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Meet Phoolbasan Yadav, KBC 12’s ‘Karamveer’

Phoolbasan Yadav

Time and again, Indian women have proved their innate strength and emerged as flagbearers of positive change. Braving the obstacles set by a patriarchal society, they have achieved success in a variety of fields. One woman who epitomises this description is Phoolbasan Yadav – a 50-year-old woman from Chattisgarh who has dedicated 19 years of her life to the development of economically and socially backward women in her state. The inspirational woman will be seen on Kaun Banega Crorepati Season12’s Karamveer episode that will be aired coming Friday, 23rd October at 9 pm on Sony TV.

In the upcoming episode of KBC, viewers will not only get to see Phoolbasan’s life up close and personal, but also the impact her work has had on society and her own family. She will be accompanied by none other than actor Renuka Shahane on the Hot Seat. “Hearing her story, even though I am well-educated, I feel bad, because having been educated, why dint I ever think of doing something for the society just as courageously as her (Phoolbasan). Maybe after this show, I would want to do something,” Shahane said about Phoolbasan.

When the show’s host Amitabh Bachchan welcomed Phoolbasan on the show, she said, “Firstly, I would really want to thank everyone. It feels like a dream to be here on this platform and I would like to thank Sony channel for this opportunity. They say that if you have dedication and the will power, you can achieve everything. I would like to thank my Guru dev because of whom I am here today. I would also like to thank my team of 2 lakh women from Maa Bamleshwari and every household from Chhattisgarh. Gaon ki matti phenkne wali aur gobar uthane wali mahila, Bol na to nahi aata lekin karm karna aata hai, zindagi jeena kaise hai. Mahilaon ko kaise zindagi jeeni chchiye wo aata hai. Pehle gaiyya, bakri charate the… ab mahilaon ko charate hain, zindagi jeene ke liye.

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Phoolbasan Yadav’s Inspirational Life

With parents working as tea-sellers in Chattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district, Phoolbasan Yadav spent most of her childhood in penury. From an early age, Yadav decided to acquire as much education as possible to better her and her family’s circumstances. However, she was married off at the age of ten and could only study till class seven. She often had to beg for necessities like rice, salt, and pepper to ensure that her four children did not go to sleep on an empty stomach. Determined to bring about change, Phoolbasan Yadav soon decided to start a self-help group to help all the women in her village to overcome poverty.

In 2001, Yadav established the Maa Bamleshwari Svayam Sahayata Samooha self-help group along with eleven other women. Initially, the group collected two rupees from each member per week. This money was used to provide loans to members as well as to help them deal with emergencies. Today, Phoolbasan Yadav’s untiring efforts and determination have resulted in the establishment of over thirteen thousand Mahila Svayam Sahayata Samooh. Over two lakh women are associated with these self-help groups which have savings worth Rs.40 crores and a good recovery rate. The organisation’s members have also gained economic independence and are currently running approximately 250 Public Distribution shops.

Also Read:Chhattisgarh Women’s Group Spreads Awareness On Alcoholism

Phoolbasan Yadav: A Social Changemaker

After safeguarding the financial well-being of the self-help group members, Phoolbasan Yadav launched various social initiatives. The Svayam Sahayata Samooh established ‘Bal Bhoj’ – a food distribution programme for pre-school children in Chattisgarh’s aanganwadis. Additionally, it also set up a mid-day meal scheme for school children in various districts. Phool Basan Yadav, a self-taught cyclist, also encouraged other members of the Samooh to take up cycling as a means to subverting patriarchy and gaining freedom. Notably, Yadav won the first prize in a cycling event organised as a part of her district’s Mahila Olympics. Besides cycling, the Samooh also organises a ‘Pad-Yatra’ every year to spread awareness regarding education, health, and sanitation of the girl child.

Yadav also established a ‘Mahila Fauj’ to counter alcoholism and addiction in Chattisgarh’s rural men. The Fauj’s members patrol streets at night and lobby local authorities to ban or relocate liquor shops. Furthermore, the self-help group’s members conduct heath awareness drives in villages. The women also dug soak pits in villages to combat the water-shortage problems in Rajnandgaon district. Lastly, Yadav has worked tirelessly to eradicate the dowry system and child marriage in Chattisgarh through Samoohik Vivah or community wedding.

Also Read:Meet 55-year-old Mugdali Tirki, Serving As Nurse In A Village Of Chhattisgarh Since 10 Years

Awards And Honours For Phoolbasan Yadav

Phoolbasan Yadav has received various notable awards and honours for her exemplary social initiatives. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2012. Yadav also received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award from the JL Bajaj Foundation, Mumbai, in 2008, and the Stri Shakti Samman from the Women and Child Development Department of the Indian government in 2009. Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured her with the Swachhta Samman in 2017 for her endeavours in the field of sanitation. The Chattisgarh government has also awarded Yadav with the Minimaata Rajya Alankaran (2004-5).

Currently, Yadav is a member of the Chattisgarh government. Previously, she also served as a member of Chattisgarh’s Yojana Aayog and as Brand Ambassador of the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna.

Phoolbasan Yadav’s indomitable spirit and a desire to bring about collective good have helped countless women achieve economic independence. Additionally, her efforts have eradicated several social vices in Chattisgarh. Truly, Phoolbasan Yadav is an inspiration for every Indian woman who wishes to stand on her own feet and aim for the sky.

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