Sangeeta Rawat: I am the 1st woman in my village to study & make a career in banking
- IWB Post
- May 26, 2015
When we asked Sangeeta Rawat to catch-up, she said: ‘I have no story to share and inspire your readers’. We still, adamantly, went to her place before she leaves for work and told her: ‘Every person in the world has a mission to fulfill. Let’s talk and explore yours.’
JWB: Talk about yourself.
Sangeeta: I belong to Haryana, but have studied in Jaipur and Delhi. I am from a ‘gurjar’ family, where girls are not ‘allowed’ to study or go out. I am the 1st one to do so.
JWB: Whoa, and you said you have nothing to inspire! This is what exactly what JWB looks for. Go on, please.
Sangeeta (laughs): So yes, I am the 1st one in my village. I was a bad student and scored really less in 8th grade. My relatives told my father to get me married. I got scared and started studying diligently, ha-ha.
JWB: What a motivation! Else you would have been married by now…
Sangeeta: …with many kids on my lap already! My village, and many other interior areas of Haryana, still follows the custom of child marriages. I have witnessed many such events and believe me, it’s disturbing. In such cases, it doesn’t matter if the child has yet to turn 18 or is just a few months old.
JWB: When you decided to move out for higher studies, who supported you?
Sangeeta: It was my parents, especially my father. When my uncles told him that he was committing a grand mistake by sending me to Jaipur, he clearly told them: ‘She is my daughter, and it’s me who has the right to decide’. I was glad he stood by me.
JWB: What happened next?
Sangeeta: Oh, then I did my graduation. Later I went to Delhi for my MBA and got placed in Oriental Bank of Commerce.
JWB: You are inspiring, Sangeeta.
Sangeeta: I am happy, actually very happy. Today when I go back to my village, people greet me with folding hands. My name is printed on village’s wedding cards along with my position, representing nobility. They call me ‘Madame’ and give my example to other young girls. Many of whom take guidance from me on how to prepare themselves for a respectable bank job. I feel so happy about all this.
But there is a lot that is yet to get changed. If I have got people who praise me, I have also got critics. I want to make a difference and I know it will take time. Though slow, I have started to make an impact.
JWB: You are a heroine.
Sangeeta (laughs): On that note, people say I have got features similar to Sophie Choudry, the songstress.
JWB: Oh yes!
Sangeeta: I am just kidding.
JWB: So how’s life in Jaipur, at work?
Sangeeta: It’s very nice, and I have evolved with it. I remember wearing trousers and shirt on my 1st day at work while every other woman was in salwar-kameez. My father was accompanying me and he said, ‘Beta, I think you’ll have to change your dressing style’. However, in a month, others too stared wearing western formal wear. Similar thing happened on one Friday – the casual working day. I went wearing a tee-shirt and denims when one of the elderly employees said, ‘Yeh sab nahi pehen sakte’ (you can’t wear all this). I told him it’s a casual Friday, and tee-shirt is a casual wear. I even asked him for a written rule that says I can’t wear it. After that, there wasn’t any argument.
JWB: Any dream?
Sangeeta: I want to travel and do all sorts of adventurous sports. For now, I am happy in my place.
So this was Sangeeta Rawat, Manager at the Oriental Bank of Commerce. Inspired? Let her know! Write your views in the comments below!
Photographer: Shashank K Tyagi