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Sudeeksha Bhati: A Studious Women’s Rights Champion, Lost Forever

As a child, Sudeeksha Bhati had campaigned against eve-teasing and tried to convince parents to educate girls.

Updated
Gender
4 min read

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Video Producer: Pratyusha Roychowdhury

Twenty-year-old Sudeeksha Bhati was pursuing her higher education at Babson College in Massachusetts on a prestigious scholarship. Fighting against all odds, facing discrimination and financial constraints, she had bagged this opportunity but it was all cut short by a fateful event.

Bhati died in a road accident in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, after allegedly facing harassment moments before her death. The US scholar was chased by two men on a bike when she was on a scooter with her uncle, according to the family.

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Defying All Odds

Sudeeksha hails from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and her father is a farmer.

Growing up, the family’s financial constraints posed a huge hurdle in her education but she persevered. She was expelled from a private school when she was nine-years-old, as her father could not pay the fees, and then joined the village primary school.

When she scored well in Class V, she secured admission in VidyaGyan, an initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation.

She was the district topper in the CBSE XII board exams in 2018, securing 98 percent in the Humanities stream. She had scored a perfect 100 in History and Economics and 99 in Geography.

Following this, Sudeeksha received a massive Rs 3.83 crore scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies in entrepreneurship at the Babson College in Massachusetts, one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States.

Sudeeksha, The Worker Bee

Sudeeksha Bhati: A Studious Women’s Rights Champion, Lost Forever
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Sudeeksha Bhati)

In an interview with NDTV back then, Sudeeksha had spoken about how continuous efforts and hard work of over five years had bagged her the scholarship.

“I believe in hard work. And I know I am focused and determined enough when I decide to achieve something. Most importantly, it is important to be down-to-earth which shows that we are ready to accept criticism and continue to improve,” she had said.

“It is possible only if you have a purpose in your mind and are determined enough to accomplish that,” Sudeeksha added, as per the media channel report.

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Sudeeksha, A Champion for Women’s Rights

Sudeeksha had always stood up for the right to education, especially for the girl child.

“This (education) did not go down well with my family and relatives as it was against the custom in my community to send a girl child to study. So, I faced financial challenges while also having to deal with issues and reservations stemming from my gender.”
Sudhiksha Bhati to NDTV
Sudeeksha Bhati: A Studious Women’s Rights Champion, Lost Forever
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Sudeeksha Bhati)

As a child, she had started a 'Voice of Women' initiative, which was a small door-to-door campaign in her village and neighbouring areas to convince parents to send their girls to schools. She had also campaigned against eve-teasing.

Her Twitter bio reads : An unapologetic advocate of women empowerment and education.

In an interview with Writersqi, she told that she was “inclined towards social entrepreneurship and providing quality education and healthcare in rural areas, irrespective of opportunity.”

From a Timid Girl, to a Multi Tasker

Bhati had shared a picture of herself from her home’s terrace during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bhati had shared a picture of herself from her home’s terrace during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Photo Courtesy: Writersqi)

She was initially interested in writing and reading and pursuing a career in journalism. But, when she took a four-week pre-college program at Lehigh University, US, she figured her strengths were in business and entrepreneurship.

When she moved to the US, she was initially nervous due to a culture shock.

“I was very confident about my academics in general, but was hesitant about my English and social skills to attend college in the US. Initially, I felt very inferior to everyone else and had a tough time. Besides, I do feel that CBSE and other Indian boards often do not prepare you enough to do well in an American college. So, my first semester was very rough, but gradually I got the feel of things, and my experience improved from the second semester onwards,” she told Writersqi.

She then began actively participating in theatre, dance troupes and the Babson students’ political group. She even organised events for the US elections and one on women in politics.

She has attended summer programs like Duke TIP (in India) and Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship (Lehigh University, USA). She as a student consultant of finance with Boston Battery LLC in Massachusetts, interned with Foundation for MetroWest and at AT&T.

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The Tough Return Due to COVID

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her college had shut down around 12 March, when students were on a spring break. Her donor had then arranged for her flight tickets to return home.

Speaking to Writersqi, she explained that her biggest challenges while taking online classes in India was the time-zone difference, internet connectivity issues, and the motivation to study amidst distractions. “I live in an open house in my village and it is difficult to isolate myself completely to participate in classes, where I am required to speak,” she had said.

But she had said that she was very happy to spend time with her family during such uncertain circumstances.

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Video Producer: Pratyusha Roychowdhury

(With inputs from NDTV, Writersqi)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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