At the Id on May 14, when then Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh declared Malerkotla as the 23rd district of Punjab, he also pledged a 500 crore rupee medical college, a college for women, a bus stop and a police station for women to its inhabitants. Many first-time voters, especially young women, said access to higher education was their main problem. Among them, a 19-year-old from the Maler region said: “I want to be a doctor but my parents fear for my safety if I study outside Malerkotla, so I will instead go to a local university, even if I don’t. can’t do much. later. Since the local government university doesn’t even offer an MSc, I can never hope to get this degree. Many young women like me will think about it when they go to vote in the Vidhan Sabha elections. ”
Aasma from Kamal Cinema Road said, “I got a masters degree from a local college and wanted to continue my education, but even the nearest university is as far away as Patiala and my safety comes first for the family. It could be the story of every girl in Malerkotla. ”
Her father, badge maker Shafiq Rana, said: “Parents find it difficult to send their daughters outside on their own. I would love to let her continue her studies, if they were in town. The girls who left Malerkotla before faced many challenges. ”
Attorney Zarka Jaffery, coordinator of Samvidhan Bachao Sangharsh Morcha, said: “It was not easy when I went to Sangrur for the LLB. During the winter exams there would be no buses and the campus would be deserted after dark. If by any chance a bus passed, there would be drunks on board. Things like these discourage parents from sending their daughters out, and that’s also why they marry them young. We are not a liberal society.
She said: “The girls were happy when the girls’ college and the medical college were announced, but, more than six months later, the plans have not progressed.” Punjab Minorities Commission vice-chairman Muhammad Rafi admitted Malerkotla was not a liberal, but said the women’s college and the medical college will hopefully make a difference. He said: “Malerkotla has a mixed government college that offers BA and BSc. It offers MA but not MSc. The women’s college is under construction but BA classes have started at an academy in Urdu, while the medical college project is involved in a legal case. ”
Anam Waseem, 23, studying in Ferozepur to become an Ayurvedic doctor, said her parents were also concerned for her safety when she entered university. She said: “If there were better colleges in Malerkotla, a lot of girls wouldn’t have to stop studying. I will think about that when I go to vote.”