Tucked in the remote corner of Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar, tribal-dominated Padiyaal village is popularly known as “adhikariyon ka gaon”– or village of administrators– where every child wants to become a civil servant, an engineer or a doctor.
Ninety-nine percent of the 5,000-strong population of the village are Bhil tribes people and among them they have 70 administrative officers, including lower court judges, Indian Police Service officers, Indian Engineering Services officers, medical officers, prosecution officers, forest officer and doctors.
Bhils are an ethnic community who live in the states of central India, including Dhar, Jhabua, and West Nimar districts of Madhya Pradesh and Dhulia and Jalgaon in Maharashtra. They are also found in Rajasthan.
Some doctors from the village are studying abroad, making the Bhil tribes people proud, says,” says Bhupendra Singh Alwa, a retired deputy conservator of forest and president of the village Samiti.
“Every family in the village wants their children become an officer or a doctor or an engineers and this started in 1898, when our village elders decided to build a school,” he says.
“Since then children started studying and the school has produced many officers and now there are more than 70 government officers from the village.”
Not only men, tribal women are also studying to become doctors, civil servants or an engineer and this is rare among tribes people of the region, says Kemat Gewale, who runs a school in Alirajpur.
“Following the example of Padiyaal, tribes people in Dhar, Alirajpur and Jhabua, are educating girls and some have becomes doctors,” he says.
There are three women provincial civil service (PCS) officers from Padiyaal and others are doctors or medical officers, says Meena Alawa, a PCS officer posted in tribal welfare department in Khargone district.
“We encourage and help girls from the village to study, “she says.
Not just Meena, other villagers who are hold high government posts, keep tabs on each and students from the village to encourage and guide them.
“I still guide students from my village and it is a pride for me to discuss the achievement our village,” says Mahendra Pal Singh Alawa, chief engineer with the public works department in Sagar Division.
“I travelled across the country but have never seen a tribal village like ours,” he says.