Tribal Woman From Irula Joins Tamil Nadu Bar Association

M Kaliyammal
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M Kaliyammal

Highlights

  • She overcame the obstacles of being born into one of the most underdeveloped villages and eventually became the first tribal woman from Anaikatti and the second person ever from her community to wear the black robe.
  • Kaliyammal's parents, Maruthan and Aantichi, were both coolie workers, hence she never had an easy time pursuing his education.

M Kaliyammal, a 30-year-old Irula tribal member from Koppanari settlement in Coimbatore's Anaikatti Hills, reached the end of a difficult road on August 30 this year when the Tamil Nadu Bar Association issued its most recent enrolment list.

She overcame the obstacles of being born into one of the most underdeveloped villages and eventually became the first tribal woman from Anaikatti and the second person ever from her community to wear the black robe.
Kaliyammal's parents, Maruthan and Aantichi, were both coolie workers, hence she never had an easy time pursuing his education. She attended the settlement's primary school up to Class 5, then transferred to the government high school in Anaikatti, where she attended classes till Class 10 daily while walking 4 kilometres to and from school.
The trip got even more difficult as she continued her education in the Seeliyur Government School, 18 kilometres away from her village and located close to Tholampalayam. If it weren't for the support of a few good Samaritans throughout the years, money would have also been a hurdle. They assisted her in enrolling in the LLB programme in 2014, which she truly wanted to pursue for her people, and in the BA Economics programme at the Government Arts College in Coimbatore.
Kaliyammal explained that a lawyer frequently visited our village when she was in Class 7 and interacted with us there. He helped them with their legal matters. Then, she made the decision to pursue law in order to lead her people and secure their basic rights.
However, once her father had a paralysis shortly after she joined LLB, things got more more difficult. Since then, he hasn't gone to work. She has also experienced seizures for a long time.
With the help of volunteers and her mother's income, they managed to get by. The Government Arts College instructors, volunteers Sampathkumar and AM Sudhagar, and a nurse in Kaliyammal's village named Jayalakshmi were all honoured for their steadfast assistance.
K Kalaiyarasan, secretary of the Coimbatore Bar Association, praised Kaliyammal on her enormous accomplishment and noted that barely one or two advocates from tribal communities are practising in Coimbatore. According to N Thirumurthy, a tribal activist who works to promote tribal education in the regions of Coimbatore and Nilgiris expressed her views that students from tribal communities pursue a law degree very infrequently.

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