Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Naani and her love for Education

My Naani and her love for Education

I come from a simple family, a Marwari family.
My maternal grandmother- my Naani is a very simple but a very strong woman. She herself was not educated, I think till 4th or 5th grade. She got married very young as well. When she was in her teens I think. My Nana amongst a lot of other things was very supportive, a humanitarian and an open mind. My Naani had kids at a very early age. 6 total 4 boys followed by 2 girls. She always tells me, Your Nana and I were too young to realize any choices, for us it was a way of life. Everyone around us followed a pre-set path of life: For girls, Grow up, get married, enjoy a fulfilling family life. For boys: Study, get into business, get married and reap benefits of a beautiful family. Simple. She didn’t know there were schools for girls, since in the small town she grew up, there were none.
However after her marriage, she moved a bigger town. And realized what she had missed out on. My Nana, to be helpful would teach her to read and write. My Naani, is very intelligent and very religious and always striving to learn. She used the newfound love for books and read about religion. She learned at the same time that she was teaching her kids. She was sure: "So what if I didn’t study, I will ensure my kids will!" All 6 of her kids (Boys and Girls) would study. And all of them did. They excelled. All 6 of them, graduated. First in the community! One was an engineer, a lawyer, an accountant and so on. My mother did her MA in political science and was a topper. The extended family raised an eyebrow, told my Naani often: "Oh, your daughters will never get married, they are so educated". My Naani would listen and not get affected. My nana would smile and say, well at least they have wealth of lifetime: An Education. My mother and her sister got married- yes without dowry of course and to very qualified and highly educated men. The extended family did shut up!
My Naani never differentiated between boys and girls. Same rules applied to both. When her eldest son got married, the wife was not a graduate. My Naani supported her studies. Post marriage, her oldest daughter in law completed her graduate and post graduate degree. My Naani took care of the family, the grandkids, the kids and extended family. She wanted to have her kids be focused on the core things: Education, Religion, good Virtues.
My mother takes after my Naani. She found support in my father who is much more educationally inclined. My brother and I were raised with a very similar philosophy. When I told my parents about my inclination to complete my masters in United States; they say: It was the proudest moment for them. Once again, extended family was unsure: "Sending unmarried girl to US- only calls for trouble. She will be over educated! Get her married and then send her. What if she marries a Gora!" To all this, my Naani and my mother said: "So what, if she marries a Gora! She would have followed her dream of studying"
For my Naani- I was the first grand daughter going abroad for studies. I was the fruit of the "Love for Education" seed she had put in over 50 years ago. She is very proud of us. As a family matriarch, she has a very big family. She takes pride in saying: 3 of my grandsons are Engineers, 5 of my grand daughters are MA with honors, All her daughter in laws are graduates, even the same for her grand daughter in law’s 3 are CA's, 2 are CFA's, 2 are business owners and so on! I can see the pride in her eyes and the simplicity in her wisdom.
I have the right tools, the right virtues and have felt very strongly about "Women Education" I come from a family of strong educated and simple women. I only wish to continue the same legacy in my daughter and our future generations. I would like to submit this entry to the Indus Indus ladies International Women’s Day Blog Contest". Though its very close to the deadline, I nominate :Priyanka,Suba,Tina


Lakshmi said...

Great post Garima. It is such a blessing to have such a grandmother. Would have been great for your parents, aunts and uncles; with such support and encouragement.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Nice...even my grandmom , naani, got married at like the age of 9, and had no access to the education opportunities that generations after her were exposed to ...the funny thing is that I have learnt some of life's most important lessons from was almost as if she was born enlightened...her outlook on life broadened my perspective on a lot of issues...and I owe a big part of the better things in me to her...nice post...and thanks for the tag and nomination...will try and pick up the tag and write something up, if possible...though it seems unlikely within today...

GNSD said...

@ Lakshmi.. thanks for the nomination. I knew what to write on right away, but it took me time to get it together! Yes, i am glad for the breath of fresh air, the open minded and the ability to accept new ideas in our family!
@ Priyanka... you are right on the bat as usual.. the most important lessons are from my grand mom as well! I have been wanting to go to Indai for a while, i really want V to meet my naani!

Vatsa said...

Love your post!! Just goes to show that all you need is just one person to make a change. And now look at how far reaching that change is today.

Good luck for the contest btw...