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“For The First Time, No One Asked Me To Sit Or Play Separately” - Caste Based Discrimination

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Subhalaxmi, a 14-year-old girl studying in class 8, hails from a small village in Sambalpur district with a population of 1408. Her father is a tailor, and her mother works as an Aganwadi worker under ICDS. However, Subhalaxmi faces discrimination in her village due to her SC community background.

Despite the challenges, her aspirations are high, as she dreams of being independent and respected in society, aiming to make her parents proud. Besides excelling in academics, she has a natural inclination towards dance and singing.

Though Subhalaxmi is well-liked by her school friends and teachers, the lack of opportunities and platforms to showcase her talents affects her confidence. She yearns for recognition and the chance to perform before others.

Initially, Subhalaxmi was hesitant to join the child club due to concerns about unequal treatment and the freedom to express her abilities. Eventually, she timidly joined the club, quietly participating in the various activities. However, her first experience in the child club left her astounded, as she expressed, “For the first time, I am sitting and doing activities with everyone together, and no one is asking me to sit or play separately in a community space.”

As an active participant in the child club, Subhalaxmi enthusiastically engaged in various sessions, events, and activities. The acknowledgement of her dancing skills and the respect for her opinions on child rights, education, and the school cabinet significantly boosted her confidence.

Her active participation extended beyond the child club when she posed thought-provoking questions during the school SMC meeting, amusing the SMC members. Her leadership qualities shone as she addressed multiple issues related to hygiene, clean drinking water, and infrastructure. Subsequently, she was elected as the president of the school cabinet.

Subhalaxmi’s growing reputation led her friends to choose her to respond to questions related to child rights and community issues during a recognition event. Her prompt and thoughtful responses before 300 audiences, including government stakeholders, parents, and community members, demonstrated her transformation from a hesitant child to a confident leader.

Her journey towards independence and respect continued as she seized every opportunity to grow. During an exposure visit, she actively discussed career options and the nature of good citizens with police officers, BDO, and the Postmaster.

In a significant step, Subhalaxmi decided to travel to the capital city of Bhubaneswar to participate in a convergence meeting. Though the journey was exciting and new for her, it filled us with pride to witness Subhalaxmi confidently presenting issues affecting her village to the OSCPCR Chairperson.

a caste based discrimination story published on "Youth Ki Awaaz"

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