A woman forester in Seshachalam is challenging conventions by routinely facing insurmountable odds, without grimacing even once.
It takes a unique kind of courage, and determination to do what Ragala Subbalakshmi does. The 25-year-old is fearlessly trying to do her job, and to do it well.
The Moghilipenta beat is a hard-to-reach beat, situated at a raised plateau in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh. Picture a labyrinth, full of endless mazes.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Subbalakshmi, Forest Beat Officer (FBO) hikes a staggering distance of 35 kilometres to fulfil her duties. She is the only officer stationed there currently and is attached to the Balupalle range of Railway Kodur division in the area.
This minor detail does not stop the braveheart from travelling 60 kilometres by road to reach Tirupati followed by the Tirumala hills in Chittoor. Her long trek towards Kadapa district begins after that. Deep in the woods, on her own, without a weapon – she takes on the task at hand without allowing herself to feel overwhelmed by the challenges. Defying her circumstances, being on the road for at least two days to reach her destination each time – Subbalakshmi does it all.
There are many mysterious dangers lurking in the forests – from smugglers to wild beasts. The FBO has been doing her job on her own for the last two years. The position of an Assistant Beat Officer (ABO), her companion, remains woefully empty since the previous officer left.
Making her way across 20,000 acres and not a word of protest from the warrior – her superior officers cut her some slack and don’t expect her to report to work daily, an impossible feat for anyone. The Divisional Forest Officer (Tirupati wildlife), T.V. Subba Reddy described her as a dynamic, promising beat officer.
The fact that she’s undeterred by the unknown, working hard to earn her keep and breaking free from the shackles of societal conventions speaks volumes about how far we’ve come as a country, and that there are inspiring heroes everywhere, being unbelievably brave every single day.