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Sarita Mali Born in slum in Mumbai studied in municipal school sold flowers on street, will pursue PhD in University of California Will do PhD at the University of California

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New Delhi: The story of Sarita Mali may sound like a fairy tale. Sarita was born in the slums of Mumbai, studied in a municipal school and then ran behind vehicles to sell flowers at traffic signals on the streets. But the dream of becoming something always remained in his eyes. He never blamed his circumstances and his luck as he always remembered his father’s teaching that education is the only weapon which can free him from this life of suffering.

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  • Belongs to Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh
  • Father supported her at every step
  • Even two brothers did not stop studies
  • Granted one of the fellowships ‘Chancellor’s Fellowship’
  • Studied in JNU too
  • I got a chance to give to the whole world
Belongs to Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh

Sarita made this education a magic wand which turned her luck and today she has got admission in the prestigious University of California, Santa Barbara in America from the slum of Mumbai to do PhD in Hindi. His father hails from Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh where his caste is counted among Other Backward Classes (OBC), but in search of livelihood, he moved to Mumbai and started selling flower garlands at traffic signals.

Father supported her at every step

Sarita studied in class VI when she along with her father had to run behind vehicles to sell flowers at traffic signals in Mumbai. Both father and daughter used to earn hardly 300 rupees a day by selling flowers. Growing up in a slum near Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, Sarita had seen discrimination in her childhood for being a girl and her dark complexion. Although his father supported him at every step.

Even two brothers did not stop studies

After tenth, Sarita started teaching tuitions to the children of the area. She wanted to fulfill her father’s desire to study. Saving money, he enrolled in KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce. Inspired by him, the elder sister and two brothers also did not stop studies. His father does not understand the degrees of BA, MA, but he definitely knows that education is the biggest strength.

Granted one of the fellowships ‘Chancellor’s Fellowship’

In a Facebook post, Sarita Mali has shared the story of her struggles. He wrote that I have been selected in two universities of America – University of California and University of Washington… I have given preference to University of California. This university has awarded me one of the most prestigious fellowships of America ‘Chancellor’s Fellowship’ on the basis of merit and academic record.

Studied in JNU too

Even while selling flowers on the road, her father used to explain to Sarita that only education can liberate all the brothers and sisters from this curse. According to Sarita, the father used to tell us, if we do not study then our whole life will be spent in fighting to keep ourselves alive and arranging food. We will not be able to give anything to this country and society and will continue to be humiliated in the society by remaining illiterate like them. Seeing this hunger, atrocities, humiliation and crime happening around, Sarita came to Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2014 to take a master’s degree in Hindi literature.

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Studying in JNU was also the biggest ambition of Sarita’s life because once when she went to her maternal grandmother’s place she saw that her maternal brother was preparing for admission in JNU. His maternal uncle told his mother that the admission he gets in JNU, he comes out from there only as ‘something’. And from here Sarita got the urge to go to JNU and become ‘something’. Though she says, at that time did not know what JNU is. But to become something like this, I decided in class XII itself that I have to take admission in JNU itself. And after three years of hard work, he got admission in the first year of Hindi MA on OBC seat.

I got a chance to give to the whole world

Sarita says that admission in JNU was a turning point in her life and for this she worked hard for three years. Sarita credits the academic world, teachers and progressive student politics of JNU in Delhi for shaping her personality. She says JNU made me the first person. JNU made me the person who can speak against all kinds of exploitation prevailing in the society. I am very excited that I have got an opportunity to pass on what JNU has taught so far to the whole world through my research.

In the year 2014, at the age of 20, Sarita, who came to JNU to do post-graduation (PG), is now going to do her PhD again in the US after taking her MA, MPhil degree from here and submitting her PhD thesis this year. There she will research the writings of lower class women during the Bhakti period.

Source: BHASHA

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Sarita Mali Born in slum in Mumbai studied in municipal school sold flowers on street, will pursue PhD in University of California Will do PhD at the University of California

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