To Chhavi, for proving that progress needs spirit, not politics.
The youngest and first woman sarpanch with an MBA degree, Chhavi chose not to align with any political party after her election four years ago. It was a bold move, since it often meant that she’d have to execute her development schemes without the help or protection of the government. So far, she’s ensured a regular supply of drinking water, and helped build 40 paved roads and toilets in 800 out of the 900 houses in the village.
If things had played out differently, Chhavi would be climbing the corporate ladder at a leading MNC, following successful stints at The Times of India, Carlson Group of Hotels, and Airtel. Instead,
she stood for the panchayat elections in her ancestral village, Soda, and won easily enough.
The work that lay ahead was the tough part. Soda lies in Tonk district, the most backward region in Rajasthan. Droughts are frequent, and the literacy rate is below the national average. And, there are those who prefer things the way they are. Last year, she received threats and was attacked by those who were unhappy about her efforts to change the village’s economy.
Nonetheless, she continues to work towards the development of India’s villages. She’s vocal about reducing the economic gap between urban and rural India, using her education to advocate balanced growth on the national and international stage.
Today, Soda has undergone a transformation and is popular as one of the finest villages in India.
All because Chhavi is changing the status quo, one bold move at a time.
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