I hope this story reaches you about a girl who is striving hard to build a bright future. Don’t worry; her vision of a bright future doesn't involve reaching for the stars. Instead, she aspires to become a teacher with permanent roof over her head.
Born in a village on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, she is the third of four children her mother had before her passing. Life without a mother is challenging, and hers was made even more difficult as she narrowly escaped the grim fate of female infanticide—a testament, perhaps, to a Greater Power looking out for her.
Her father remarried, hoping to provide a caring mother for his four children, the youngest being three while the girl of our story was just four years old. Unfortunately, the new mother was far from caring and kind. She imposed domestic duties on the girl, teaching her to cook, clean, and manage chores all that she had to do before going to school each day. The little girl's attempts to focus on studies were met with harsh consequences, including pouring water on her books when she wished to study in the morning hours.
Upon reaching the seventh grade, she encountered a real threat to her education. Her stepmother insisted on her marriage. Fortunately, her father managed to convince her to allow the girl to continue her studies until she completed the tenth grade. However, after her success in the 10th board exams, her new mother repeated her previous demand. Her teacher stepped in, visiting her house and spending a day convincing her parents to let her study for two more years. With 80% in her 10th boards and a scholarship to fund her further studies, she was permitted to continue.
As the two additional years concluded, she wanted to join a government degree college to pursue higher education. However, her new mother presented her with two choices: stay at home or get married and leave. While the pressure at home had only increased in years, her desire to learn and teach had grown stronger each year. She hence chose the thrid option her new mother had not offered, of pursuing education. This choice infuriated her mother, leading to extreme measures such as locking the girl in a room without food.
The intervention of neighbors allowed her to continue her studies secretly at a degree college on the outskirts of Bangalore, which was now not far from village where the family had moved to. But her mother eventually discovered these aspirations. This led to severe beatings and the confiscation of all her documents. The village panchayat intervened, forcing the mother to return the documents. Humiliated, the mother forced the girl to leave home with only the belongings she held at the moment on her back and with the documents she had fought for. Her teacher stepped forward and enrolled her in a government hostel. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the hostel's closure.
She moved from one temporary arrangement to another, finding brief stays with friends and teachers. A compassionate relative eventually offered to host her, this caused her to seek a transfer to Vijaynagar degree college in Bangalore. After a while she moved to an ashram recommended by her teacher. She thankfully got financial assistance for her M.A in Kannada from the Ashram, but sadly the Ashram policies also necessitated her to move yet again.
Now residing in a hostel, she is completing her M.A., with the hope of securing a permanent teaching position afterward. Her ultimate aspiration is to pursue a doctorate in Kannada Literature while having a stable home.
I hope this story reached you, I hope Mahadevi's (Name of the bright girl) of our story reached you. I hope you recognize the force of Goddess Saraswati behind her, the strength that knowledge provides, and the hope it instills for a brighter future. We often, casually refer to knowledge as life's true wealth, but it's crucial to realize that it's a blessing. I hope this story serves as a reminder of how fortunate you are to have access to such knowledge and the comforts of family. I urge you to share this blessing with others in society who may not be as fortunate. Let us build a society where no one feels homeless or unsupported on their journey for knowledge and in their journey for a brighter future.
To all the days we have spent,
Worrying about the little things,
I met a girl yesterday,
Who made it all seem fade away
She came in,
With so much light and hope,
That she lifted our spirits,
As she walked in…
She came from a life of hardships,
Fighting for not for her existence,
But for the existence of her education..
A girl who has chosen education each step of her away…
Shunned away from the family
For her passion for education…
Supported by teachers,
Like the ones she aspires to be…
I met a girl yesterday,
Who is blessed by Maa Saraswati,
Who is named Mahadevi,
Who is true example,
of knowledge being the true wealth…