Chhavi Rajawat – The Lady Sarpanch of Soda Village

She is considered to be the face changer of rural India, she has been awarded as the Young Leader of India she is a woman of substance and is strong enough to break off the dull rules and patterns conducted by a male dominated society; she is Chhavi Rajawat the lady Sarpanch( village mayor) of Soda village, Rajasthan. Right from her childhood to her young age she has been blessed with all the good things and opportunities in her life, although she could also have opted for a very easy going life full of comforts, luxuries and money but she realized that all the good things, skills and education she has acquired so far makes her obliged to give back something to the people whom she has been connected with and also the other people of the society.

The time when she could have enjoyed her working tenure in the gigantic corporate world at that time she rather decided to do something good for the people of her own village, she thought of the improvements and development she could bring in her village. She wanted to make a better use of her education and skills, she thinks for the betterment of the country as a whole, and since she is a thoughtful person with deeper insights she could not refuse to accept the challenges and opportunity when a large number of community elders from her village Soda came to her and pleaded her to run for the post of Sarpanch (village mayor) in the forthcoming election at that time.

Chhavi’s grandfather General Raghubir Singh had served three terms as a Sarpanch of Soda village, during his working tenure he had always motivated the women members of the village to come out of their dull shells of suppression and hesitation and to become empowered. He had also immensely encouraged and supported Chhavi when she wanted to join University to pursue her higher studies and did not want to get tie up in the strings and vows of marriage. And in fact some of the influential elderly people of the village also wanted that Chhavi should participate in the elections because they wanted to bring back the remarkable experience they had with their famous leader Raghubir Singh. That was also the prime reason for why Chhavi could not refuse the proposal of the people, she was already so much inspired by her grandfather that when the community people approached her she felt like that that was the time to repay something to the village and its people. Finally in March 2010, Chhavi Rajawat won the elections against the wife of occupant Sarpanch and another woman candidate.

She was born in Soda a village situated in Rajasthan, she belongs to a prosperous family and parents, Chhavi got the privilege to pursue her studies at the Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh that is one of the most sophisticated boarding schools. Later she did her BA from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University and MBA from Pune University. After completing her studies she worked with India’s best recognized and finest companies such as The Times of India, The Carson Group of Hotels and Bharti Airtel. She was already working with telecommunication company Bharti Airtel when the idea for becoming the Sarpanch was proposed to her by the village folks. Although, she never had planned nor dreamt of becoming the Mayor of the village but, she honestly wanted to maintain the goodwill and dignity of her family that it had earned for many years from the people of the village. And moreover she was realizing that her village Soda was not making any progress for a long time now and being an educated person she felt that many improvements could be brought into the functioning of the village.

Chhavi Rajawat believes that the villages of India are the roots of the country, more than 70% of the people live in villages and for many years no significant advancements and development have been implemented in villages. She states that our villages are running backwards and the local government is the most disorganized sector of our country and while talking about the development of the nation the focus of the Government is only held on the urban areas. All the developmental schemes have been poorly executed and more of lip service has been done with regard to the rural development. Thus, when Chhavi was elected as the Sarpanch of the village she could see a long journey of responsibilities and improvements that she has to fulfil and bring respectively in the village.

On the first day as the mayor of the village Chhavi however, was little perplexed where to start from but she made a priority list in which she gave her first priority to secure a long-term supply of portable water in the village. Village Soda, relies mostly on the rain water to fulfil the need of water since it is a drought area the ground water is also contaminated and unsafe and also not suitable for irrigation. Rainwater is stored in varied number of reservoirs and ponds in the village as well as in neighbouring districts. Water scarcity was not the only problem of Soda but besides this there was a severe lack of toilets, proper teaching in school and electricity problems. The females of the village had to go to the open fields at the night time in order to defecate. In schools only three subjects were taught, Hindi, Sanskrit and Geography there was no Science, Math and English subject. Thus, Chhavi prioritized her works that she had to pursue promptly such as; providing safe drinking water to the villagers and also to the farmers for irrigation and other field works, enhancing health services, reforestation, raising job opportunities, improving education in schools, providing electricity and construction of better roads in the village.

Now Chhavi had the prime challenge in front of her and that was to raise the funds in order to accomplish the planned works but she sooner realized that the governmental funds are moving in at a very slow pace and eventually her planning is getting delayed she therefore moved her focus on the private sources for the funds and some funds were provided by her family too. She also initiated a campaign for donations to build up 600 toilets in the village. This initiative of hers was much praised by the women of Soda but her forerunners criticized her too for making the toilet issue as a prime priority. Nevertheless, this young woman knew what was in the best of the village thus she also got associated with the German software company SAP in order to cultivate an internet portal in her village. This portal was supposed to provide the villagers the information about a vast range of governmental services also including the information about public funds, marriage, and birth and death certificates. Chhavi also wanted to promote basic computer literacy among the villagers and youngsters of Soda.

She is very determined to foster virtual learning in the schools of her village; she wants to rebuild the ruined school buildings so that the students get a nice, cleaner and better atmosphere for studying. She wants to increase the salaries and wages of the school teachers and other staff members as incentives so that they feel motivated but Chhavi also understands that our Indian Bureaucratic system has become severely corrupted where the good actions are always delayed, the civil servants do not bother also do not feel ashamed for delaying the progress and developmental tasks of the country. But at last she knows that she would certainly bring prosperity and progress in her village Soda, she is determined and passionate about her work and duties and the ardent side of her personality was seen when she addressed to the delegates in an international poverty conference at the United Nations in New York and challenged them to give up their elite lives for one year and help her to accomplish few of the UN Millennium Development Goals in her village. The audience was astonished to see Chhavi’s confidence and lost every doubt about her accreditations.

Such a passion is demanded from the youth of India in the present time, who makes such an incredible use of acquired education, skills, and knowledge for the betterment and development of the society and the country. Chhavi Rajawat represents the strong image of women empowerment and showing to the world that the chords of growth and transformation in the society are into the hands of the Youth, it is good to become a loyal youth rather than a part of the youth that only thinks about its personal growth.



  1. The story of Chhavi Rajawat is extra-ordinary. When the corporate world is hitting India with luring packages, a girl like her opting to be a village mayor is commendable. In a race to win the life, we have become selfish and ignore to return what we inherited from the society. In such an environment, a woman of her status opts to carry on the family legacy for the betterment of the society is appreciable.


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