The Woman Who Brought Drinking Water, Toilets To A Lost Panchayat

Five years ago, Melamarungoor, a panchayat in Sivagangai district, was starved of funds and official attention. Panchayat president Mazharkodi Dhanasekar built 650 toilets making the panchayat open defecation-free, brought water to villages that were dry and set up a reverse osmosis system worth Rs 300,000–all with funds that she had to lobby hard for.   … Continued

In A Sylvan Valley, One Woman Reveals, Changes Lives Obscured By Beauty

As panchayat president for Sittilinghi in Dharmapuri district, 39-year-old Tenmozhi built a Rs 30-crore bridge (in photograph), health centre, battled child marriage and now lobbies for a higher-secondary school that will allow girls an alternative to marrying early.   Sittilinghi, Dharmapuri district (Tamil Nadu): Nestled in a sylvan valley in northwestern Tamil Nadu and surrounded … Continued

Krishnaveni’s Story And The Era Of Women Panchayat Presidents

P Krishnaveni, the Dalit former president of the Thalaiyuthu panchayat, in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, lost fingers, a ear and was left for dead when she challenged caste and gender hierarchies. The attack made her more determined than ever. She eventually won the support of other castes and communities by focussing on the development needs … Continued