During this worldwide crises of COVID-19 and lockdown migrant labourers working in unorganised sector and poor households dependent on daily wages and earnings are facing a situation of financial crisis and shortage of ration. Therefore they have started moving towards their homes either by walk or by any means they can manage. Even government is also aiding them by providing special bus and rail services to them.
In this hour of crises you may have heard about a girl named Jyoti Kumari who had travelled a distance of about 1200 kms from Gurugram to her home district Darbhanga on a bicycle while carrying her injured father all the way on pillion of the cycle. She is a fifteen year old girl who had left her studies a year ago in class 8th due to her family’s poor financial condition. She is second among her five siblings.
On 26 January her father, Mohan Paswan met an accident in Gurugram where he is an e-rickshaw driver. She with her mother, Phoolo Devi went their to look after him. Her mother had to return after 10 days due to her job as a cook in Anganwadi. Due to this incident and nationwide lockdown they were suffering a financial crisis and also running out of ration. Even in this difficult time the house owner was pressurising them to either pay the rent or leave. The owner of the rickshaw had also refused to pay for her father’s medical treatment. Due to lockdown her mother was unable to send money to them. After knowing that many labourers are returning to their homes either by walk or cycle, she thought that this is the only way to overcome this problem. Her father didn’t agreed but she was confident that she is capable for this. She purchased a cycle by paying a amount of ₹500 which is from the ₹1000 amount credited by Central Government in their account. She had also promised to pay rest of the amount ₹500 later. She began her journey to her home in Darbhanga by carrying her father on the pillion of cycle. She started on 8th May and reached to her hometown after covering a distance of 1200 kms in 10 days on 17th May at 9 pm.
They used to spend their nights at petrol pumps during their journey, where they were offered food and water by the locals. She used to cover a distance of 100 kms in a day. Currently her father has been quarantined at a quarantine centre and she is home quarantined since they have arrived. While cycling the only fear she faced is of getting hit by another vehicle during night. While during their stay in Gurugram they used to have their food at relief camps during lockdown.
Cycling Federation of India invited her to participate in trial happening in next month. But she prioritise her studies over cycling. District Magistrate of Darbhanga has enrolled her in 9th standard in Pindaruch High School.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump has written on her twitter account “15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +1,200 km over 7 days. This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!”
While praising her on his twitter account Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to identify her talent, “During these difficult times we all are doing the best to help citizens. Was moved to see the courage of a young girl from Bihar who paddled for over 1000 Kms on cycle from Gurugram to Darbhanga with her father as pillion. Spoke to @KirenRijiju for identifying her talent”. Kiren Rijiju replied to him on the same platform by saying, “I assured @rsprasad ji. Will ask the SAI officials and Cycling Federations of India to report to me after conducting the trials of Jyoti Kumari. If found potential, she will be selected as trainee at the National Cycling Academy in the IGI Stadium complex in New Delhi”.
People are comparing this girl from Shravan Kumar from Ramayana who is known for his selfless dedication and service to his visually impaired parents. She has shown her courage and selfless love for her father during a time of crisis. She is an inspiration for us to realise our responsibility towards our parents and she also proved that family is everything in times of crisis.