| Amita Devi. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Aug. 30: New York’s calling Amita Devi, mukhiya of Dadar Kolhua panchayat, Muzaffarpur.
She has been invited to speak on the Hunger Project’s global event in New York, scheduled between October 20 and 24.
Amita Devi is the first woman from her village to go to New York and she is elated about getting the opportunity. A mother of four, Amita hails from a rural hinterland in Muzaffarpur.
Amita’s story is one of struggle and sweet success. She faced many hurdles while fighting for women rights in Bihar.
Talking to The Telegraph Amita Devi said: “Women have to go through several hardships to build their own identity in this male-dominated society. But when a woman decides, she does not only become a successful leader but also boon for her community.”
The Hunger Project chose Amita Devi from over 10 lakh women leaders from across India who have created a niche for themselves as people’s representative.
For Amita, a 34-year-old postgraduate in humanities, her political career was not easy. On one hand, she was responsible for her family, on the other, there were huge expectations from people whom she represented after being elected as the mukhiya.
Amita said: “Initially, I had to convinced my husband that I have responsibilities to take care of since I am the mukhiya. Slowly, I started attending meetings myself. Woman representatives have to struggle a lot as she has added responsibilities of her family as well as the panchayat.”
In 2006, Amita quit the job of teacher after women in her village pushed her to contest the panchayat polls from Dadar Kolhua. After getting elected as mukhiya, she started an education for all campaign in her village. As many as 180 women from her panchayat have already become literate while efforts are on to open more schools.
Initially, Amita and other elected women representatives had to face the problem of establishing their political identities as neither block development officer nor any other officials took them seriously. Led by Amita, several women representatives started boycotting meetings with government officials. The BDO was forced to call a meeting with women representatives and show proper respect.