She kindled light of knowledge in many

After a lull of nearly a decade, K.V. Rabiya, a village woman from Vellilakkadu, near Tirurangadi, who kindled the light of knowledge to hundreds of illiterate men and women despite being confined to wheelchair for life, shot to national limelight one again.

Excitement was palpable on Ms. Rabiya as she found her name on the list of Padma Shri awardees announced on Tuesday night. “Alhamdu Lillah,” she said, while trying to adjust her position in her waterbed.

India had celebrated Ms. Rabiya in the 1990s and the 2000s by bestowing many an honour on her.

Fight against odds

But life has not been any kind to her. Struck by polio, she has not walked since she was 14. Having survived a cancer attack at age 32, she broke her backbone in a fall five years later.

After the fall she suffered 18 years ago, she began seeking recourse in spiritual path. She hardly attends any functions these days. But her heroic fight against odds has found its way to the school textbooks.

The knowledge imparting movement she began nearly two decades ago pulls on today, though not with the same verve and vigour. The organisation called ‘Chalanam’ she gave shape to has made a lasting impact in the region.

She could mobilise 60 neighbourhoods as part of a programme she initiated for women’s empowerment well before the Kudumbashree became popular.

The village of Vellilakkad owes much to Ms. Rabiya for facilities like road, power and water supply it got some years ago.

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Printable version | Mar 26, 2022 1:15:26 am |