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India
13 Mar 2018

Rajasthan village breaks ceiling, elects woman would-be doctor as sarpanch

A village of Bharatpur district in Rajasthan just showed its will to bring change: they elected a 24-year-old lady as their sarpanch on March 5.

The doctor in the making is the most educated woman in her village's history.

Meet Shahnaaz Khan of Garhazan village, near Mewat of Haryana, who wants to sensitize people on health and education.

In context

Gurugram: Woman would-be doctor elected sarpanch in Mewat
Shahnaaz comes from a long line of politicians

Background

Shahnaaz comes from a long line of politicians

Shahnaaz's grandfather Hanif Khan was the sarpanch of Garhazan for 55 years, before a court dismissed his candidature for forging educational documents. Shahnaaz was elected after that.

Her parents are also active in politics.

Zahida Khan, her mother, was a former MLA of Kaman constituency and her father Jalees Khan was the panchayat head.

'Shahnaaz joined politics to fulfil her grandfather's dreams'

"My family is committed towards serving the people. Shahnaaz joined politics to fulfil her grandfather's dreams. She will serve the Meo community because it is backward (OBC group)," her mother Zahida said.

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Plans

Shahnaaz wants to focus on career plus development of village

Shahnaaz, a student of Teerthanker Mahaveer Medical College and Research Center, Moradabad, is to start her internship at Gurugram's Civil Hospital soon.

She also wants to pursue post-graduation.

However, she's confident she will able to juggle studies and politics, which runs in her blood.

One of her focus points is tuberculosis, which "can be cured with a six-month course but people are unaware."

Shahnaaz's election can help improve health, education status in Bharatpur

Scope

Shahnaaz's election can help improve health, education status in Bharatpur

Shahnaaz getting elected might help change the situation in Bharatpur, where the literacy rate needs much improvement.

At 70.1%, Bharatpur is more than the state average of 66.1%, but is behind the national average of 74.04%.

Even the difference in education level between the two genders stands at 29.9%.

An educated sarpanch might also help uplift Bharatpur's Meo muslims, considered a backward community.

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