Having been in Vizag for many years, Jayshree Hatangadi is the name that comes up when one speaks of heritage walks in the city. Meet the crusader who has dedicated herself to causes within the city and around.
Having worked across the country, my tryst with Vizag restarted in 2006 when I returned post-retirement to start primary schools in the remote tribal areas. In 2008, I became the Director of School Year Abroad’s Indian operations. We would take US students with a US curriculum for extensive learning from the host country, in our case India. Along with the usual subjects they would learn everything that was culturally rich to gain from our country. After this program I got deep rooted into the aspects of Vizag’s Heritage and became an INTACH Life Member. Today I enjoy taking Vizag residents and their visitors for the ‘Vizagapatnam One Town Heritage Walks’ , understanding the learning and living of monks at 2nd & 3rd BCE Buddhist Heritage Sites and sharing the essence of life, tradition and language of our district’s tribal areas. I am involved with 3 Residential Tribal GTWA schools and their villages. The attempt is to assist these tribal girls to help improve their education and bring in hygiene and literacy wherever I can. And the impact that little effort creates is the impetus that moves me forward.’
Challenges and Agenda 2017
Many of us see things around us that we don’t like. We often only complain about them, but I try to take action in whatever little way I can. So I choose a few causes, and then do whatever I can to make things better. Whether it be heritage walks, education for tribal schools or saving heritage sites, I just go ahead and do what needs to be done. I’ve never really faced problems per se. In fact people are supportive and welcoming. The administration, whether it is the Collector, ITDA, all extend their support.
We’ve always been a matriarchal society, where the role of the mother has been central. I think gender bias was never there in the past. In fact, it is a more recent phenomenon that’s come about with media and television which show the bias more than anything else. Even in the tribal areas, I don’t see discrimination against girls and women. All work in the fields, and work at home, as equals. In my life too, I haven’t been discriminated based on my gender.
Recently at a mall with my mother, the product-promoter girls walked up to me, and seeing my greying hair, and wrinkles started selling me creams and hair dye. I told them that these wrinkles have come from the numerous stories I had, and that I love myself. It’s grand and beautiful to be old at 60. You have the wrinkles that have been made of stories and experiences. So my message to women is that they love themselves for who they are. And I’d wish that every woman ask herself the question, ‘When was the last time that you did something for the first time?’ It’s a question that has always persuaded me to be fresh and different. It’s important to do something new every day.