Gadag woman who sold her mangalsutra

Living in the concrete jungle we usually forget the perils of those without high-speed internet and access to state-of-the-art infrastructure. There has been a lot of talk of gaps in learning and education due to the pandemic. These are not debates, this is now a reality we all face for the rest of this year and the next as well.

A woman in Karnataka's district, Gadag was forced to pawn her mangalsutra so as to afford a TV so that her children could learn. This story touched many hearts and shows to an extent the devastating impact of the pandemic on education in India. 

Woman sells mangalsutra to continue her kids' education

Education has become essential, for all children and the country. However, education has faced a huge hurdle amid COVID-19. For children it's become a necessity to continue, for parents, it's become a challenge. While many have seen the way ahead in online education and learning via TV, for many families owning a TV or a computer is a luxury.

Kasturi Chalawadi lives in Nargunda taluk of Gadag, in Karnataka. She is the mother of children and the wife of a daily wage labourer. The family has been severely hit by the pandemic, and are currently facing a financial crisis. 

Her kids' education has also been suffering due to the pandemic, they would go to the neighbour's house to watch TV, as classes are being conducted on the Chandana TV channel for students. Following the session, students are tested on the session for comprehension. Her son in class 8 and daughter in class 7 were struggling, she told media, "I spoke to their teacher who said watch the classes on TV, when I told him I don't have a TV, he asked, how do we do this then?" 

Children of Gadag woman who sold her mangalsutra
ANI on Twitter

To be able to purchase a TV, Kasturi visited a local pawnbroker with the intention of selling her mangalsutra, the pawnbroker who was sensitive to her situation, gave her Rs 20,000 against her mangalsutra for Rs 14,000. She bought a TV with that money for Rs 14,000. The pawnbroker allowed her to pay the money back in her own time. 

Some politicians have come forward to help the woman, and HD Kumaraswamy reached out on Twitter saying that her story made him emotional, "Two children in 7th and 8th grades of four children have tears in their eyes due to the lack of TV at home for their online education. Hundreds of such instances have been quiet and unrelenting news that poor parents are suffering from coronary times. Our society and the government need to be careful not to let such incidents recur. I urge the Government to immediately implement a comprehensive plan to address the risks of online education and the problems faced by poor parents."

District Minister CC Patil donated Rs 20,000 to her and MLA Zameer Khan has given her Rs 50,000.