Tuesday May 17, 2022
A 28-year-old girl from Mumbai, India, who used to sell flowers with her father has been admitted to the University of California for a PhD, The Times Bureau reported.
Sarita Mali is currently pursuing PhD in Hindi Literature at the Indian Language Center at Jawaharlal Nehru University and is the youngest scholar there. She has completed all her previous degrees at the same university.
Mali used to accompany her father selling flowers at different festivals like Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Dussehra.
According to Jani News, she grew up in a slum near the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai and together the father-daughter duo earned hardly three hundred rupees a day by selling flowers.
Mali's father came from Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh where his caste was considered among the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
"I think there are ups and downs in everyone's life [...] I was born in a society where problems were the most important part of my life," Mali said.
Along with her education, she would make flower garlands for her father.
Mali's father is the only breadwinner of the family that includes Mali, her elder sister, and two younger brothers.
"JNU was the turning point of my life," said Mali.
"I don't know where I would have been if I hadn't got admission to this place," she added.
Mali urges the government to develop more public-funded universities to support affordable education.
She said that while some people were inspired by her, others were conditioned to believe that her father was doing a "small job."