Tribes and castes have always been a burning topic in India. The Valmiki community has been exploited for decades and has received no serious attention from political parties. In some states of India, the community is still raising its voice for the inclusion of Valmiki community in the Scheduled Tribes list.
The community represents a large chunk of Scheduled Tribe population in Karnataka as well as in the national capital region Delhi.
Belonging to this tribe has always been a challenge. For my family and myself, to exist in the society with some social status was difficult even though the educated persons of the community held positions of respect in our locality and community.
Born to a family of five girls, we were blessed to have broadminded parents. Both our parents were teachers. Our father had even won the President’s award for the best teacher and had inspired many dropouts in our village to continue their education. He used to keep a portion of his salary for this purpose. Many such students who took the benefits of my father’s emotional and financial support are now in reputed posts. Thanks to his insistence, all the five sisters are highly educated and are holding various respectable offices. He inspires us to use the power of education to excel further in life and to follow our dreams.
Education has given me the awareness to proudly talk about my tribal background and also to tell that world that I’m the descendants of ‘Maharishi Valmiki’.
Valmiki, the revered ‘Adi Kavi’ (the first poet) who wrote the epic Ramayana, was once a dacoit. He showed the importance and significance of knowledge that we gain from education. This has always inspired me and my thoughts. I believe that the power of education is the most influential factor that can change anything in the world.
I have always seen education bringing about changes in all instances. Once it happened in our village that a girl from our community was awarded PhD, it was a thing of joy to see all the people celebrating the occasion as if it was they themselves had acquired doctorate. Everyone showered her with praises over her achievement . This was a change that happened only because she was educated. No marriage, no family could bring such a change in her position in the minds of the people. It is education alone that elevated her life.
For me, education is the core element that I derived from my ancestors and my tribe. Education and knowledge are those invaluable jewels that could fill your life with rich thoughts. If I could bring about any changes to the society today, it is only because of Education. Right to Education irrespective of caste, creed, religion and sex is the basic change that we can bring in the society. Let us stand together to make this world a better place.
I believe education is one thing which no one can take away from us and will be with us even in our graves.