Urmila Pahari: Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Courage - mooveonn.com
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Urmila Pahari: Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Courage

I first met this sixty two years old when we were protesting against the arrest of Aseem in Allahabad, a day after his arrest. A lot of people had backed out from the event which I, along with a few youngsters had organized against the arrest, stating that they too might be tried for sedition if they stood with Aseem. Anyhow Urmilaji convinced her husband to support the cause and both of them came to the venue to protest along with us, they were the only responsible people in the crowd of youngsters we had gathered. That was the first time I saw something different in her, where most of the elders has backed out she was there and brought her husband too.

When she got to know that my mother was battling cancer, she came to visit her, that was the first time she told me that she too was a cancer survivor; she got some chemo but rejected it later for alternative therapy. The idea itself sounded brave to me, but as I knew her more and more, I saw a woman who beat all odds with her courage ever since her childhood.

She suffered all sorts of traumas, death of her father at early age, poverty, illness but since the very beginning fought for social justice. To be a woman in this country is challenging enough and to be a woman from scheduled caste is unimaginable. The fight for treatment of poor cancer patients in not her first, all her life she has struggled to get justice for others, had spent eight days in naini jail after she was arrested for a charge of attempted suicide when she was sitting on “Amaran Anshan” to bring to notice the issues related to naini ITI.An industry which was once a priced Gem of Allahabad city but now has been declared sick due to management apathy. She sat on Anshan ,employees supported her at first but started backing out when they were scared that they will lose their jobs, she told me there were days in that eight day Anshan when she was sitting with only one or two  people who supported her cause.

Once she had even sat in front of union HRD minister’s car alone in an attempt to bring to his notice the injustice but only thing that happened was, she was arrested.

She took voluntary retirement after her struggle and cancer, only to start a school for underprivileged

 Kids of her area. Now she takes up rationing issues in her area, fights to get ration for the poor people there. And she proved to be my pillar of strength for the fight for justice for poor cancer patients, when most of the people ,including people I had known all my childhood backed out seeing the intensity of the battle, she was always there, physically mentally and financially. She is a true inspiration. When most of the people in this don’t even bother to fight for others, she despite of her ongoing battle with cancer has devoted herself for the cause.

Whenever I feel too upset or feel like giving up everything I just make a call to her, and she in her own way knows how to inspire people.