the rural and urban distribution today is 68.84 per cent and 31.16 per cent, respectively.
While their contribution in scripting India’s growth story is immense, the rural populace continues to be deprived of their rights. Yet, there is another side of the picture that fills us with optimism and inspiration. A series of success stories of women crossing all societal barriers have empowered many to lead a life full of love and respect.
On the occasion of 71st Independence Day, India TV brings to you five stories of rural Indian women achieving the impossible:
Dalimi Patgiri (Assam)
Dalmi Patgiri, who hails from interior Assam, overcame the hurdles of poverty to prove her merit. Once a poor housewife, she broke through the shackles of poverty by making utensils that use arecanut sheets for raw materials, thus creating a success story that inspired many others to take risk in their life and lead an independent life.
Kalpana Saroj (Maharashtra)
There was a time when Saroj was forced to work for Rs 2 per day. But today, she runs a $100 million empire in Mumbai. A Dalit by birth, Saroj was the eldest daughter of a Maharashtra police constable in Akola. She lived in a small chawl with her parents and five siblings. Saroj, who was married at 12, had to suffer torture from her husband’s family. After being rescued by her father, she started working in a garment factory and later started a tailoring business and then a furniture store. Eventually, she joined the league of successful women entrepreneurs. Described as the original 'Slumdog Millionaire' , this amazing lady was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2013.
Women behind ‘Lijjat Papad’
Today ‘Lijjat Papad’ is a highly popular brand not only among Indians but overseas as well. But few know that Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, popularly known as Lijjat, was an initiative of a group of seven Gujarati women. Started in the year 1959 with a seed capital of just Rs 80, Lijjat has an annual turnover of around Rs 6.50 billion in 2010, with Rs 290 million in exports. The organisation's main objective is women’s empowerment by providing them employment opportunities. As per statistics, the group, headquartered in Mumbai, has 81 branches and 27 divisions all over India and today provides employment to around 43,000 people.
Nauroti Devi (Rajasthan)
A Dalit by birth, Nauroti’s journey from a stone-cutter to a computer-educated Sarpanch is remarkable in itself. Nauroti was in Harmada village in Kishangarh Tehsil in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. She never attended school nor receive any formal degree. However, she began a new chapter in her life when she decided join a six-month-long literacy training programme. With her quick learning skills, she gained everything a leader requires in his/her public life and made to the election to the Sarpanch of Harmada in 2010.
As a Sarpanch, Nauroti in her five-year stint, dedicated herself completely to promoting development in the region and fought against the alcohol mafia and worked tirelessly for the construction of water bodies, toilets and houses and other facilities.
D Jyothi Reddy (Warangal, Telangana)
Jyothi’s success story from being a farm labourer to becoming a CEO of million dollar company is very inspiring. Born to farm labourers in Warangal, Jyothi was thrown into an orphanage by her parents due to poverty. When Jyothi was just 16, she was married to a man who was 10 years elder to her. She was forced to work as an agricultural labourer for Rs 5 per day before becoming a school teacher and then doing courses to get into the US. She achieved this feat in a span of just 12 years. With two daughters by the age of 18, Jyothi is today actively involved in charitable endeavours, serving rural India.