INDORE – Until two days back, she was like other fruit-sellers on the footpaths of Indore city in Madhya Pradesh – perceived to be illiterate. When she confronted a group of local civic body officials who were on ‘cart-toppling spree’ with her fluent English, the world came to know she was Dr Raisa Ansari – a PhD and a former teacher of an engineering college.
Raisa sells mangoes on a hand-pulled cart on roadside in the Malwa Mill area of Indore. She holds PhD degree in physics and has done some scientific research also. After doing MSc with first class, she did PhD in material science and had once got an opportunity to join a research project in Belgium, but she couldn’t go. She said a signature and some family issues changed the course of her life and her dreams were shattered. Later, to run her family, she joined the family occupation of fruit-selling.
She did PhD from the Devi Ahilya University’s School of Instrumentation in Indore in 2011. Earlier, she did her MSc in Physics from the same university with first division.
When a video of her protecting her fruit-cart from the civic body officials and arguing with them in English went viral in the city two days back, several professors of the university identified her. Head of School of Physics at Devi Ahilya University and former acting VC Prof. Ashutosh Mishra told media that he had helped her in clearing the viva which was held up for two years. He was then rector. She had complained that her viva was not being conducted even though she had submitted her thesis two years back. On her complaint, Prof. Mishra had visited the department and got her viva done.
During PhD, she was doing a research work at IISER Kolkata on the fellowship of CSIR when she got a research offer from Belgium. Some of her seniors from the university were working on the research project. The head of the research project had allowed her to join it and sent offer letter to her. She needed permission letter with signature from her PhD guide. But he refused to sign the letter, she claimed. After the PhD, she had taught physics as an assistant professor at a local engineering college.
After her confrontation with the civic body officials earlier this week, she has become talk of the town and mediapersons are visiting her at her fruit-cart and interviewing her.