15th Oct 2021   |   Glow & Lovely Careers   |     |  
3 min read

Nirmal Chandal : “The Ekal Nari”

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At the age of 23, a widow accused by society as evil single-handedly changed the lives of 16000 other widows.

Forming an organization Ekal Nari Shakti Sanghatan, she supported them mentally and gave them social rights and social security.  

This woman has set an example to keep going, no matter what life brings to you!

Opportunity knocks at the door.   

Her friend came by and told her about the opportunity that she could not miss out. SUTRA (Social Uplift Through Rural Action ), an organization that works towards rural upliftment, provided job opportunities for women.

This raised Nirmal’s hope. She immediately applied for the job. Nirmal was expecting a clerical-level job at Sutra. But she was only a matric pass.

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She had never seen a laptop or a cheque in her entire life. But she believed in herself and was full of positivity. Surprisingly, she got a job as an accountant at a monthly salary of Rs 350. This was the turning point of Nirmal’s life.

Determined Nirmal was doing very well at her job. Her other colleagues and seniors were noticing her work. It was a small village, so the news spread like a fire and everyone came to know about her progress.

A day that changed everything

Her ashamed parents, not so happy with their daughter’s decision, offered her a monthly help of Rs.500. In return, they asked her to leave the job. But she could not let anyone stand beyond her self respect. She denied. “If I financially depend on someone, they will have control over my life”, she said.

Society accused her of being ‘shameless’, but she didn’t bother because she had something big planned for herself.

One fine day, SUTRA sent her to Rajasthan to attend widows meet. This march aimed to go to the chief minister’s house and ask for the rights of single or widows. She was amazed to see women like her wearing colourful clothes and jewellery.

By staying amongst the women having the same sufferings as her, she was very discomforted. She noticed that be it of any region; women have to suffer unnecessarily.   

The rise of Ekal Nari Shakti Sanghatan.

After returning from Rajasthan, she decided to keep a similar meet of widowed women from her locality. Nirmal was indeed a woman who always helped others. After that, she collaborated with various NGOs.

Around 120 widowed women gathered at the SUTRA premises. They did a silent protest by applying sindoor and bindis.

Nirmal and these women discussed a variety of topics. Like how to lodge an FIR, self-help groups to start small businesses, etc. She then named this organization Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan. She also created a WhatsApp group that shared job vacancies. Later more and more women from various districts joined this group.

Nirmal did not stop there; she wanted to secure the lives of all the women in her organization.

She further went on a foot march to Shimla at the CM house and presented her 25 point plan. This plan included demands for land, income, jobs, pension, seats in elections, etc. Out of which, health insurance, ration cards for single women, and social security were implemented in the whole state. Women from age 19-90 years were all benefited from this gigantic move by Nirmal.

The Nirmal who was made to sit in a dim-lit room and blamed for killing her husband made the following progress for other widows like her:

  • Pension increased from rs.200 to RS. 300 for windows
  • Single women got their ration cards.
  • Health check-ups up to rs.5,00,000 were free for single women.
  • Educational funds increased under Mother Terresa Asahaya Matri Sambhal Yojana.

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Nirmal and her organization have been successful in breaking the stereotype. But yet they still face accusations and hatred from society. But none of these is going to stop her. Nirmal is 56 at present, but her heart is still 23. Giving land rights to women is her next goal. The Ekal Nari is never going to give up!


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