mridula kalita

I am 30 years old and currently working as a social activist with Purva Pbarati Educational Trust. My village is an integral part of my life. Because the river called Dhansiri flows along with the flow of my life. I was born by the side of Dhansiri in the village of Kumarpaaty in Golaghat in an ordinary family. My father was a pottery maker and part time farmer cultivating agricultural land on crop sharing basis. Financial constrain was a part of my life as the most brutal reality.

My family is also strictly conservative. My grand mother would let me in only after changing clothes once we return from outside. She made few rules for that purpose. We were not allowed to cross the limits she fixed. If we don’t follow her rules, she will not eat in protest. I was a rebel and crossed those limits many a times and was beaten up by my mother along with verbal warnings. I challenged those rules and was a serial rule breaker. My mother used to say that since I am girl, I have to follow the rules without fail. I conformed due to pressure. Grandmother did verbally abuse me but her refusal to eat food would made me sad. Sp I followed those rules. My argument was that since these rules have no logic why shall I follow so strictly? That how I became a rebel in the house and declared in the house that any rule without any reasonable logic will be unacceptable. Rules related to toilets were very strict. At one point of time, my mother gave up and accepted me saying that you wont follow the rules.

From class IX onwards I keep little faith on religion and started reading book on science and rationality. I was a bookworm. These readings empowered me to break the rules with strong arguments and made me more argumentative. I became more or less agnostic. I didn’t face issues on my schooling. But poverty was my biggest barrier. Poverty was too heavy on a family of 7 members. During my primary school days I observed violence against my aunt and it made me skeptical of marriage as an institution for security.

My father was one of the prominent drummer in the village. So I got a cultural atmosphere at home. I liked traditional folk songs and performances. I started writing from class X and associated myself with two local weekly magazine called Dhansiri and Dristikon. I was also an active member of Golaghat Sahitya Sabha, a literary collective.

For the development of the children of my village, I founded first kinder garden in my village in 1996. It was my dream to develop the children of my village and ensure their bright future.

The year 2000 was a turning point in my life. I started study in Masters despite poverty and financial constrains. I started private coaching to raise fund for my study. In the meantime I associate myself with groups like Gana Sanskriti Suraksha Parishad and also took part in celebration of Bishnu Rabha Day in Kakopathar. These association shaped my involvement in the movement for human rights. My readings during colleagues days exposed me those stories of revolution in Russia and other places. I took part in various movements and raised voice against state violence. However rheumatic pain was hurting me physically. I was ill for almost three years. I was under weight since child hood and this rheumatic pain still bothers me.

I started writing on the social economic issues in Assam and also published those in various magazines, news papers etc. I also published few of my translation work. I had an ambition of establishing women’s leadership in progressive thinking and that inspired me to establish Nari Mukti Sangram Samiti where I was associated for six long years.

Through I earnings in private coaching, I used to support my family and also I used to save a part of it for my travel. I opened a computer centre from 2008-2010. After two years, I sold it and saved the earnings. I completely got involved in movement for women’s rights and travelled extensively all over Assam and built up a movement. I also got involved in Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and became secretary of Tinsukia district. During that time, I got married with Bitopan Duara who was secretary of same organization of Jorhat district. Both of us were involved in anti dam movement. We go only one day to get married and very next day we left for a road blockade event along with a big vehicle full of people. We could hardly sleep or take rest and remained busy in organizing the events. The idea of revolutions till inspires me. My revolution against the continuous discrimination against women, conservative society and their mentality inspires me to continue to be a rebel and my husband supported me always.

In institutions, patriarchial work culture always creates barrier for women. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti was not different. After six years of active involvement, me and my colleagues there resigned in 2016. I was devastated at that time and was broke down financially, emotionally and physically.

I joined Purva Bharati educational trust in 2017 and since then I am trying to find myself alive in work. I stand for the rights of women, labourers and speak against capitalist, inequality and fascism and speak my ideology in clear terms without fear. Women’s rights is my priority in life. Many struggles, confrontations, financial constrains, and fragile health still couldn’t refrain me from the path of the revolution for human rights. This revolution will continue as long as I breathe. Inqilab zindabad.