30 June 2019
New Delhi: It's not easy to make it into Parliament without a family name and if one is a woman it is even tougher even to find a foothold in public life. However, for this doctor from Odisha, the journey from the Odisha Assembly to Lok Sabha took just five years.
One of the 78 women Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha (a record representation), the transition for Rajashree Mallick of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) from being a pathologist to a public representative has been smooth.
She now inspires other women to walk out of their comfort zones. "I want to tell all my daughters, mothers, aunts to stand up and do their work with a positive frame of mind. Hard work is the key to success and one day it will bear fruit," she said.
Rajashree, 55, and a mother of two, was working in a government hospital in Cuttack when BJD offered her a ticket to contest Assembly elections in 2014. Her only public interface till then for more than two decades was her service as a doctor.
"The only thing I had was my 23 years of service as a doctor. I decided to take the plunge as I thought politics is a good platform to widen my area of service," she said.
Her family fully backed her decision and she became a Member of the Odisha Assembly representing Tirtol.
BJD fielded her in the Lok Sabha elections this year from the Jagatsinghpur Reserved seat and she found herself in Parliament having won with a margin of over 2.5 lakh votes.
She gives her family full credit for her journey and despite her public commitments she is still very much a family person and cooks at least one meal for them each day.
"Despite my busy life, I take out time for my family and love to cook food for them. Though there is time constrain, still I cook at least one dish for my family," Mallick, who loves fish curry, told IANS.
Her husband is a retired chief engineer of Odisha government and her son has followed his father's footsteps by becoming a civil engineer while her daughter is pursuing MBA.
MD in (Pathology), Mallick is not a film buff but watches news on television or anything that she finds interesting while surfing channels.
When it comes to music though she does listen and also sing along.
Happiness has no bound for this Odia MP and her mantra is "be happy and make others happy".
"I want to live happily and also want to make others around me happy. Without happiness life is dull," she said as she adjusts to demands of being an MP.
"I am a representative of the people and it is my duty to listen to the problems and issues of the people of my constituency. They have elected me so that I take up their matters to the Parliament," said Mallick calling herself blessed as she has got whatever she had wished in her life with hard work.
"I always tell the young women of my constituency to remain protected and strong. Move ahead with a target and you will definitely reach there," she said.
In Parliament she knows what's her focus is on. "Odisha has issues with Chhattisgarh on the Mahanadi river. It is a big issue. The water has been stopped by Chhattisgarh. Apart from that, I will demand for railway projects for my state and welfare for the development of SC/ST besides special status for Odisha," she added.
The BJD has five women among its 12 members in Parliament.