It was a proud moment for the three members of a family belonging to the Toda tribal community, who had arrived in the city to take part in the conclave.
Having attained the distinction of being the first woman from the Toda community to enroll in a medical course, Bharathi, was the centre of attention. Toda people are a small pastoral community residing on the isolated Nilgiri plateau.
Addressing the gathering, Bharathi, a final year dental student, expressed her utmost gratitude for her father, who was instrumental in helping her realise her dreams.
“I would like to thank my father who was responsible not only for supporting me through out my education, but all my siblings as well. In our community, girls are usually married off very young. But my father’s resolve in letting me continue my education has been one of the most fortunate things in my life,” an emotional Bharathi said.
The sentiment was not lost on Bharathi’s father, K Mantheskuttan. A farmer by profession, Mantheskuttan, fended for his family by growing vegetables on his farm and selling the produce. The proud father said that he had always considered education highly important, especially since he himself could receive education only till Class VII.
“In our community, nobody has the idea of educating their children. When I decided to get my children educated, many in my community expressed reservations, saying that I would not be able to find them suitably educated grooms,” he said. Bharathi’s sister M Divya was also present.