Stories of Shruti’s Struggles and Successes
Shruti was born on 2nd January 1975 in Varanasi city. She was born in a conservative upper caste family. Her father was a Development Officer in Life Insurance Company. She is the eldest among four members, namely one brother and three sisters. She studied up to intermediate (Pre-University studies) at Basant Kanya Vidyalaya founded by Annie Beasant of the Theosophical Society of India.
Right from her childhood, Shruti used to get disturbed with social anomalies, exploitation and very specially looking at the big gulf between the rich and the poor where the poor of Varanasi city go to bed without food. She, in spite of the opposition from her parents gave food to the poor and the deprived.
On 22 Feb. 1992, she got married to Dr.Lenin. After this, in spite of the many pressures from her in-laws, she daily walked two kilometers to Uday Pratap College and completed her graduation. In 1994 she along with her husband was expelled from the house by her in-laws and lived in extreme constraints in a rented room.
From 1996 to 1997 she was the District General Secretary of Bachpan Bachao Andolan ( Save Childhood Movement), a national movement against child labour. PVCHR was formed in 1996 in collaboration with famous Hindi poet Gyanendra Pati, internationally well known Sarod maestro Vikash Maharaj, Historian Dr. Mahendra Pratap Singh and Human Rights activist and her husband Dr. Lenin.
On 24 Jan 1998, a son was born to Shruti and Lenin and they named him Kabir, the name of the great poet saint who sang songs on communal harmony and against social evils in the 16th century.
In 1999, Shruti became the managing trustee of Jan Mitra Nyas(People Friendly Trust), the governing body for running PVCHR. Shruti is the co-initiator of Jan Mitra villages, which empower the dalit communities and very specially women and children based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of United Nations Assembly of 1948.
Because PVCHR could not take up all the cases of human rights violation of women, Shruti founded Savitri Ba Phule Women’s Forum. Savitri Ba Phule is the first Indian woman to become a teacher and founder of the first shelter home for the battered women victims. When her husband died Savitri went against the social traditions by accompanying the dead body and also lighted the pyre. The Forum celebrates 10th March as Indian Women’s Day, as this is the death anniversary of Savitri Ba Phule. Today in UP many other organizations have followed Shruti and celebrate this day very solemnly.
Savitri Ba Phule Women’s Forum has initiated discussions on caste discrimination, gender discrimination, patriarchy, Brahminical oppression etc. and thus empowers the women members to withstand these evils.
Shruti’s younger sister Anupam, who is a divorcee had to return to her home. Her brother started troubling her even to the extent of physical violence, for the fear that she would claim for ancestral property rights, which would be his own if she were to remain in her in laws’ home. Shruti had to step in against her own brother and take legal action by which today her brother is out of home and Anupam is living a respectable life herself fighting against social exploitation of women. Shruti is the model for Anupam and many other women.