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Anurupa Mukherjee is 'mother' to  girls  in Tripura.

Tripura Adivasi Mahila Samithy leads young tribal girls to education and employment.

Before we go to Anurupa Mukherjee's work in Tripura, let's dwell a little on her own irrepressible spirit. For, you will experience a warm glow of affection for an India that can throw up such personalities from time to time, in unsuspecting reaches of her land. And how they go on to make India that bit better.

Restless spirit.

Anurupa was born in the 1920's in Tripura. If, for many Indians, placing Tripura prompts a scratch in the head today, in the twenties of the last century it was even more remote. It was in fact, a kingdom and Anurupa was a distant member of the ruling clan. When she was in her early teens, by a royal fiat, she and all the girls in the clan were taken off schooling and moved away from Agartala. For, the Second World War was at the doorsteps of Tripura. But she continued her education at home. Then we have a whir of events, that build for us the portrait of a restless spirit. On the day India became free in 1947, she runs up the national flag atop her house, a startling act of 'forwardness' for a young tribal girl. Then we have her joining the communists in an agitation to end monarchy; amazing, considering she herself was royalty of some sort! Next, she marries a Bengali officer of the Indian navy and moves to Delhi. She joins the Congress party. Returns to Tripura. Fights an election. It is, as I said, a whir!

But by 1953, we have an Anurupa who may have found her centre. Seeing how the tribal girls miss out on life's opportunities, Anurupa decided education was the key to a better life for these girls. And yet, most of these girls could not go to school full time. Thus began the 'coaching classes' pioneered by Anurupa. The idea is to get the girls to work at their own pace and convenience, without ever losing sight of finishing at least high school.

Coaching centres.

There are six coaching centres around the state today. For girls who want it, there is residential accommodation and a pleasant atmosphere in which to pursue their education. Till early this year, nearly a 1000 girls - 90% of them tribal - have passed the matriculation examination and many have of them have got jobs consistent with their education.

Today, Anurupa Mukherjee is 72 years old - and, 'maani' or mother. Her activities have gained new dimensions and reach wider.

She has been chosen for the sixth Bhagwan Mahaveer Award which carries a sizable prize money. Good News India never publishes a story that is not authentic. For this story we rely on the field work done by Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation. Every candidate for the Award in the short list was physically, personally verified. The jury of the Awards system was presented with field reports. What follows is the report prepared by the Foundation. It gives - in a prose that is formal- the widening sphere of Maani's work. Below the report that follows, is information by which one may contact Maani and support her work.

The Tripura Adivasi Mahila Samithy, Krishna Nagar, Agartala, Tripura was established in the year 1953 by a group of women social workers of Agartala with the goal of bringing rural tribal women into the development process.


The main objectives of the organisation are....

to promote better economic conditions for the weaker sections of the society, in particular, the women, children and destitutes, through self supporting and income generating , economic and other welfare projects;

to promote gender equality through social awareness;

to implement an integrated approach in solving the problems of developing rural communities


to specially work for the educational upliftment of the tribals.

The activities of the society, inter alia include starting of centres in the remote corners of Tripura for educating tribal women and setting up of Balwadi centres for educating children,

In addition, the Samithy is arranging condensed courses for girls who have dropped out in the middle of the education stream, to ensure that they at least acquire the qualification of 10th standard.

Most of the girls have come out successful in the examinations and have obtained worthwhile employment enabling them to stand on their own legs. In addition, the Samithy has arranged various income generating programmes such as, mushroom cultivation, leaf plate making, spice processing, sericulture, rubber nursery, animal husbandry, tailoring and weaving.

Further, the Samithy has undertaken to house destitute and orphan girls for periods upto 3 years and making them independent by imparting vocational training such as weaving, tailoring etc during their stay.

The Samithy is also implementing a project to install water tanks water starved tribal villages, to gather rain water which would otherwise go waste.

The Samithy has also been implementing in several villages, a scheme to encourage thrift among tribal women by forming small self-help groups, which finance constructive projects through small, but regular contributions collected from its members, and made available to the needy at modest rates of interest.

Thus the Samithy has established itself as an organisation deeply interested in the upliftment of tribals under the leadership of Smt.Anurupa Mukherjee, President of the Samithy.

Smt. Anurupa Mukherjee, popularly known as 'maani' or mother is 72 and the driving force behind the organisation.

Born in a conservative tribal family and married to a non-tribal [an officer of the Indian Navy] Smt. Mukherjee has been a symbol of communal harmony in the state. Her commitment to the upliftment of poor tribal women has opened a new chapter in the evolution of NGOs [Non Governmental organisations] in the development-administration of the state. She has played a significant role in the affairs of the state . and at the national level in defining and vitalising the role of women [particularly from poorer sections], in community welfare, specially in the fields of education and social service.

The Selection Jury felt that the Samithy has done an excellent job in its objective of promoting welfare of tribal women in an under-developed tribal area of the country, and has selected the Samithy for the Award under the category of Community and Social Service

Tripura Adivasi Mahila Samithy
Krishna Nagar
Agartala 799 001
Tripura State, India
Phone: 0381-224218





We regret to report that Mrs.Mukherjee passed away in October,2000. Her work however continues.