Sarita Mali, the 28-year-old daughter of a flower seller in Mumbai, has managed to secure a seat in a PhD programme at the prestigious University of California Santa Barbara. Sarita is in her final year of postgraduate studies in Hindi at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
She plans to do her PhD from the US in Hindi on the topic of ‘Subaltern Women’s Writing During The Bhakti Period.’ From middle school till graduation, Sarita, who grew up in a Mumbai slum, assisted her father in making flower garlands to sell on the streets.
“I feel there are ups and downs in everyone’s life. Everyone has his/her stories and sufferings. This is decided in which society one is born and what life you get. Unfortunately or fortunately in some sense, I was born in a society where problems were the most essential part of my life,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Her father’s work had been halted for the past two years due to the pandemic. Sarita expressed how previously, her entire family of six used to help ihim out. Sarita said she has seen flowers since she opened her eyes. There were hardships but there was also a motivation to work hard. She said that her family’s passion and support had helped her reach her goals
Speaking of the turning point in her life, Sarita remarked that she doesn’t know where she would have been if she hadn’t been enrolled in JNU. In her appreciation for the varsity, she says that it provides a lot of hope to people from the deprived sections of the society. She urged the government to establish more public-funded universities so that more students from their society might come and study.
Sarita Mali is one of JNU’s youngest scholars. Last week, JNU vice-chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit met and congratulated her for her achievement.