The Padma Shri Awards were announced on January 25, on the eve of Republic Day. The name of Usha Devi of Rajasthan is also included in this list. Usha, who once worked as a manual scavenger in the city of Alwar, is today a well-known name in the cleanliness mission. Usha, who works for cleanliness, has travelled to five countries including America.
In the year 2008, wearing the clothes made by her, a foreign model did catwalk in the program organized by the UN under Mission Sanitation. Usha has also tied Rakhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after meeting him.
After the announcement of the Padma Shri awards, Usha said that she was married at the age of just 10 years. She used to work as a manual scavenger at a young age. She had to deal with filth and a bad life while washing the scavengers every day. No one even gave her water at work. In summer, when she was thirsty, she was given water from afar. Touching someone's gold was considered a crime. Accidentally touching someone was threatened and shunned by saying bad words.
Usha, a resident of Hazuri Gate in Alwar city, was associated with Bindeshwar Pathak's 'Nai Disha' organization in the year 2003.
After that Usha's life changed completely. Her works done under the campaign of cleanliness are being appreciated across the country today. Usha said that there is a difference between night and day in the life of earlier and now.
Earlier she used to work as a manual scavenger along with hundreds of women from other societies. Now leaving this work, she has become self-sufficient by making pickles and jute bags and doing other work including beautician.
There has also been a change in the financial condition of the house. Usha of Alwar is currently the President of Sulabh International. Usha has tied rakhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice.
After joining Naya Disha Sanstha in the Alwar district, the life of 157 manual scavengers changed completely. Usha is giving higher education to her daughter Aman. She is a student of BA's final year.
According to Usha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the second big leader after Mahatma Gandhi, who himself raised a broom and launched a campaign of cleanliness in the country. She said that she has got the award for her work related to cleanliness. On the question of becoming an icon for women, Usha says that she has seen filth, stink, and damn life. She didn't want to live at that time. She lived her life by dying every day.
Usha told that today she is invited to weddings by the families of upper castes. She is made to sit in the house with respect. If you worship in the temple, then no one interrupts.
This has given her a proud life now. Due to her, now other women of the society have also given up the work of manual scavenging. It is the happiest thing otherwise today her daughter and daughters-in-law would have been doing the same thing. Expressing gratitude to Bindeshwar Pathak, she said that in the year 2002, 36 women in Alwar had opposed the practice of manual scavenging by joining Nayi Disha Sanstha.
After the announcement of getting the Padma Shri award, there is an atmosphere of happiness in Usha's house. Family and relatives are celebrating happiness by offering sweets after worshipping at home.