But the 33-year-old has become an inspiration for many other young women, ever since she became the sarpanch of Soda village near Jaipur. Ask her how she feels about inspiring others and she laughs, “I had thought I would quietly do my work, and was least expecting the sort of honour and respect that people have given me. It’s a humbling experience,” she says. Chhavi was recently in Mumbai as part of the Future Day initiative, to identify what young people can do to become leaders so that their nation succeeds in the 21st century. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, CS caught up with Chhavi to know the challenges that the Indian woman faces in the 21st century:
Inspiration at home
My inspiration are my maternal and paternal grandparents and my parents. They are such strong individuals who have held on to their values. My grandfather was the sarpanch of the same village that I am of now. And when my maternal grandfather passed away, we realised how popular he was with the villagers, looking at the number of people who turned up for the funeral. He had supported many families in different ways. They have shaped me into the person I am.
Keep the faith
The biggest challenge in front of women today, is not having faith in themselves. If one does not have self-confidence, then building it is a challenge in itself. And if one is confident, then solutions can be found within the challenge itself.
The emotional quotient
Women play a huge role in nation-building too. More so, because of their Emotional Quotient. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist in men. But by and large, women tend to be more sensitive. I love this quote which I heard from an elderly woman in my village. She said, ‘Aadmi ek aankh se dekhta hai aur aurat dono aankhon se’. This itself says a lot. Specially in villages, you will find that it’s the women who do most of the work, from tilling the land to looking after the household and the men have no qualms admitting to that. So, women are in a position to understand things a bit more holistically. If they participate more proactively, then things will surely change for the better. And this doesn't mean that they lose out on the feminine aspect. Being sensitive might not be seen as a strength, but I feel that’s my biggest strength. Women need to realise that they need to strike a balance. You don’t have to sacrifice your family in order to make a difference.