I have struggled all my life, not because I find it difficult to make ends meet but because I am an ‘elite’. I find the remark upsetting, so much so that I have started questioning my existence.
Although I was born a third daughter to my parents in a culture that mourns the birth of a girl, I have got the best of everything. People say I was born lucky, but what they don’t understand is I have worked hard to prove my worth for all I have got. Today, as I work to help me make a living, and still claim that I am working for the greater good of the society in my own little ways, I can feel skepticism around me. Sometime back, I had applied to work for an international service organization and I was never called. There could have been many reasons for my rejection-my education, my experience, my vision, etc, but a little birdie told me that they don't employ 'agrawals' in their organization since we are supposed to be from business backgrounds (which of course I am not), and an international job is the last thing we need.
Isn’t it George Orwell who said that “All (wo)men are born equal, but some are born more equal.” Sadly, people think I belong to the latter category, but can I change it? I am who I am and I don’t think need to hide behind just because of my upbringing. I can do nothing about my background, this is something I am not responsible for, but what I am responsible for is to decide where I go and what I do with what I have. I don’t think I need to have a guilty conscience because I am better off, more educated, more intelligent, more powerful, or more privileged, but I need to have one if I do not use my privileges to make someone else’s life worth living, if I don’t put my power to some meaningful existence, and if I don’t use my senses to empathize with the plight of others. I believe that everybody needs an opportunity; the rich or the poor, the privileged or the underprivileged, the educated or the uneducated, because each of us is important and we all deserve an opportunity to identify with ourselves beyond those segregation.
I believe that revolution comes from understanding, and the realization, and I have just enough not to be blinded by the realities of life. I have involved myself in activities that satisfy my soul. I started off with volunteering for old age home, organizing camps, and distributing supplies to the needy while I was in college. After graduation, a time when my fellow mates were preparing fancy applications for fancier universities abroad, I, despite my gold medals, chose to stay back in my country. Not that me staying back would change people’s lives, but I thought I could contribute to my nation in my own little ways. Evidently, I got job offers but they didn’t really interest me, and I started volunteering for a youth forum. I did it for the sheer joy of it, and the satisfaction it gave me. With time and realization, I joined the rat-race of people who want to make big in this world, but I have not kept myself away from my passion. I am the General Secretary of a local youth club and undertake a plethora of activities ranging from literacy programs to awareness camps, health interventions, micro-credit and women empowerment programs.
I am also working for an organization that works for the rehabilitation and reintegration of women who have been forced into commercial sex work. Reporting about the realities that women face in my part of the world is another important work that I am undertaking. I have been advocating for the rights of women and girls through my writing in World Pulse, and VENT. I work with lot of young people to transform them into social citizens through Sattya, a media arts collective. Through all these involvements, I have learnt important lessons in life that I will carry and pass on. Now, I think it is time for me to expand my wings on a global level, and WP Community Board Member seems to be just right.
I want WP to be a space where we rise beyond any segregation and work together to improve the lives of women, all of them, each of them because everybody has the right to be heard. The issues of an upper middle class woman who goes to work in high-heels are as important as the issues of an agriculture labor working in the fields all day and yet not being recognized for it. I want to explore the lives of all of them and bring it into the mainstream, into our boardroom.