Dr. Smt.Rajeswari Devadass, 64 years old belongs to a small hamlet named Bearhatty in the Hill District of Nilgiris Tamil Nadu, India. After obtaining a Master in Science (M.Sc., Child Development and Family Relationship) and Bachelor in Education, she worked as a teacher in Good Shepherd Public School and St.Hildas School in Udhagamandalam. Even while in college she was totally involved in social work. The subjects studied being social welfare and exceptional children, entailing extensive field work in rural and remote areas gave her the opportunity to interact with marginalized and downtrodden section. As a teacher she had always made it a point to impart patriotism and moral values to the children not merely content with teaching the subjects.
Then she was actively encouraged by her beloved husband Sri.Morachan Devadass, who is since deceased, in social service extending help to the poor, needy and the downtrodden in this Hill District, in the field of education and health to the extent permitted by her modest resources. In October 2006, there was a local Panchayat Election. Having been encouraged and urged by her son D.Vivekanand she contested the election. Appreciating her work, people of Bearhatty Panchayat elected her as their President, in a multi-cornered contest.
In Bearhatty Panchayat, there are 13 hamlets with a population of 3,265 people. In the first term in office as the President of Bearhatty Panchayat with the co-ordination and co-operation of the Government, she has organised transparent Gram Sabha meeting on a regular basis. This is a very powerful workshop for the public, in the WARDS and through the direct interaction with the people where she can understand their various needs and charted out course of action apt for enhancing the quality of their life. In addition to total implementation of the Government supported schemes, she has been extending help to the needy whenever and wherever needed some times stretching the limits of the modest resource at her disposal.
She has been able to involve people of her Panchayat to help themselves in matters relating to their health and well being through medical and health awareness camps such as AIDS awareness programs, HIV identification programs, Eye camps, camps for differently abled people, identification of Cancer ailment affecting women like Breast cancer and Cervical cancer, and provide support to the affected people.
Every year torrential rains of November - December months leave in their trail, houses of lower class and the downtrodden people of this Hill District, whose unique bio-sphere conspicuously vulnerable on account of mindless assault on it, destroyed. Invariably, stretching the limits of her modest resources along with receiving voluntary and liberal contribution from individuals of this region and in coordination with NGO’s of this region like RED CROSS SOCIETY, RDO TRUST, YUVA PARIVARDHAN, KASA ORGANISATION, ISLAND TRUST and SARAS TRUST. She has helped the affected people's rehabilitation almost immediately with utmost care and attention to prevent epidemics.
In appreciation of her service to them as their President, the people of Bearhatty Panchayat have given her another opportunity to serve them more, by electing her as their President for the second consecutive term. In appreciation of her service, she has been given the following awards.
- Central and State Government Awards
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the proposal of this Ministry for implementing the centrally sponsored scheme of Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan (RGPSA) during the 12th Five Year plan period. As per the provisions of the scheme, a Central Steering Committee (CSC) will provide overall policy direction of the scheme and also monitor the progress of the scheme.
The membership in centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Sashaktikaran Abhiyan RGPSA was granted to her by the Government of India taking to consideration, obviously after verification of her work in field of service to humanity and having been satisfied with it, purely on merit. She was totally overwhelmed by the gesture of Government of India as she was the only President from TamillNadu out of 12,500 Panchayats. She took the call in all humility and pressed ahead her work with sincerity to prove worthy of the membership granted to her.