SILENT HEROES. Hear Their Voices
- IWB Post
- March 7, 2014
I was struggling to find a quote to kick-start this post when I suddenly remembered this and I was lucky enough to find just what I was looking for. This is from a show I was watching early last month called ‘Political Animals’ and the character I am referring to is Elaine Barrish Hammond whose passion reflects in her endeavors be it to change the way the world works or be the daughter, wife and mother her family wants her to be.
“Most of life is hell. It’s filled with failure and loss. People disappoint you. Dreams don’t work out. Hearts get broken and the best moments of life, when everything comes together are few and fleeting. But you’ll never get to the next great moment if you don’t keep going. So, that’s what I do. I keep going.” – Elaine Barrish Hammond
So, hey! I am Anjali and I work for an NGO called Bodh Shiksha Samiti. I have been working and staying in Jaipur for over a year and I have had the fortune to meet some women who have taught me the true meaning of struggle and endurance. These are women who have had life go hard for them from the moment they were born and their willingness to still keep fighting needs to be saluted and I take this platform to introduce these heroes.
I would like to talk about two such heroes, one of whom I have known personally for over 6 months. Her name is Premji and without her, half the college kids and residents at SFS Colony would be wearing crumpled clothes. The other woman is someone who I met by chance as I was walking through the streets of Ramganj this morning. She makes and sells bangles for a living.
Premji is a sweet, cheerful woman who has been working in SFS Colony for the past 25 years. Hailing from Tonk District, she got married at the young age of 16 and moved to this area in order to help her husband make ends meet. Her husband is an auto-driver and as much as he earns, there has never been enough to feed, clothe and put 3 children through school and college.
When asked whether she had been to school, she smiled shyly saying that she went for two years but didn’t like school so stopped going. She quickly added that she learnt enough to keep track of the clothes she irons and the cost of doing the same. As she spoke about her situation which brought her to start earning, she made it a point to add that her husband lets her work because there is no other way to put their 3 kids to school. Her eldest daughter, Neetu is doing her IInd year in the college; the second daughter, Ritu is doing her Ist year in the college and her youngest son, Aman is currently studying in the 9th standard in a public school.
“I will never let my children make the same mistake I did and I want them to have the best life which my husband and I never had,” she said as she spoke about them with glowing pride in her eyes. Her three children are the apples of her eyes and they help her with ironing when they are done with their school and college work. Aman cycles to all the houses to collect and drop off clothes after he comes back from school. He is a big support to his mother.
“My eldest daughter is a little weak in academics and I worry about her but the other two are good,” she said when asked about her children’s education.
Her supportive in-laws are an added bonus to her as they are happy that she is able to contribute enough to help their son out in raising their family. The husband and wife have worked together as a team in creating a cohesive unit and even saved enough money to build themselves a home.
When asked what she dreamt of for herself in the future, she teared up as she said… “I want my children to be able to stand on their own feet one day. I want my daughters to get married to boys who have good jobs. I want my son to get a government job. Nothing will make me happier than seeing my 3 children settled in life.”
For many of us, the currency of happiness is a little more than money, while for a woman like Premji, living in a constrained world, her children are her only treasure and their happiness remains the measure of her own. It is admirable, the strength a child at the age of 16 showed to raise a family and do her part in making that dream of never letting her children go through anything similar, a reality.
About Gussana Gauri
Gussana Gauri hails from a poverty stricken family of 8 siblings in Chand Pol. Their family was so poor that they started working as soon as they learnt to walk. They used to polish gems and stick them onto bangles when she was a child. She spoke about days when they would go without food, what with so many mouths to feed. She attended school for a few years and then got married at the age of 8, moving to Ramganj. They faced more hardships while they stayed there and one fine day, decided to help her husband. She has been making bangles with her husband for the past 8 years.
She has two children, a girl, Shabnam who is currently studying in the 10th standard and a son, Mubarik who is currently studying in the 11th standard and is married and has a 2 year old child. She pointed to her house cum workshop and said that it was their family home; adding that her dream is to have a nice big house of their own.
“All my life, I have worked for my children. We have suffered so much and I don’t want them to suffer the way we did. I never got educated but I want them to have a fine education which is why I wanted them to go to school. A lady’s life is always filled with troubles but I have worked hard, keeping my children in mind.”
When things got tough, this woman showed the strength to move mountains with her limited knowledge and means. She has worked along with her husband to raise a family and kept the promise she made to herself… to never let her children suffer the way she did.
A Message to share with you!
There are so many women around us who have sacrificed their own happiness and faced so much hardship for their families despite having husbands to support them. Kudos to these women!! It is not often that we come across such women who have fought against the odds to get what they want in their spheres of life. We salute you, dear silent heroes and hope that your acts will never go unnoticed!!
By Anjali Mariam Paul,