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First Woman In Koraga Tribe To Have PhD.

Ms Sabitha

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  Mangalore University Assistant Professor in Sociology Ms Sabitha, will become the first woman from the community, to obtain a PhD degree. She will receive her certificate in the next convocation of Mangalore University. The university has now awarded her with the PhD provisionally and a notification on this was issued on February 17, 2022. The convocation is likely to be held in April.

  Ms Sabitha has done her doctoral thesis on “Evaluation of policies and programmes of tribal development of Karnataka State – a situational analysis”. This thesis deals with a situation of her own Koraga tribe and also Malekudiya tribe, which are two tribal communities in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. With the guidance of a former Professor of Sociology at the university Jogan Shankar.

  A native of Gudmi village in Udupi district, Ms Sabitha, has gone through humiliation and untouchability like several of her community members. “Like fellow members of the community, I too desisted in my initial days from identifying myself as Koraga because of the fear of ostracisation. But with the studies I pursue having landed me in a good position, I am now proud of community identity,” she said. 

  Having lost her parents at a young age, Ms Sabitha and her younger brother, who has completed a diploma in graphic designing, were brought up by their grandmother. “I vividly remember my days in primary school days when Koraga children were made to sit on the floor. My classmates did not mingle with us as we took part in customs like Ajalu and our parents did odd jobs like cleaning sewage line,” she said. The situation forced her to discontinue her studies for two years after Class 10. 

  Ms Sabhita thanks activist Ashok Shetty for bringing her out of the woods during her work with the latter’s Samagra Grameena Ashrama in Kaup in the Udupi district. She then completed her PU in Udupi and later bachelor’s from Besant Women’s College, Mangalore. She completed her master’s in Sociology in 2011 and cleared NET to join the university in 2013, Overcoming all her odds.

  After her appointment, she brought her younger brother, who had also discontinued his study for four years, to live with her. She counselled him and made him do his Diploma in Graphic designing. “He has shaped up as a good artist,” Ms Sabhita said.

  Many from the Koraga tribe, still continue to face harassment, ostracisation and they are living in poor conditions. “Even a handful of the educated among the community are pushed towards doing odd jobs done by community members as there is lack of employment opportunities for them outside,” she said.

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