Picture yourself in your village, or any village, and try to visit all the scenes that you can imagine. Long stretches of farmland in green and yellow, untethered bovines feeding on grass and hay, and probably a group of people assembled in a Gram panchayat – is what most of us would contemplate in our minds. Now what are the odds of finding a woman in her thirties, clad in blue jeans heading the sessions of the panchayat? None? It’s time to make way for some of such odds.
Meet Chhavi Rajawat, India’s youngest Sarpanch, who created a similar distraught among the ministers and ambassadors from various nations in the 11th Info-Poverty World Conference held at United Nations, when she was first introduced by the chairperson. Chhavi Rajawat is the sarpanch of a village called Soda, located 60 Km away from Jaipur. She graduated from the Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi and completed her MBA in a management college in Pune and was working as a senior management executive in Bharti-Tele Ventures before she decided to contest for the post of Sarpanch in the village where she was born.
The face of the village of Soda has changed henceforth. From being just another village in backward Rajasthan, Soda has now found a place in the global map. Chhavi Rajawat has stressed on concentrating on the most fundamental issues like water conservation, education, health and sanitation, reforestation, electricity and roads first. To make the whole process of development transparent, she ensures that all the information regarding the status of the projects are shared online, which is one totally unique endeavor.
“I am just a village girl who has had an opportunity to study in some of the best institutions in the country and has only gone back home to work with and for her people. It’s as simple as that” says Chhavi as she makes it sound very easy.
Chhavi Rajawat is an inspiration for an India that wants to see the change. She is a graven image of courage and will, who left her secured corporate life to better the lives of the people of her village, also jumping the hurdles of mediocrity of society that raises eyebrows when you walk out of the “usual” path. She is the very epitome of the famous quote made by Gandhiji -
“Be the change you want to see”