A 21-year-old woman in Assam didn’t go to school after grade four, and is not allowed to own a mobile phone as her father “disapproves” of the education and anything that comes from the government.
“Now I don’t want to study anymore, nor do I have the enthusiasm. I expect that no one asks me about my studies,” Harshita Devi, who lives in Nalbari district of the state tells us.
“People question me.. they ask me why why I didn’t runway and pursue my studies. How could a student of class four leave home and continue her studies? Their questions torture me. My father did not allow me to study after my fourth standard,” she added.
To earn money, Devi runs a small roadside kiosk where she sells homemade savory snacks along with some bamboo utility items.
This seems ironic, as the father, identified as Ramendra Nath Sharma himself passed his board exams and got first division. In 1996, Sharma completed his graduation in English literature. Since then he has been appearing for government job as a teacher and engaged himself as a private tutor.
However things changed for him and his family ten years back.
“With my education and qualification, I expected a government job for myself. I appeared for interviews in four schools for the post of contractual teachers. The interviewers had expressed that my interview was up to the mark, still I was not selected,” Sharma said.
“This was some ten years back and then I decided to denounce all government benefits and aids. People have come forward to provide me benefits of several schemes, but did not accept. I took my girl out of school,” he added.
Sharma highlighted that with all his education and experience, he could not get a job, he saw “no benefit” in educating his daughter.
Sharma was so taken aback from the experience, that he refuses to accept anything coming from the government, including electricity.
He lives with his wife and daughter in a dilapidated shed along with cows and calves. A tarpaulin makes for the wall and the roofs hardly saves them from any rain or sun.
The family lives with mustard oil lamps at night as Kerosene too is supplied by the government.
“My daughter wants a mobile phone, which shall come for a cost, then monthly recharge. If the phone gets damaged then repairing or replacing shall cost more. We cannot afford the mobile now,” he added.