Latehar: Anu Kumari became the first person in Uchwawal village in Jharkhand’s Latehar district to clear the matriculation examination conducted by the Jharkhand Academic Council.
Uchwawal village, mostly inhabited by the Parahiya tribes — one of the 12 primitive tribes groups (PTGs) in Jharkhand — is 130km northwest of the state capital Ranchi in Manika block of Latehar district.
Eighteen-year-old Anu’s success brought cheer to her father Chalitar Parahiya, 42, who had shown courage to let his daughter pursue studies against the tribe’s practice of marrying off the daughters at an early age.
None of the girls from the village had ever appeared for the board examination earlier, though boys had tried but failed.
Members of the Parahiya tribe mostly reside deep inside forests and depend on forest produce to support their livelihood.
“Despite remaining on the government’s focus for long, the socio-economic condition of this community is far from satisfactory,” said Raghupal Singh, a tribal leader and former zilla parishd member from Manika.
Anu, too, belonged to a very poor family. Her father, who did not have any formal education, worked as a daily-wage earner, and raised his four children after his wife passed away when Anu was only two months old.
The other three children had dropped out of schools. Anu attributes her success to her father’s encouragement and the support she got from a local para-teacher Krishna Kumar Ram.
“Besides my father, Ram Sir played a very important role in my success. He not only persuaded my father to support me but also got me inducted into the local girls’ residential school after passing class five. I owe a lot to him,” pointed out Anu.
She hopes to become a government servant. “I want to become an (administrative) officer.”
Her father said: “She insisted on studying against the established norms and now the result is before all to see. I hope, she will scale new heights.”
The para-teacher Krishna Kumar Ram said, “It was really difficult to persuade Anu to join the residential school initially. She hated to study like most of the village children. But once she agreed, she put in great efforts.”
Ram further said that the members of this community mostly get their daughters married off at an early age in order to fulfil their social responsibilities and boys like their fathers do petty jobs or mostly remain idle, as a result girls never got an opportunity to complete their schooling.