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Meet Nirmala, First Birhor Girl To Pass Intermediate

Chhatisgarh’s Kumari Nirmala cleared her class 12 examinations with 58 percent marks. The girl has created history becoming the first girl ever from the particularly vulnerable tribe group to achieve the rare feat. Mahadev Kawre district collector of Jashpur, a district in Central India’s Chhatisgarh  felicitated Nirmala for her achievement.

Her parents, Birasmani and Kunwar Ram are agricultural laborers who collect Sal leaves and other forest products to sustain their family. Coming from Jhargaon village, Nirmala’s parents stood up for their daughter’s education against the elderly of the community. The community elders consistently demanded for the girl to drop out of school and get married–“to keep up with the community customs and traditions”. A proud father, Kunwar Ram barely holding his emotions proudly said

“Nirmala would follow her dreams.”

Fighting dogmas and social restrictions, while also struggling with poverty and a fading out identity, the family overcame all hurdles as Nirmala makes a mark for herself. Appreciating her family’s initiatives, she said

“they want to send me to college, which is a huge thing for people like them to think. I will fulfill their dreams by studying hard.”

Jageshwar Singh, Birhor Samaj head said that the tribe still follows the tradition of not allowing girls to study.

“The tribal people are highly superstitious regarding girls’ education”.

Struggling with extreme poor socio-economic condition  Birhor tribes of Chhattisgarh are on the verge of extinction. Large scale deforestation, urbanization, globalization and industrialization have further affected their demography and culture. Nirmala’s achievement undoubtedly comes as a moment of breakthrough for the community.

Read the TOI Article here

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