Kerala : She was born with a crippling physical disability, as one of the countless endosulfan victims. At the age of three, she lost her mother. Surgeries, in disturbing frequency, interrupted her studies. But now, 21-year-old P. Sruthi intends to leave all the struggles behind and be a physician.
Sruthi spent her childhood at Vaninagar in Enmagaje grama panchayat, widely known to have the highest concentration of endosulfan victims. She has just two fingers in her right hand and four in the left, and has an artificial limb in place of her right leg, below the knee. Financial and physical difficulties never came in the way of an enviable academic record, though.
She completed her Plus Two course from the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Mulleria, last year, and appeared for the Karnataka medical entrance examination this year, qualifying to pursue higher studies at Government Homoeopathy Medical College, Bengaluru. Finance could have played spoilsport since the expenses for the five-year course would come to around Rs.5 lakh and her family was in no position to shell out the amount. But the Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association gifted her with Rs.1.60 lakh. Help poured in from organisations and individuals too.
She gets a measly Rs.1,700 as pension, being an endosulfan victim, and is banking on the State government to provide her the financial help to complete the course, which is set to commence in August.
Sruthi married K.N. Jagadeesh, a helper in a private tourist bus, in 2013 at the age of 19, and stays in a thatched house with her husband’s family in remote Kuntar. Her father, Tharanath Rao, is a casual labourer.
Her aim — to provide succour to people who suffer from a host of mysterious diseases, to help them get cheaper medication and lead a dignified life.