This auto narration wasn’t written with the intention of having it published. For, most of it was written while the protagonist was in jail, as a way to combat her loneliness. It was merely a way to release her memories, jailed in her mind….
This is the story of a girl, belonging to a backward community called chambhar. She lost her mother a few days after giving birth to her. Her father didn’t just refuse to accept her, he in fact buried her alive! Her maternal grandfather literally dug her out of the earth and later took care of her. The illiterate old man doggedly raised the girl and did her schooling against all odds.
Later on, the girl survives a couple of more attempts on her life by her real father. Undaunted by the abject poverty, tremendous hardship just to make the ends meet, even compulsory fasts at times as well as the hatred of the biological father and his new family, the girl goes on passing every school exam right up to matriculation.
Stepping into the urban area for the first time in life, the girl finds a job as nurse in a hospital. Forced by the inhuman treatment at the hands of her coercive step-aunt she lands into the house, and heart, of a male colleague at the hospital. The boy is a Brahmin. His family is dead against his intention to marry the dalit girl. A firm non believer in caste-based hierarchy and discrimination, the boy stands up to all the tricks and tactics of his father and fulfills his promise to the girl by marrying her.
After marriage, the uncouth but straightforward girl is drawn to a social movement and she receives support from her husband in it. After trysts with a chief minister and even the state governor, doors to active politics open for the girl and she is elected to the Municipal Council. The matriculate, poor dalit girl proves to be an efficient corporator and learns the oratory skills.
Then Emergency happened! Quite a well-known activist, the girl is arrested along with her husband and her 2 children aged two-and-a-half years and two months respectively. It became a news item reported by BBC. During the year and a-half in the jail, she is afflicted by a spinal problem that needed a sophisticated operation.
Released from the jail by the govt. she suffers a lot of trauma but is commendably supported by her former associates of the social movement. After the operation, the life starts anew for the close-knit family of four with zero support from relatives from either side.
Today, Sunita Dilip Aralikar is a proud mother with an impressive political career. One of her sons is an engineer and the other, a doctor. Both are now settled in the US of A, while she continues her political work in India, in Latur, Maharashtra.
Here is a moving and motivating story of what a person can do irrespective of his or her background, surrounding and lot, with sheer determination and positive thinking. That the person happens to be a woman belonging to a supposedly ‘lower caste’ makes it even more poignant. Already published, well-received and appreciated widely in Marathi, the real life story of a modern day Joan of Arc has evoked a lot of interest from India and abroad, when bits of it reached there through newspaper reports.