From a bangle hawker to a teacher and now an actor, Hakiman Bibi has lived an inspired 58 years.
Among seven women chosen from Bihar and Jharkhand by the government to feature in tele-films based on their struggle, she can’t wait to see her life unfold on 70mm and become a role model to others like her.
“We hope the half-hour films, to be made under the National Literacy Mission, will help motivate similarly placed rural women to better their lot,” says Dharmadev Rai, secretary of Sakhsharta Vahini in the district. The films will be shot by MK Raina of Tamas (TV serial) fame.
Hakiman Bibi, who earns her living through selling bangles, was illiterate till the age of 45. Then, she decided to turn the course of her life and started taking lessons under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. And in the past 10 years, she has been busy spreading the light of education among the underprivileged women and children of Baliapur.
Md Sarfuddin, a sociology teacher at BBM College in Baliapur and committee member of the district Saksharta Abhiyan, remembers Hakiman Bibi as a fast learner. “After joining classes in 1994, she was the first among several women to learn and write everything taught well before time.”
Not satisfied with that, she decided to share what she had learnt with others. “She took up cudgels to teach the rural women and children after completing the courses in less than three years,” adds Sarfuddin.
Today, there’s nothing Hakiman Bibi cannot do — from writing and reciting poetry and essays to reading books, from keeping accounts and banking to teaching. She does it all and she does it well.
Her poverty hasn’t dissuaded her. She dreams of her children graduating from college and becoming independent, and is doing everything in her power to make it come true. Initially, she even had to fight her husband, who did not want their daughters to study beyond matriculation.
Ask her what prompted her to take up studies so late and she says simply: “I feared being cheated by moneylenders, bangle dealers and grocers as I did not know how to read or write.”
The respect educated women get was also encouraging. “It propelled me to educate myself, which I did with all my heart.”