Girija Devi is a one-woman social reform campaign for the Musahar community. I am so impressed with people who don’t listen to those little voices that tell us, “You can’t do that! Who do you think you are?”
This story is a reminder of the profound impact that a single individual can have. Someone once said something like, “Look at all the statues in all the town squares in all the world, and you won’t see a statue of a committee…”
In the twilight world of Musahars, an untouchable community in India, Girija Devi is a shining exception.
After leading a spirited drive to root out alcoholism and get the government to work for her community in the troubled state of Bihar, she has become the first woman from her community of rat-eaters to address a United Nations convention.
Musahars are so poor that their staple diet often comprises mice.
On 27 February, the unlettered Girija Devi will lead five women from India at the international meeting to talk about the status of women. She will speak in her local Bhojpuri dialect.
“I will speak for the equal rights of women and try to draw the attention of the world to women in my state,” she says.