Meet Komal, the Madia tribe’s first woman doc

Nagpur: None of the rattling Maoist and police guns, nor the acute backwardness of her native village, nestling deep in the forest on the border of the Maharashtra-Chattisgarh border, could sway Komal Madavi’s determined steps.

The daughter of a farmer’s father and mother, who is a nurse at a primary health center (PHC) in the Maoist-affected district of Gadchiroli, 22-year-old Komal became the first woman doctor of the Madia tribe, one of three tribal groups identified as particularly vulnerable in the State.

Komal, a student at Yavatmal Shri Vasantrao Naik Government Medical College and Hospital, gained that distinction when the results of her final year were announced earlier this month. Her younger sister, Payal, who is studying at GMCH Nagpur, will probably follow her feat in another two years’ time.

Komal’s vision now is to open a hospital in her village that is suffering from backwardness owing to Maoist issues. “I’ve seen how my own people are suffering from even getting basic medical facilities which have always pushed me to become a doctor. Another motivation was my mom being a nurse. During my early days during school, I still wrote an essay or prepared a speech about my dream of becoming a doctor. Soon, it had started running in my blood, “an elated Komal said aspires to become a surgeon.

The siblings originate from a village where people still struggle for basic amenities and poor infrastructure. Solitary bus service is available and the nearest railway station in Telangana state is more than 100 km away. It has a small PHC to cater to the local population’s medical needs. Sironcha is more than 45 km from the nearest town and 230 km from district headquarters. The place had to be turned into a fortress during 2019 national and state elections so voting could take place.

Komal, who studied at ZP school in her village till Standard IV, would only speak Madia language when she was admitted to Dharmarao High School in Sironcha in Standard V as her mother was transferred to the new place from Zinganur. The first of many difficulties she faced was learning Marathi. She scored 84% in her board review despite the odds.

Kasa, a school dropout after Standard VII, Komal’s father may not have an academic background, but he nurtured a dream for his elder daughter. His decision to send Komal for higher secondary education in Nagpur meant another fight for her. The girl had to adapt to the life of the city and fight home-sickness too. This took a toll on her board exam score.

It also reflected in her National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) performance which she was unable to clear in 2013. “I wanted to quit but I was egged on my father. I managed to crack that easily in 2014, “Komal recalled.

Komal’s acceptance of their district’s Maoist movement is positive. “They may have been around me but never even once came in my way or bothered my family. Unlike anywhere else, one has to come here to see and feel the serene nature, the beautiful villages, and forests… Gadchiroli is more than just Maoists,’ she said.

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