Roop Kanwar was only eight years old when she realised her mother was affected by some mental illness. Seven years since, Roop has been playing a mother to her mother, with her father being busy in earning a livelihood from agriculture work.
Roop, a resident of Khudulya Khurd village in Tonk district, is not just taking care of her mentally challenged mother, but is also continuing her studies to change the fate of her family.
“My mother, Ratan Kanwar, has been mentally ill for last seven years and if not chained, she runs away and acts silly,” she says. “I really feel bad to tie my mother with chains, but I am forced to.”
Her father, Lakshman Singh, wanted to get her married early to free himself from the responsibility, but he feels speechless before Roop’s resolve. The 15-year-old has told her father that she does not want to marry now and that she wants to make an identity for herself after completing her studies.
“Our economic condition is very weak due to which I do not dream big. I want to become a nurse and serve people. If my mother gets proper treatment, she will become normal and it is my mission to get her normal.”
As there is no other woman in the family, Roop gets up early morning, does her household chores, helps her mother to relieve herself, bathes her and then cooks food before going to school. After returning from the school, she feeds her mother and takes care of her for the remaining day. It has been her daily routine for the last seven years.
Roop is among a number of girls who will be honoured by the state government with the Ladli Samman, says Vipin Tiwari, coordinator of Ladli Samman campaign.
Roop is not alone; there are many girls who are setting an example before the society by their work.
Rachna, who got married as a minor, is raising her daughter by working as a labourer, staying at her parents’ house. A resident of Thadoli village in Tonk district, Rachna was married at the age of 15 to Mukesh of Ajmer. In three years, she gave birth to a boy and a girl.
After the girl’s birth, her husband’s behavior changed and he often used to beat her for no reason. One day he threw her and their daughter out of home but kept the son. For last three years, her husband did not even try to find out their condition. Rachna has decided that she would make her daughter competent and set an example before the community.
The Ladli Samman campaign’s coordinator said these girls have been chosen for the state-level award. The girls have been identified through the campaign in 120 gram panchayats in Tonk district.