Rutuja's journey, from a tribal village to dreams of being a lawyer
She belongs to the Mahadev Koli tribe.
The Higher Secondary (HSC) state board results were declared last week in Maharashtra and now the students have started preparation for their degree college admission process while a global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus rages around them.
Rutuja Lande is one such student who has cleared the HSC exams this year. Rutuja is a tribal girl from a small village called Ghatghar in the Pune district and has scored a phenomenal score of 97 marks out of 100 in political science, with an overall percentage of 84. She is another example of the tribal woman's ambition for education, fighting against all odds. She ranked first in her school ‘Somatwadi Shaskiya Madhyamik Kanya Aashramshala.’
Her father Sampat Lande has some 1.5 acres of agricultural land in the Ghatghar village, around 35 kilometres away from Junnar town. She belongs to the Mahadev Koli tribe. Like other Mahadev Kolis, her father and mother too, cultivate a paddy crop which is the only source of their livelihood.
That too is possible for them during the rainy season only, as their land is in a hilly area and they don't have any other source of water for farming. Because of the poor economic condition and dysfunctional transport facility in the remote area, Rutuja used to stay in the school's hostel governed by the tribal department of state. She says that she used to wake up at 5 am in the morning and study hard every day.
She has studied hard to change the economic situation of her family. She wants to pursue a Law degree and be a lawyer. Sharing her dream with Indie Journal, she says, ‘’I have been observing crimes against women in the society since childhood, so I decided to pursue L.L.B with B.A. I will work for poor women and children and try to get justice for them and I love studying law.’’
Rutuja is currently preparing for her Common Entrance Test of Maharashtra state for a five years LLB course. She has applied for an examination but it has been delayed because of the lockdown situation in the state, hence she is scared of losing an academic year if the examinations get cancelled.
These days, she spends her lockdown time to help her parents in the paddy field and studying hard to clear an entrance examination. Anil Sable a social worker and poet of Junnar sought some financial aid for her further studies.
Dr.Sanjiv Kolhatkar, Dr. Archana Jana and another donor (who does not want to be named) collected eleven thousand rupees and helped her through Anil Sable who spoke to Indie Journal.
“Rutuja’s success is phenomenal. It is inspiring for others and especially the underprivileged students of the society. She has great aspirations and needs help to fulfil them. Project officers of state’s tribal department too have congratulated her and felicitated her with a certificate and a prize, but that is not enough as she wants to pursue two courses at a time,” he said.
Students like Rutuja are struggling hard to get educated. She is the first generation in her family who has reached a higher secondary school level as her parents have not been to a college and could not complete their education even. But they are now supporting their daughter to fulfil their incomplete dreams.