Facing caste discrimination, fighting against patriarchy and being neglected by the administration — Dalit sarpanch (village head) Badami Devi has come a long way to finally become a role model in Madhya Pradesh.
She became the first Dalit sarpanch to hoist the Tricolour in Puravaskalan village of Morena district in 2014. Devi, being a Dalit, was prevented all these years from the privilege due to pressure from upper caste Hindus.
The story of her courage and determination has been included in the curriculum of bachelor of social work at the Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramudyog University under the chief minister’s community leadership quality development programme.
A villager, Brij Kishore Singh, said, “A student came to the village with a book and informed us that former Dalit Sarpanch’s struggle has been included in the book.”
The chapter on her mentions how a Dalit Sarpanch fought for her rights to unfurl the national flag for four years during her tenure. In the last year of her tenure, the chief minister helped her in getting the respect and hoisting the flag.
Even though the sarpanch also won a fight against upper caste lobby which was opposed to opening of a middle school in Harijan basti, it has not been mentioned in the book. The atrocities she faced for being a Dalit after winning the elections have also not been highlighted.
Badami Devi is, however, happy with the inclusion of her name in a book which consists of names of great activists like noble prize winners Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousuf.
“I am really happy that at least some part of my struggle got space and is being taught to future social workers. The atrocities that women sarpanches and Dalits face are common in this patriarchal society. This development might motivate others to come forward for their rights,” she said.