When we say ‘empowered woman,’ our mind flashes image of a woman in corporate clothes, cell phone in hand and a sleek bag. But, today I am going to share an interesting journey of a simple woman, whose vision and self reliant nature is applauding.
Her journey began long time ago in a small town Jagadalpur (then M.P.), Chattisgarh. She was named Usha. Though born in pre-independence era, she wanted to study. She completed her school in a Government School, free of cost.
For higher studies, she started relying on pocket money which she earned doing household chores and taking tuitions. She also purchased a cow to start with, which eventually turned into her dairy farm. She pursued her education along with additional responsibilities. Uncommon for her times, she completed post graduation in Hindi. She was married soon after. She bought Pita (pure silver border) work saree for her wedding with her own earnings.
She moved to Hyderabad after marriage and was offered Headmistress’s role in All Saint’s High School, Hyderabad (which was one of the best). She couldn’t take it up as in olden days it was believed that woman got to fulfil household duties and not give importance to her career. Later, she was blessed with a baby boy.
Circumstances forced her to move to her husband’s native village named Muchallera, which made her life more strenuous. She managed all farmhouse activities and workers. In spite of her circumstances, she didn’t give up on her dream to be an independent woman. She invested money earned from farm and dairy in planting Castor oil seeds. This crop was not considered ‘financially viable,’ but she earned excellent returns from this which got her financially back on track and she never looked back there on.
After 5 years of her marriage, Usha was blessed with a baby girl. She treated her daughter more than a son which was a rarity in those days. Her business started growing. She expanded her dairy business. With profits from dairy, she started financing all types of 3 wheeler vehicles. She was a greater manager and a planner as well. She owned 10 autos in due course of time.
For Usha, ‘education’ was of utmost importance. She would encourage her and neighbourhood kids to study well. She even granted interest free loans to deserving underprivileged families for kids’ education.
As years passed by, she developed kidney problems. During her dialysis, though she was in pain herself, she would spread positivity and hope to other patients. She was a practical lady; she prepared her will allocating equal property to both kids. She kept money aside for her own final rites. Even she made a gift of land for girls’ school in Pathancheru, Telanga.
Her biggest lessons to learn are:
- Vision with focused mindset
- With hard work, one can achieve success in life
- Education is a means of life (personality) than of living (job)
- Treat your daughter right/Do not treat girl less than a boy
- Self sufficiency is the best policy.
- Keep your hopes alive always.
‘Usha’ means ‘dawn’ and true to her name, she has been a dawn for people in her life. With self confidence, positive and never give-up attitude, she has set herself as an example of an empowered woman in true sense. Let’s incorporate her life lessons in our lives to enhance our journey towards genuine ‘empowerment.’ Happy women’s Day!!!
Shilpa Naik (c) 2018