Friday, August 5, 2011


कार्तिका......एक खदान कामगार की बेटी........Karthika… a quarry worker’s daughter…… getting a seat at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata

'My past can't tie me down', wrote Karthika Annamalai, who cracked the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2011, on her school website. Following that post is the inspiring story of a girl who beat severe odds to join an elite group, that of CLAT achievers.
In her childhood, Karthika followed her mother down into the steep quarry where the latter worked. She would sit a few metres from her mother, watching her frail body shatter stones with a heavy hammer. A heart-shaped mark on Karthika's forehead, formed when a piece of stone hit her, is still a reminder of what life might have held for her.
Karthika, a quarry worker’s daughter who’s just made it to law school, wants to fight social injustices that she herself has experienced and make a difference

“Our house had four granite slabs covered with mud for walls and stacks of neatly-tied woven coconut leaves for a roof,” says Karthika.

Karthika remembered how after her father’s death when they were living at her uncle’s house, he would stumble home drunk and tottering, with a heavy piece of firewood and threats. Tears would flow down her face, hot with shame and hopelessness.

“I would lie in bed wondering what my mother was doing, where she was and if she had abandoned me. My heart would be heavy and my tears would lull me to sleep.”

Her mother, meanwhile, would be slaving away at a stone quarry to support the family, one of the few means to livelihood for their community. “Sometimes, I would follow my mother down the steep quarry, watching her frail body shatter stones with a heavy hammer,” recalls Karthika.

There are days when her mother earns anywhere between Rs 20 and Rs 40 per day and those are the lucky days. For two weeks of the month, there may be no work at all.

Karthika’s luck changed when she was admitted to Shanti Bhavan, a school for underprivileged children near Hosur, at the age of four. “The hours I spent letting my imagination run wild instead of going for physical training sessions has resulted in me receiving various awards and titles in the field of visual art.”

But the awards nothwithstanding, Karthika is clear that she wants to be a human rights lawyer. “I decided years ago,” she says, “that I want to fight against the many social injustices that exist in India, more than a handful of which I have witnessed myself in my family and community.”

Last year, a group of students from National Law School of India University (NLSIU) visited Shanti Bhavan to make a presentation. Inspired, Karthika decided that she wanted to get into a law course. After rigorous preparation for a year, her dreams of getting into a law school have materialised.

At Shanti Bhavan, Karthika learnt the values of humility, honesty and generosity which “impressed upon me the necessity to always work to help those who are less fortunate than me. This is where my desire to work as a human rights lawyer stems from.”

She also hopes that working in the field of law in India will provide her the skills to one day alleviate poverty and injustice on a broader scale, hopefully in a political position. “One day, I will become the Prime Minister,” she declares.

Meanwhile, she has been asking her mother to stop working at the quarry. But her mother says it’s not yet time to hang up her boots. But her spunky daughter may not take no for an answer for too long.

1 comment:

  1. naresh ji..''aaj ki naari.........'' ke antargat aapne bharat ki vibhinn mahaan mahilaaon ke baare main jo parichay karwaya hai ..uski jitni saraahna ki jaaye kam hai..aaj aapke dwara ullikhit mahaan yuwa mahila ''KARTHIKA'' ji ke baare main padaa..sochne ko mazboor ho gaya ki kin paristhition main kaise apna manobal banaaye rakkha hoga ''karthika'' ji ne... kabhi apne aap ko bikharne nahin dia iss mahaan mahila ne....''KRATHIKA'' ji ka ghar ke baare main yaad karna ..wo mitti ki deewaaren aur naariyal ke pattoo se buni hui chhatt....bachpan main patthar ka tukda toot kar mathe par lagna..uss nishaan ki yaad...unke jeewan main asahniya peeda ko bayaan karti hain....kamaal ka honslaa ..kaisi jeewat waali mahila hai wo....? naresh ji.. mujhe poora vishwass hai ki unse prernaa lekar hamaare desh main uva mahilaaon me bhi jaagrati ka sanchaar hoga....hum purushon ko bhi unse honsla seekhna chaahiye....maanniya''KART​HIKA'' ji ko mera....NAMAN....