This is one of many stories from a wide variety of sources and a multitude of forms contributed by people upon request for my 70th birthday. They will be posted without editing, with the attribution that was with them. I will be posting these regularly until they run out next year sometime: if you have others to add, please send them to me.
Shakuntala Jadhav, an Maharashtran village girl, just turned 16 when she graduated from the Human Development Training School in Maliwada and told her parents “I want to join the Nava Gram Prayas (New Village Movement)”. Shakuntala spoke some English and was constantly requested by foreign staff to translate between them and other, older male staff of the movement. Shakuntala was fierce in her to determination against injustice in the world but even at such a young age was very aware that creating a new society was better than fighting against an old one. In one visit as translator to the District Collectors Office near the village of Chikhale (a District Collector being equivalent to judge, taxman, police and executive for 2 million people) Shakuntala was dismayed by the lack of response from the District Collector to a request by the elders. She stood up in front of him in her blue Nava Gram Prayas sari to her full 4 ft 9 inches (1.5 meters) and said “You are a District Collector and have a lot of responsibility. You should help these people.”
Shakuntala was always like this, constantly working hard for everyone else even when she had little.