Women’s cell warmly invites you for an interaction with Tribal activist Dayabai, on Tuesday, September 4 at 11 am, AVT. Her life is an inspiration for all of us . she left behind her well to do family at Pala, to live among the adivasis as one of them. Yet empowering them to be in tune with ecology, water conservation, organic farming and self sufficiency. She only purchases tea powder, sugar and salt; all her other eatables she cultivates herself at the age of 78. Her pioneering work amongst the slum dwellers of Mumbai is well known too.
Press News:- Report at Manorama Online
DAYA BAI'S UNSHRINKING BATTLE FOR JUSTICE
With a cracked voice, facing the crowd, Daya Bai said: "the students standing in the hall concerns me!". Those words were more than enough for us to understand, how much of a caring person she was.
The legendary social worker from Pala was conversing with students in the Inaugural session of 'Women Cell Powerhouse 2018'.
She began with her transition story of Mercy Mathew to Daya Bai. She hails from a prosperous Christian family in Pala, Kerala. She led a cozy and comfortable childhood life.
'Journey at the age of 3 has a very high impact on who I am today, I was worried about the old woman shaking their head in bus, disturbed by the discrimination of plates being supplied for us and the untouchables, the situation must change, a thought came into my mind'- refreshing her memories she added.
"If you desire for something intensely, you will surely achieve it one day!" My life is a big example for it. Everyone should overcome those 'if and but(s)' which pulls us back from our decisions, she said.
Reading missionery books led her to the nun field, but was not at all satisfied with it as her dream was much bigger. Daya Bai is a kind & happy women with a very good sense of humour. She kept the audience engaged throughout the session. Especially when she sang the song 'kaatum mazhayum' which crystallised her life. The way she sang felt like she was 17 and not 70.
The journey from being a Catholic in Kerala to a social activist began in a remote tribal village in Central India. The tribals were initially suspicious of her when she had started to fight for them. *“I remember it took me months to gain their trust and study the tribals. Since my Catholic tradition has taught me to do nursing, I once helped a woman give birth in the village. By doing so, I gained their trust,”* she recollects.
She even started to dress like them to have a sense of belonging with the tribals. Human Rights issues and violation of rights became her primary concerns. She noticed a lot of injustice happening to these helpless tribal people. One of the main issues of the villages in and around Barul was education. She began by educating the tribals about the importance of sending their children to school. Daya Bai played a major role in bringing the light of education into the dark lives of the tribals.
Whilst fighting for education rights, Daya Bai had to face physical and mental torture from a section of the tribals and local authorities. Her fight was not just about upliftment of tribal people, but also the law and order applied in the country. As a trained lawyer, she had witnessed a lot of injustice, and did her best to overcome every unfair situations.
Throughout her speech, we could understand that she is very much indebted to the people of rural area. I would never call them 'backwards' but they are indeed such a progressive community. They have moulded me and led me to the right direction. I see the beauty in them. She had wind up the conversation with these beautiful words.
Daya Bai, is undoubtedly an inspiring model and her model of development has to be revisited.
Dept of Multimedia