Indore: Janak Palta, a 75-year-old Padma Shri awardee who is an inspiration for many has dedicated her whole life to educating tribal girls and women.
Nowadays, she is teaching the college students of Indore district to make natural colours from flowers and vegetables for Holi from her home in Sanawadia village in the district.
Speaking to ANI, Padma Shri awardee Palta said, "38 years ago in 1985, I started a training centre for girls from tribal and rural areas named 'Barli Rural Women's Development Institute'. On the land of 6 acres, over 6000 illiterate girls from 500 villages along with their education took training in health, social work, tailoring, printing, solar sustainable, organic farming and development of the society along with self-development."
She added that earlier she used to do the work alone, after that James McGilligan also known as Jimmy McGilligan who came from the United Kingdom (UK) also started working with her. Later on, Jimmy and she got married and they built a house at Sanawadia village in the district.
Jimmy also set up a Sustainable Development Center in the village which is now run by his wife Janak Palta. Jimmy passed away in a road accident. He was also awarded by Queen Elizabeth for the upliftment of the tribals of India.
The Padma Shri awardee further said, "Here we have made a solar energy plant. We ourselves cultivate grains, vegetables and eat them. 50 tribal families of the village are also given free solar energy."
Janak Palta received the Padma Shri award in 2015 by the then President Pranab Mukherjee for her various social works.
She added that after the death of her husband, she alone kept training students and different sections of the society on various subjects throughout the year. So far over 1.67 lakh people got trained from Jimmy McGilligan Sustainable Development Center.
"After this PM Narendra Modi wrote me a letter asking me to contribute for cleanliness. I was also made the ambassador of Indore's cleanliness campaign 6 years ago. Besides, my husband Jimmy was awarded the Most Excellent Honor of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth," she added.
Students of Shri Vaishnav Institute of Management, Indore, had visited the centre to take training from Palta on Saturday. One of the members of College management, Tina Jhanwar told ANI, "We have brought our college students to Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development where sustainable living was narrated. Here food is cooked on a solar cooker without gas. We saw many things like how to live life without resources, water recharging, waste management etc. Solar electricity is used here. Everyone learned how to make natural colours for Holi."
On the other hand, the students said that they learned to make natural colours. These colours did not harm them and they could enjoy freely. Apart from this, they also saw how solar energy was made. —ANI