Shahnaaz Khan, a 24-year-old medical student, has become the youngest and most educated Sarpanch of Garh Azan village of Bharatpur in Rajasthan. Belonging to the Meo Muslim community of Mewat, Khan won the recent by-elections held in her ancestral village.
Khan, who is pursuing her MBBS from Teerthanker Mahaveer Medical College and Research Center in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, is one of the few highly educated women in the region.
Khan says, “People in Mewat area don’t send their daughters to schools. I will present before them my own example to show what education can do for a woman.” Incidentally, the literacy rate of women in is 30 per cent less than that of boys.
Khan comes from a political family and her grandfather Hanif Khan was Sarpanch of that area for 55 years. Her mother, Zahida Khan, too, is a former MLA from Kaman constituency in the district.
Khan said that she would focus on health and sanitation, and ensure that the villagers get timely treatment for tuberculosis. Khan will complete her course soon and start her internship at a Gurgaon hospital soon.
Before Shahnaaz Khan, the title of the youngest Sarpach in India was for Chhavi Rajawat, who is the Sarpanch of Soda village near Jaipur.