Narayanpur, May 12
When an 18-year-old girl in Chhattisgarh cleared her Class 10 state board examination, it was an extraordinary feat given her family background. Her parents are active Naxalites, living their lives under the shadow of guns, but that did not deter the teenager from single-mindedly pursuing studies residing away from them.
She now hopes to become a doctor and serve the tribals of her native district.
The daughter of the Naxalite couple hails from Abhujmad area of Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district. She scored 54.5 per cent marks in the High School Certificate Examination (Class 10), the result of which was declared by the Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education on Wednesday.
She hails from Enmeta Bakulwahi village, more than 300km away from state capital Raipur, and her father Sonwaram Salaam and mother Aarti are active Maoists.
“I studied from Class 1 to 5 at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Vidya Mandir in Kutul village (Narayanpur) and from Class 6 to 8 in Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Vidyapeeth in Narayanpur town,” she said, visibly delighted at clearing the first board exam of her life.
“Subsequently, I quit studies and went to my village Enmeta as I did not have caste and domicile certificates,” said the teenager.
After a gap, she resumed studies by staying at the residence of a relative.
“After two years, I went to the house of my cousin sister, who is married, in Bhurwal village of Narayanpur and resumed studies in a government school in nearby Bhatpal village,” she added.
She walked to her school to attend classes covering a distance of 2km.
“I am happy that I have cleared the Class 10 examination. I want to become a doctor and serve the people of my village,” she said.
However, the 18-year-old said she has been facing challenges in further studies as she could not get a Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificate recognising her as a member of the Madia tribe and domicile certificate due to lack of some documents.
“These certificates would help me to avail benefits of government schemes, thereby helping me to continue my studies and fulfil the dream of becoming a doctor,” she added.
The teenager did not divulge much about her parents, but added she yearned to reside with them.
Her younger brother studies in Class 9 in Ramkrishna Mission Ashram School at Akabeda village.
Sonwaram Salaam is currently active as commander in a Maoist formation in Akabeda and Kutul areas of Abhujmad, while his wife is a lower-rung cadre, informed a surrendered Naxalite, who had earlier worked with the former in Narayanpur.
The couple carries cash reward on their heads, he said.
The Abhujmad region, covered by dense forests and hilly terrains and considered a safe hideout for senior Naxalites and suitable for running training camps for cadres, has been witnessing positive changes in the last couple of years, government officials said.
Narayanpur Collector Ajeet Vasant said he has directed local officials to extend all possible help to the teenage student in obtaining necessary documents.
“Due to lack of certain documents in the Abhujmad area, caste and domicile certificates are issued to people based on proposals of the local gram sabha. I have directed the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate to get the necessary proposal from the gram sabha and ensure she gets all these certificates,” Vasant said.
The collector said she will also get benefits of government schemes.
Vasant said, “The girl will get benefits of all government schemes related to education given to people belonging to specially protected tribes. If she needs more help, assistance will be provided to her.”