Determined pursue higher studies at any cost: Sugali tribal children of Nallamalla forests – Andhra Pradesh

Sugali tribal children of inaccessible Palutla village in the Nallamalla forests are a determined lot — to pursue higher studies at any cost.

It is only by helicopter polling officials reach this place once in five years and politicians in general prefer to skip canvassing for votes in the village with a population of 1,100 people as there is no guarantee of returning by the unmotorable road from Yerragondapalem.

These students trek the whole day through the dense forests in groups, unmindful of threat from wild animals, including big cats and bears. It takes about 12 hours to reach Chinarutla for onward journey by bus to tribal welfare hostels in Prakasam and other districts. […]

Ragunatha Naik, who has completed B.Tech from JNTU Kakinada and now preparing for the Indian Engineering Services after a brief stint with an infrastructure major in Bangalore, is the main source of inspiration now for the tribal students in the village to make a mark in studies.

“We cannot expect politicians or bureaucrats to improve our village. We want to come up in life by pursuing higher education and return to our village to ensure all-round development,” Mr. Ragunatha Naik says. “Two of my fellow students from the village are pursuing research in Central universities, he adds.

Ninteen-year-old Bali Bai, one of the eight siblings studying B.Sc says “Each one of us aims to study well and come up in life. We will return and improve the lives of fellow tribal persons.”

“Our parents encourage both boys and girls equally to pursue higher education,” adds 14-year-old Gayathri Bhai.

K Potharaju, the lone teacher in the Ashrama Patashala in the village, is the main motivator for these students.

So also are the students’ parents, who are into agriculture and are economically in a better position compared to the Chenchu tribals who also inhabit the Nallamalla forests.

Source: The Hindu : Today’s Paper / NATIONAL : Tribal students a determined lot
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Date Visited: 11 August 2021

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“The smart boy or clever girl who is deprived of the opportunity of schooling, or who goes to a school with dismal facilities (not to mention the high incidence of absentee teachers), not only loses the opportunities he or she could have had, but also adds to the massive waste of talent that is a characteristic of the life of our country.” – Nobel Awardee Amartya Sen in The Argumentative Indian (Penguin Books, 2005), p. 344

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