Pratibha ray of hope amidst darkness

Pratibha ray of hope amidst darkness

Pratibha ray of hope amidst darkness

The name ‘Pratibha’ in Malayalam means talent. But the 18-year-old girl, daughter of Kaikalan at the Dalit colony at Kuthirakallu, Bedakam in Kasargod district is more than that.

She has secured 19th rank in the Kerala Medical Entrance Examination under ST category, fighting against umpteen numbers of odds.

“I don’t know how many in the colony knew what it means by getting through entrance,” says a beaming Pratibha. Her story is one among a fairy tale for anyone who is aware of what is happening in the Dalit colonies of Kasargod.

An unchecked flow of liquor and it’s subsequent fallouts mark the life in most of the colonies. “Liquor consumption, sexual abuses against girls, human trafficking etc are rampant in the colonies.

Parents are least bothered about their wards as men and women are addicted,” points the Childline Director of Kasargod district, Kookanam Abdul Rahman.

Apart from the non-discriminate usage of alcohol, there looms large another bigger threat for the girls in the colonies, blossoming of love among teenagers.

This common practice of tender romance would normally end in sexual exploitation. Soon the girl would be trapped by the eagle-eyed sex mafia which cast its net outside the colony.

Amidst all these adverse factors, dreaming of education is too much one has to wish for. But Pratibha broke that shackle and now the colony residents can keep their fingers crossed about their children.

Fallout of liquor-addiction

Like most of the houses, Pratibha’s household too was affected by problems of liquor consumption. The daily scuffle at home took the life of her mother, Narayani not long back.

As her father fell victim to sickness, older brother Pradeep had to discontinue studies at 10th standard to take care of the family. Fortunately, the support of maternal family came in handy for Pratibha through which she braved all odds.

The family was instrumental in continuing with her education, making use of the various government schemes. Up to 8th standard, she studied in Kasargod and later on moved to the school run by Mithraniketan, a NGO in Thiruvananthapuram.

She passed SSLC with 75 per cent marks and got admitted at govt model residential school at Paravanadka in Kasargod. The 77 per cent marks she got in Plus two (equivalent to PUC) is a record in her colony and finally she also cleared the medical entrance.

Pratibha rues that if proper attention had been made, a lot of students would have been escaped from the colonies. “For girls, it’s a whole risk zone with only giving priority to safety rather than taking book in hands,” she said.

Pratibha’s cousin brother, Narayanan, who is a MBA graduate, feels that many Dalit families are not keen to make use of the benefits allotted to them.

“Most of the parents’ responsibility ends by making both the-ends meet a day.

There is no thinking of tomorrow or concern about children’s future, though a change is witnessing now a days,” he told Deccan Herald. Meanwhile, the District Assistant Tribal officer, K Krishnaprakash told Deccan Herald that the problems pertaining to Dalit colonies are not limited to Kasargod alone.

“The high liquor consumption and incidents of sexual abuse are on the rise throughout the state. In several sexual atrocity cases, the cases will be compromised in mid-way out of threat or succumbing to offers,” he said.

A dream of secure house

Pratibha, who joined Amala Medical College in Thrissur has had a big sigh of relief as the government has agreed to bear the study expenses.

But the mud-block built single room house and ailing father is a cause for concern for her. Currently, she is staying with her maternal family in Kasargod.

A few likeminded people in Kasargod have come forward to mobilise fund to construct a house for Pratibha.

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