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It is not often that a woman gets elected a sarpanch in India. Sure, there have been Bollywood movies based on this plot but the reality is quite different. However, Shahnaaz Khan is all set to turn tables. Shahnaaz is a doctor by profession and is now all set to be the sarpanch of Mewat, a Garhazan village in Bharatpur and a historic region of Haryana and Rajasthan. Shahnaaz will be the youngest sarpanch in the village, carrying forward her paternal grandfather's legacy. She is the most educated woman to be a sarpanch in the history of Mewat and that's enough reason for us to begin rooting for her!
"People in Mewat area don’t send their daughters to schools. I will present before them my own example to show what education can do for a woman," she said while taking her oath. Shahnaaz was elected sarpanch after her grandfather, who had been the sarpanch of Mewat for 55 years was asked to step down. The Rajasthan government ordered that a sarpanch should have at least class 10 level educational qualification and Hanif Khan, Shahnaaz's grandfather did not fit the bill.
And so Mewat got its highest educated woman sarpanch with a thirst for making a difference. She is eager to bring health care and sanitation to the village, "For instance, people here die of tuberculosis. The disease can be cured with a six-month course but people are unaware," said Shahnaaz to a leading newspaper. Though the doctor is all set to begin her internship at Civil Hospital in Gurgaon, she is quite sure she can juggle politics and work effectively. It only seems obvious, politics runs in her blood. Shahnaaz's mother, Zahida Khan is a former MLA from Kaman constituency in the district. She said, "My family is committed to serving the people. Shahnaaz joined politics to fulfill her grandfather’s dreams." Shahnaaz's father, Jalees Khan, was also Kaman pradhan (head of the block level panchayat body), so it seems like this would be a piece of cake for her.
More power to you, Shahnaaz!
Images: Shutterstock, Hindustan Times