Sushila, 29, was married when she was just five. But, she disowned the marriage to continue her studies. Now she is the first girl from Rajasthan’s Kathat community to get a government job.
Sushila, who will soon complete her probation as a police sub-inspector, is a role model for her native village Lasaria in Ajmer district and her community which is spread across three districts Ajmer, Pali and Bhilwara.
The Kathats, who have a population of about 12 lakh, practise Islam but celebrate both Hindu and Muslim festivals. They marry their daughters in their childhood and hence the girls are barely educated beyond the primary school level.
But, Sushila Kathat’s family broke the dark tradition, decided to educate their daughter and help her find her identity as a self-reliant individual. But, it didn’t come without an opposition from the villagers who thought educating a girl wasn’t the right thing. “But, my mother always supported me,” she said, adding that she had to go to Beawar for Classes 11 and 12 as her village didn’t have a school for higher classes. Sushila said her mother wanted all the seven daughters to get packed in government jobs and silence those who opposed girls’ independence and education. However, she passed away six months before Sushila joined the police force. But, her father brought a truckload of villagers to the Rajasthan Police Academy to see the passing out ceremony after 14 months of training. “He wanted to show them what education does to a girl,” she said.
Sushila’s younger sister Sangeeta has joined as a government teacher and the youngest, Kiran, is employed as an engineer in a cement factory. But for Lasaria, a village with 350 houses and a population of 2,500, Sushila is the real role model.
Now, most girls from the village are travelling to Beawar for college. They all want to be like Sushila. And why not? As she many firsts to her name. She is the first girl from Lasaria to travel to another village for higher schooling. She is the first girl from her village to become a graduate, a postgraduate, an M. Phil and the first ever to clear UGC-NET.