In 2008, Amatullah Mehar became the only girl to pass class 10 from Chacha village in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district.
Six years later, in 2015, she has become one of the most educated panchayat representatives of the area after the 21-year-old was elected pradhan (head) of Sankara panchayat samiti (block council).
And now she wants to wage a war against child marriage by ensuring 100% enrolment in schools for girls.
“Education alone can rid us of such evils,” she told HT over phone from her village, 18 km from the site of India’s first nuclear test in Pokharan.
As a first step, Amatullah has issued strict orders to sarpanches of all 44 gram panchayats under Sankara to keep a vigil in their vicinity and not allow any child marriage on Akha Teej on Tuesday, an occasion when mass marriages of minors take place in many parts of the state where child marriage is rampant.
The young pradhan said she wants to promote girls' education in the area.
“Even in my own family, my two elder sisters didn’t study beyond class 8 so it is a daunting task for me,” said the third of five siblings.