Let me take this opportunity of introducing myself to you. My name is Disha. I was born and brought up in Delhi, India. It gives me immense pleasure to share with you this news that I have got an offer from Oxford University to do D.Phil in History, commencing from 10th October 2021.
I am the first generation and the first person in my extended family to go for higher studies, with many people simply dropping out of school due to financial responsibilities. My parents always did their best so that I could study. I completed my graduation and post-graduation in Anthropology from Hansraj College, University of Delhi where I studied subjects like Religion and Society, Archaeology, Genetics and Genomics, among others. Anthropology taught me to be unbiased and unprejudiced and to look at all ethnic practices equally. The mandatory field works enabled me to visit different states and work with local people. I also happened to do an internship at National Foundation for India that empowered me to work in rural Bengal. The various field exposures gave me the idea of what I wanted to do in my life and what I was capable of. They exposed me to different societal conditions and broadened my horizon of understanding.
My proposed research aims to understand the socio-cultural and historical factors that gave rise to the wide acceptance of prostitution within the Banchada community, included in the ‘Scheduled Caste’ category in India (Untouchables). The women of this community are known to be indulged in sex work which creates a vicious cycle of economic deprivation and discrimination. With this study, I plan to explore the intersectionality of caste, class and gender. My goal is to provide educational awareness to the communities engaged in prostitution and build a network of women who come from excluded and oppressed communities and connect them with organizations and agencies that can help them in their skill development and livelihood enhancement like State Women Commissions. Also, I would work towards making these women an important part of the political discourse so that the interaction of caste, class and gender become part of public life and does not go unnoticed.
When my grandfather migrated to Delhi in search of some work, he had no idea that education is the only way by which we can change our life. I am delighted to receive this opportunity of studying at Oxford University because very few people get this chance in their life. This is an unparalleled fortune that no one would ever want to leave but, it is not possible either to go for it without financial support. It took me almost 1.5 years to work for the application for Oxford.
After receiving an offer from Oxford, I have been trying for various scholarships but to no avail. The current pandemic situation has made it worse with many scholarship portals not opening this year. Now when I am close to my deadline of declaring my declaration, I see no other option but to seek help from people who can help me. My father is the only breadwinner in my family working with a small-time private company in the supply chain department and burdened with a lot of familial responsibilities. In addition, both my parents suffer from chronic illness and also have my sibling dependent on them. Therefore there is little to no financial assistance that my family can offer me. I have been working hard for this time and, it now depends on the assistance that I get.
I humbly request you to support me in any way you can. The fee being raised would pay my tuition fee for three years. Even a small contribution means a lot. Your support can be influential for girls like me who dream of flying high and studying but lose hope because of their socio-economic conditions.
If there is anything that you want to ask, please feel free to mail me at email@example.com