I had never dreamt of becoming politician: Alva

Former Union minister Margaret Alva speaks at a programme held in St Aloysius College in Mangaluru on Wednesday.

Former governor and ex-Union minister Margaret Alva recalling her childhood days declared that she had never dreamt of becoming a politician.

“But a speech at college changed my life forever,” Alva recollected.

She was speaking at a programme, “Interface on the Reminiscences of a Political Journey”, organised by the Department of Political Science in St Aloysius College on Wednesday.

Margaret interacting with Dr Rose Veera D’Souza from the college said, “My mother was upset when I was born. I was the third girl child. But it was my grandfather who told my mother not to be disappointed. As I was born on his birthday he strongly felt I will also become an advocate like him.”

Alva said when studying PUC in Mount Carmel College, a teacher picked her to speak on stage. The teacher chose her because she was a talkative girl. It was a pick and speak act and my topic was on the significance of co-education.

After listening to the speech Alva was inducted into the college debating team and from then on she began to realise her leadership qualities.

Alva said her seven-minute speech in English made on the direction of the then Chief Minister late D Devaraj Urs in front of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi, pushed her to the limelight.

“I was included in the list of Rajya Sabha members to my surprise. As a politician, my major achievement was to get the government recognise Siddhi community as Scheduled Tribe. I campaigned for the cause for over 25 years and finally Centre recognised Siddhis of Uttara Kannada as tribals,” she said.

Another major success in her life was winning a case for air hostesses.

In 1980’s in the national carriages there was massive discrimination against women attendants.

“My husband and I took up the case in the apex court and the discriminatory rules of the civil aviation ministry were struck down,” she recollected with a smile.

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