Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Deceased farmer's daughter to pursue journalism with a mission-PTI

Indian Express

Deceased farmer's daughter to pursue journalism with a mission

Agencies Posted online: Tue Aug 02 2011, 11:40 hrs
Nagpur : Propelled with an urge to chronicle the lives and hardships of the Vidarbha farmers and their families, the daughter of a farmer, who committed suicide 14 years ago due to debts, wants to turn to journalism. Fourteen years ago Ramdas Ambarwar, a debt-ridden farmer in Telang Takli village in Kelapur taluka of Yavatmal district in Vidarbha region, committed suicide as he was unable to repay debts.
The only bread earner was survived by his wife Saraswati and four daughters. After his death, life became an endless struggle for the Ambarwar family. Their youngest daughter Manju was just over five at the time of incident.
But, with the support of her mother, 19-year-old Manju recently secured admission in a journalism course in Nagpur University, fighting against all odds.
“I want to pursue journalism. That way I can chronicle the lives and times of Vidarbha farmers. As daughter of a farmer, who committed suicide, I have seen it all at close quarters and suffered every moment,” Manju said.
Manju wants to sensitise people and the government about the miserable condition of farmers, who depend on the vagaries of nature and mercy of policymakers.
“After my father's death, mother had to look after the farming work and also run the family. She did not get discouraged and gave us all the strength to move ahead in life. She arranged the marriage of my two elder sisters -- Sushma and Meenakshi -- after their schooling,” she said.
“My third sister Jayashree was in XII when a serious kidney ailment struck her. Mother wanted her to pursue a professional course as she was a science student. But she could not survive. My mother was once again shattered,” said Manju.
The already distressed family got into even more financial trouble as they could hardly afford the costly medical treatment.
Against all odds, however, the youngest sibling continued with her education. After her primary education in the village, she went to nearby Umri village to study up to XII and then commuted daily to Pandharkawda to attend the college. This year she graduated in Arts.
Visibly happy after securing admission to Bachelor of Mass Communication course at the University campus, she feels she is a step closer to her ambition of becoming a journalist.
"As a kid, I was impressed by the reporters who regularly visited our home to write about farmer suicides in Yavatmal district. I made up my mind to be a journalist and write on the issue from my personal experience of pain and suffering,” said Manju.
“I remember that soon after my father's suicide the then chief minister Narayan Rane came to our village. At a function organised to hand over compensation cheque of Rs 1 lakh, several promises for the welfare of farmers were made. Among the promises that were never kept was the one of providing free education to the children of farm suicide victims,” she said.
Manju said it was with the grit and courage of her mother that they survived the hard times. She also thanked activist Kishore Tiwari and his Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti who stood by them.
She is now, however, worried about bearing the expenses of her education. “I have no idea how I will meet the cost of studying and living in a big city like Nagpur. I only hope I realise my ambition and lend a helping hand to my mother back in the village,” Manju said.
(Manjusha Ambarwar can be contacted-09552726952)


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