IWD2021 | Orphaned in Childhood, This Woman Fought Against All Odds to Educate Herself and Earn a Ph.D

 

Dr. Jaymati Kashyap is a rolemodel for not just the women of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, but for everyone from this small town in India, infamous for Naxal violence. She belongs to the tribal (adivasi) community and is the first woman from the area to get educated and earn a Ph.D in eight subjects.

Orphaned at a young age, Dr. Kashyap recalls her childhood as being her own mother. While grazing cattle in her village of Karli, she would see kids going to the school and felt like being among them. She couldn't join school full time, but completed her primary education studying at ashrams in her town. Later she pursued graduation and earned a Ph.D in History, Geography, Hindi, Politics, Social Science, Rural Life and Public Administration. Today, she is working as a Supervisor with the Child Development Project Office in Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh.

While talking to our Community Correspondent Khirendra Yadav, she says that all folk songs and folk stories she heard in her childhood were oral and there were no books documenting the local culture for future generations. Hence, she has taken it upon herself to write down all cultural aspects of the adivasi community. This is also her initiative to preserve the locally spoken Gondi language. The National Book Trust, Delhi has published a book authored by Dr. Kashyap titled Nana Muya in Gondi language.

Dr. Kashyap has also worked to rescue many adivasi women from human trafficking. "Today I live an independent life with respect. All of this is possible because I got education. I want to do the same to educate the women of my community and help them live a life of respect and dignity," she says.  In the years to come, Dr. Kashyap will serve as a role model for future adivasi generations.

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