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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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5 foremost Adivasi women bringing recognition to their communities

New Delhi— As soon as the name of Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu was announced as the President, a wave of joy spread across Adivasi communities across the country. Everyone was happy that for the first time the country had an Adivasi person as president. Throughout the day on Friday, there were celebrations in different parts of the country.

The newly elected President Draupadi Murmu belongs to the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha and she also started her political career there. Her journey to becoming president started from becoming the village sarpanch [head of the village council]. Now Murmu is the country’s first Adivasi president. You too must have heard and seen discussions about this. But there are many other Adivasi women who have made their communities proud by achieving a top position for the first time.

Dr. Sonajharia Minz

Dr. Sonajharia Minz, who comes from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is not the first Adivasi vice-chancellor, but the first Adivasi woman vice-chancellor [VC]. In 2020, Draupadi Murmu, the then Governor of Jharkhand state, appointed Dr. Jharia as the VC. Dr. Jharia was appointed as VC of the Sido Kanhu Murmu University in Hazaribagh district. Previously, she had also been the Dean of Computer Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Alongside this, she is also involved in social work. Dr. Jharia is the daughter of Dr. Nirmal Minz, the founder-principal of Jharkhand’s well-known Gossner College, Ranchi, and the first Bishop of NWEGL Church[North Western Gossner Evangelical LutheranChurch].

Dr. Jharia received her primary education from a Hindi-medium school in Ranchi. After that, she studied further in Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Following completion of her studies, in1991, she was appointed as Assistant Professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University. Where she consistently supported Dalit students facing discrimination. This is the biggest reason. She herself as an Adivasi had experienced discrimination. In an interview, Dr. Jharia said that as she was the daughter of an Adivasi priest, no good convent school would admit her. After obtaining admission in a Hindi-medium school, even after she scored good marks in Maths and Sanskrit, the teachers continued to underestimate her and did not advise her to take up maths for further studies. But Dr. Jharia disregarded all this and went on to study further in Maths and become a professor in a prestigious university of the country.

Sreedhanya Suresh

Many people in the Hindi-speaking belt may not have heard this name, but it is familiar to people in South India. Sreedhanya is the first Adivasi IAS [Indian Administrative Service] officer from Kerala. Sreedhanya comes from the Wayanad district of Kerala. Born into a poor family, Sreedhanya achieved by the dint of hard work that position which many people dream about. Both her parents were daily wage labourers in the bow and arrow trade. But did not want their daughter to become a labourer. That is why they gave her tremendous support in her studies. Sreedhanya completed her early education from Wayanad and then did her graduation and masters in zoology.

Before cracking the UPSC [Union Public Service Commission Exam], Sreedhanya was a clerk in the Scheduled Tribes Department of the Kerala State Government. It was here that the then Collector of Wayanad District, Sriram Rao, advised her to prepare for the UPSC. Taking this advice, Sreedhanya started preparing for the exam and achieved success. But even during this time, she was not free from challenges. Sreedhanya did not have money to go to Delhi for the UPSC interview. In this situation, her friends came forward to help her, and subsequently Sreedhanya did not disappoint anyone.

Renuka Singh Saruta

Chhattisgarh is a predominantly Adivasistate. But after so many years of independence, no Adivasi woman from here became a union minister. Under the Modi government, Renuka Singh became the first woman from Chhatisgarh to become a union minister. She was appointed to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Renuka Singh won the election from the Surguja division seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. After she became the Union Minister, there was a wave of happiness in the Adivasi community of Chhattisgarh.

Riya Tirkey

Riya is the first Adivasi woman to complete the journey of the Femina Miss India competition. Riya may not have won the title, but it was a proud moment for the Adivasis. Riya belongs to Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. She took part in the Femina Miss India 2022 competition, but the journey to reach here was not an easy one for Riya. She had been auditioning for Femina Miss India since 2015. But it ended in disappointment every time. But after about seven years, she got through this time. Riya was awarded the Miss India Jharkhand title. After the finale was over, on her way back from Mumbai to Ranchi, Riya expressed her joy at reaching this point in her journey by performing an Adivasi dance at Ranchi airport. At the same time, Riya said that she is proud to be an Adivasi. Let us inform you that 24-year-old Riya completed her early studies from Ranchi and her higher education from Visakhapatnam. Riya’s father is a bank manager and her mother is a housewife.

Renee Kujur

Renee is that name in the Adivasi world which does not have any significant recognition today. People know Renee as the Indian Rihanna after the name of Hollywood pop singer Rihanna. Given what Renee has achieved with her dark complexion, people call her kali pari[black angel]. Renee had wanted to become a successful model. But because of her dark complexion, no one was willing to let her come forward. To the extent that even makeup artists used to shy away from doing her makeup. Because even today, in the world of beauty, a fair complexion is favored.

Therefore, Renee faced discrimination due to her dark complexion. Renee comes from a small village in the Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh, and her family was also not prosperous. Yet, right from her childhood, Reneedreamed of becoming a model. Once when, still a child, she participated in a fancy dress competition in school, people started calling her “kali pari” even before she went onto the stage. But Renee never let these things get to her. She would keep going to Delhi to try to get into modeling.

However, people would reject her due to her dark complexion. Slowly all this started to get her down. During this time, a friend of Renee advised her to do a photo shoot in the style of Rihanna. And this advice completely changed Renee’s life. She instantly became an internet sensation. Rihanna herself was surprised when she saw Renee on the internet. Since then Renee’s life has been different and today she is a successful model.

यहाँ हिन्दी में भी पढ़ें: 5 आदिवासी महिलाएं जिन्होंने अपने कार्य क्षेत्र में पहला स्थान प्राप्त कर समाज का मान बढ़ाया

[Story Translated By Lotika Singha]

Poonam Masih
Poonam Masih
Poonam Masih, Journalist The Mooknayak

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