Bhadrak, August 6 (Odisha.in) Three years ago Nabakishore didn’t know simple addition and subtraction. Now he is comfortable to calculate even difficult multiplications and divisions, too. Thanks to the efforts of his wife to make him literate over a period of time.
What the state government’s so-called Literacy mission couldn’t do over years, Basanti Nath, a 36-year-old of Baligaon village in Orissa’s Bhadrak district has proved – nothing is impossible for a woman. Her initiative has become an eye opener for about four crore people in Orissa, which has nearly 10 million adult neo-literates.
This woman has made her husband, in-laws and over a hundred villagers literate within three years.
Basanti had married to Nabakishore Nath a daily wage earner of neighouring Pirahata-Harasingh village in the same district, 20 years ago. Though her father couldn’t afford very much for her study, she however studied up to Class-VII when got married at the age of 15.
But it was sheer fret for Basanti when she found her husband, who was working as a labourer in a brick kiln and other members of her in-law’s family totally illiterate. Even more then sixty per cent of around 2000 people residing in the village, where she came as a bride, were illiterate.
“My husband did not know how to calculate money. Every body including the shopkeepers and vegetable vendors were exploiting him and his family members. Even he was not able to put signature and similar was the situation for most of the villagers,” said Basanti.
The money her husband was earning was not sufficient to run the seven-member family. And the poverty led Basanti to do tailoring works and earn some money for her family. But that too didn’t cater demands. “One day I decided to make my husband literate first to engage him in a private job. Although immediately I decided but could not make any progress because I did not know how to start. I first studied myself and after some months taught my husband,” she said.
From the beginning Nabakishore was feeling shame to study at a matured age. The villagers too opposed the move of Basanti and started criticizing her. When the message spread Bhadrak Kantakabi Sakshyarata Samity (Literacy mission) came forward to help her.
“That time we had no money to buy books and slates. I came to know about the literacy mission and on my request the officials provided books and other study materials. Now my husband has passed Class-V where as my father-in-law and mother-in-law have passed Class-III,” an overwhelmed Basanti who has been honored by the state government told.
Besides at least sixty persons including men and women of the village have become literate up to different level.
Encouraged by the personal initiative of a rural woman, the literacy officials also urged her to teach the other illiterates in the village.
She has been appointed as a volunteer teacher of the district literacy mission in the village even though at least Class-X pass is required for that job. The teacher does not get remuneration. However administration provides education kits, books, slates etc and it was a great help.
“She is an ideal for the district. If other women act the way Basanti did, we will not have any illiterate people in our state,” said, Harischandra Samantray, secretary of the district literacy mission. “Apart from it she has also provided employment to many village girls teaching them cloth sewing,” he added.
Nabakishore, who has been appointed as an accountant at a shop run by the district co-operative society said, “Now am living a fully changed life. At least no body now can make me fool.”