Binita Soren talks to youngsters at Tribal Cultural Society in Sonari on Monday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Jharkhand’s second woman Everester, 27-year-old Binita Soren is now scaling another challenge.
The tribal girl from Kesosora village in Seraikela-Kharsawan who scaled the world’s tallest peak in May 2012, Binita is now touring villages and hosting motivational sessions as part of her job with Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) to stop youths from joining Maoist groups.
At a motivation session on Monday morning at Tribal Culture Centre in Sonari, Jamshedpur, Binita spoke to 30 youths in the 18-30 age group who came from Bokaro’s hinterland.
A farmer’s daughter, Everester and an employee with Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), the steel major’s corporate social responsibility wing in Jamshedpur, Binita said she ensured gullible youths come to know about the positives of joining the social mainstream.
“I and my team have been touring Naxalite-sensitive areas to motivate youths who are soft targets for Naxalism. I tell them about the values of life, education and the right path. I was inspired by Bachendri Pal (first Indian woman who scaled the Everest) but I did not have to the capacity to spend even Rs 5 to realise my dream. Tata Steel spent Rs 25 lakh to make my Everest expedition possible,” Binita told The Telegraph after finishing the session.
“I liked what she said. Binita herself is an inspiration,” said Shadab Hussain, a youth who attended the session.
Clad in a simple salwar suit, the slightly built Binita still looks like a college-going girl.
But a second look shows determination writ large on her face. And that she is serious about making a difference among rural youths with her logically argued speeches.
On the frustrations of rural youths, she said: “Problems are part and parcel of life. Youths should not get distracted by Naxalite elements. Instead, they should try to think on positive lines and extract the maximum out of their own talent and the opportunities they get and create. Progress may be slow but someone or the other will point out the way.”
So far, Binita has toured Jhati Jharna in Ghatshila subdivision, Patamda, Potka and Gamharia as well as Sukunda and Kalinganagar in Odisha to speak to youths.
“I’m with the TSRDS for the past one year and I love this aspect (addressing youths) of my job,” she said.
Binita stays at her company quarters in Baridih with one of her younger brothers Gagan, while her parents Parao and Dumni Soren, brother Vijay and sister Avantika continue to reside at Kesosora.
Like hundreds of working women, the Everester commutes to the TSRDS office in Northern Town by public transport, taking a bus or an auto.
Don’t the mountains beckon her anymore?
“Oh yes,” her face lights up at the question. “I am busy with my work right now but I would surely like to go on an expedition soon. Mountaineering earned me my identity. Who knew Binita before Everest?” she laughed.