Varanasi: Dr Subodh Kumar Singh, a noted plastic surgeon and director of GS Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital and Trauma Centre, shared a photograph of two smiling sisters on his Facebook wall on the International Women’s Day (March 8) on Sunday.
The girls taking a selfie in picture are a 24-year-old Mahazabi and her younger sister Saba, who hail from an orthodox Muslim family living in Saraiyya locality.
Dr Singh also explains what made him to post this picture of these loving girls. He writes this is no ordinary photograph. This is a long story of fight against poverty, starvation, social exploitation, suppression and discrimination. Mahazabi and Saba fought all that, in a very regressive society and brought up their family out of those shackles. The girls who never went out to Ganga Ghat, or Sarnath or anywhere, who were not allowed to talk to strangers or go out, even to the collage, are now independent, educated and supporting their family, participating in social functions and can click a selfie….. a first for them.
She has eight siblings -six sisters and two brothers. Besides, she also has nine step bothers and sisters from the first wife of her father Mohammed Yahiya. Misfortune descended on the family after the death of her father in 2001, says Mahzabi, who was just five by then. Taking them as a burden, the step mother and her children, who were grown up, refused to extend any support to her family. The entire family was dependent on her mother Tassavar Jehan, who used to earn Rs. 100 a day from saree cutting work.
Mahazabi is thankful to Dr Singh who employed her in his hospital. But continuing the job was also a big challenge for her due to social pressure. She has been working in his hospital since 2015. Dr. Singh also gave a job to her younger sister in 2017. He says that her sheer grit, determination and fighting spirit and immense self-respect, she has brought her family out of poverty and starvation, and carved a good future for herself and her family.
“Mahazabi required just a little support and we solidly stood beside her, convincing her mother and family and neighbourhood, to let her work. We provided her environment that was supportive of her growth and continuation of her work and study. And, she changed everything, and continued to study and did her graduation and masters, while working with us. She has suffered a lot, faced a lot and fought a lot. With her vulnerable situation and social pressures, it was not a small achievement,” says Dr Singh.
Dr. Singh also penned down her story, which has been published in the Hindi section of pratilipi.com.
(Pics and video by Sanjay Gupta)