From being a pauper to a job giver, Ladli Bano’s story may inspire millions
Merely a big name or a high social status does not change society. This is to say, just money or an impressive profile is not the only road to an ambitious project. This has been proved by a lady who is poor and belongs to society in which there is nothing but purdah and restrictions. But despite living in such a society, she has managed to work within her given space, and yet reach the skies in a flight to freedom.
Thirty-five kilometres from Patna lies Masaudhi and its narrow streets, on which the lives of some of the most helpless people have been dragging on for years. Ladli Bano came here as a bride 30 years ago. She is now known by the name Shri Devi. In reality she has become a ‘ladli’ (darling) daughter. Shri Devi is called so because she happens to be, perhaps, the more beautiful woman around, but it is also because she has created a more special beauty with the help of her two hands, which now have been supported further by thousands of other hands.
Some time ago, the picture here was different, but now it has changed. Earlier, a life of poverty and deprivation lay for people living in the hundreds of families here. Two meals a day were not easy to get. Ladli arrived here as an angel. For the first time, when the color of poverty touched her, Ladli was not broken, nor did she allow herself to suffer from anxiety and discomfort.
But she faced all this with courage. There was no money in the house, it was difficult to think of how to get two meals a day. Now was time for her to live a full life, but a mountain of difficulties was obstructing the way to happiness. However, Ladli did not want to run away from the problems of life, she wanted to fight them. After all, there was a long life waiting for her, and it was necessary to live it. In the given situation, Ladli took a strong decision which helped her to achieve the position where she has arrived today, and to become a role-model for everyone.
There was no foodgrain in the house, and immediately after taking over the responsibilities of the household, a heavy burden fell upon her head. A new beginning was made by making things out of wooden pieces, which did not have very good prospects in the beginning, but later the result was encouraging. It made Ladli, in the true sense, a darling of the people.
If one wants to see how small sticks made from bamboos could resurrect the life of not one person but that of the entire village, then one should come and see this in these lanes of Masaudhi.
In 1983, when the Ladli, as a new bride, came to the house here, it did not have even a thatched roof. Today she lives in a properly cemented house. She had never even touched a slate or a pencil herself, today her four daughters are studying in different schools. There was hardly any grain in her own house, now she is offering jobs to others and is able to meet every day needs. Today Ladli’s daughters are proud of their mother, also the people around her see her as the one who brought them a ray of hope.
Thirty years ago Ladli had for the first time, bought a bamboo for three rupees. And she started the business of making the sticks. These sticks are used here for many types of products like Agarbatti, Kulfi, Ice Cream etc. Today she earns thirty thousand rupees every month. Her husband has lost his job, but there is no cause for worry in Ladli’s family, because with her income the household expenses will be taken care of.
The difficulty of belonging to a Muslim family in which purdah was a condition was the biggest obstacle for these women. But Ladli tried to find a way out of it, and with Ladli, the other girls of the village too stepped out. Today, most of these women lead a successful life and dream of a better life in the future.
Ladli has never been awarded or recognized for her work by the government or any other organization, but the love and respect that Ladli has received from her village and neighbors, has left no room for complaints. She is very happy today and walks through the streets with pride, happiness and contentment. It seems that these are the roads which give her a sense of achievement and pride. Ladli had a special desire to do something unique, and because of this, she came out of the enclosed space of the courtyard of the house, into the streets and alleys, to work for women and needy people like herself.
Day and night, for thirty years, she taught other girls who had been deprived and excluded. Till date, more than seven thousand girls have learned from her the skill to cut and make sticks.
Beyond the confines of the purdah and the burqa, if many Muslim girls and women have been able to see the sight of a school, then it is thanks to none other but Ladli Bano.
It is enough to say that the narrow and dirty streets are indication enough that neither the government nor any government scheme has come to help this village but now the picture
will change, its hopes and the minds of the people here will find expansion just because of the efforts of a courageous lady.
Ladli had to listen to numerous taunts and suffer uncountable difficulties, but she never stopped. She had thought she would fulfill all the other dreams. Once a fighter, always a fighter. Ladli will continue to walk till all her dreams come true...
© 2016 Sulabh Swachh Bharat. All Right Reserved