An attitude of never giving in
Babita’s life was never comfortable like that of other children of her age but her spirit was never tarnished.
UTTARAKHAND: After losing her father at a young age, Babita Rawat decided to take to farming to support her family and went on to help provide employment to hundreds of people in her remote mountain village in Uttarakhand, reports Narendra Sethi
When she turned adolescent, Babita Rawat suddenly found herself facing the harsh realities of the world that would test her abilities, courage and strength. When she was just 13, her father passed away after a brief illness.“I had two options. One was to leave this world with my father or to prove to the world that if there is a passion to do something, nothing is impossible to achieve,” she said.
Babita, now 27, wanted to demolish the age-old myth that only male members are eligible to perform domestic responsibilities after the demise of the male in the Indian family. She succeeded, proving that the strength of one’s belief is much greater than the weight of ages of dogma.
Babita’s father, Surendra Singh Rawat, a resident of Saud Umrela village in Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, a particularly disaster-prone district, was responsible for a family of nine, including Babita and her seven siblings. But in 2009, due to the sudden deterioration of his health, the family found itself facing grave financial difficulties.
In this moment of crisis, Babita discovered in herself exceptional patience and indomitable strength. Besides completing her education, she took upon herself the duties towards her family on her young shoulders, earning a livelihood to meet the expenses of the household.
“I was always inspired by his strong willpower and hard work”, Babita said, recounting her father. “At the age of 13, when I ran a plough in the fields, I never felt tired. At the end of each day’s work, I used to have a new energy in me that has brought me to this stage of success today”.
“When the farm income took care of our household expenses, it took away sadness from the faces of my family members. It brought great satisfaction to me,” Babita said.
Babita’s life was never comfortable like that of other children of her age but her spirit was never tarnished. Every morning, after she had ploughed the fields, she would walk five kilometres to Inter College Rudraprayag where she studied, carrying milk that she would sell before she returned home.
Life in the mountains brings challenges in itself. Nature tests one's mettle at every step. Babita was able to come through unscathed in the face of all the adversity.
Today, Babita produces almost all types of vegetables in her fields and for the last two years, she has also been working on mushroom farming despite her limited resources. She now provides means of income and livelihood to more than 100 villagers who are directly and indirectly associated with her in agricultural activities.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has honoured Babita Rawat with the ‘Successful Entrepreneur Award’ for leading the way towards employment through agriculture and inspiring the women of Uttarakhand.
Babita also gives credit to Chamoli resident Sanjay Chauhan, who is associated with several self-help groups in the region, for her journey from struggle to success. She says, “Sanjay has always helped me as a guide. He boosted my morale and helped me reach the success that I have achieved today.”