Nauroti Devi is not any ordinary 70-year-old. This Dalit woman from Harmada village in Ajmer district of Rajasthan never went to school. But she got elected as the sarpanch of the village and is famous for overcoming the domination of the Jat community in the village.
Can you believe that Nauroti is the one who taught the panchayat secretary how to operate a computer?
She has also trained many other women from her village to use computers.
Photo source: dalitjagran.blogspot.in
According to The Hindu, she says “I carried the computer and printer into the office and used it for regular communication and also to take out printouts of notices.”
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In the 1980s, Nauroti joined The Barefoot College in Tilonia. It is here that she joined adult literacy classes and learnt to operate a computer.
During her five-year term as sarpanch, Nauroti Devi managed to do a lot of work for the community. She constructed toilets and houses for those living below the poverty line. She restored a burial ground and fenced it to stop encroachment. She started work on a long-pending Primary Health Center in the village. She also waged a battle against the alcohol mafia. When Nauroti ended her term, she left a surplus of Rs. 13 lakh in the panchayat account.
Nauroti has always been a woman of great resolve. Prior to joining the Barefoot College, she used to work at a construction site as a stone worker. When she was not paid the minimum wage, she managed to mobilise other construction workers and fought for a raise. The workers finally got justice when their case was taken to the court by an NGO.
She was disqualified from contesting in the 2015 panchayat elections for being illiterate. And for this, she has filed a writ petition in court.
Even though she’s no longer a sarpanch, she continues to be a voice for the marginalised in her community.