It’s very rare that people leave their luxury life and an excellent job just for doing something good for others. In a small village Soda, about 60 kilometers from Rajasthan, where women still cover their faces with ghunghats. A lady named Chhavi Rajawat, a perfect leader completed her MBA from Pune. She worked with many companies such as Times of India, Carlson Group of Hotels, and Airtel left her job to become Sarpanch for her village.
Taking about her grandfather, Brig Raghubir’s legacy – he was the Sarpanch(leader) of the village for 20 years before Chhavi – her primary focus remains improving the quality of life there. In fact, this dedication that brought her back from her corporate life to her village. Speaking about the transition (on her website), she says, “I didn’t have to think about it much because Soda is where I belong and it needs me. In fact, the villagers broke all barriers of caste, gender, and religion to ensure my victory. In Soda, not even one percent of the voters are from my caste. They [the villagers] wanted to prove that development is the most important factor, for which they can overlook all politically created differences.”
Swarmed by villagers as she walks down the road, Rajawat greets them by name as they share family news and pepper her with questions about progress on various projects. Her story reveals the potential of real grassroots leadership in making a difference in a country plagued by corruption and inefficiency.
She has to her credit, in the seven years that she has been around, the construction of over 40 roads, installation of toilets in all the 900 houses, and even a bank in the village, availability of water and she made her village first IT-enabled village. There are even plans to link Soda’s portal with the state government’s websites. This will make Soda the first fully computerized Panchayat in India. While there has been a sanction by the Central government (Rs 4,500 crore) for the e-panchayat project, matters of fund allocation. And project monitoring is not mentioned. Her ability to get the work done has certainly gotten her many dedicated votes. But she refuses to think about politics for now (Chhavi is not affiliated with any political party).
Rajawat was honored by late President of India APJ Abdul Kalam on the Technology Day function at New Delhi.
Chhavi Rajawat was honored “Young Indian Leader” by IBNLive.
Baskar Petshali, a secretary of a local welfare charitable trust, says her problems stem from the fact “she’s a clean politician” who refuses to give bribes to get jobs done.
She has not decided whether she will continue in development work once her five-year terms end. But she is hoping her example will inspire other educated young people to take time out to serve their communities.
“Your roots are your foundation. You have to start at the bottom to make a difference — and there is so much left to do.”