‘Thanks to financial assist from a number of folks, we’re comfy and dwelling with dignity.’
IMAGE: Jyoti Kumari, the 16-year-old braveheart who cycled from Gurugram to Bihar. Photograph: ANI Photo
In 9 months, life has modified for 16-year-old Jyoti Kumari. Last May, she was the main target of everybody’s consideration as she cycled practically 1,200 km from Gurugram in Haryana to her village in Bihar’s Darbhanga district, together with her ailing father on the cycle’s pillion seat.
Unlike last year, she is stuffed with confidence and now not hesitant to share her story.
Jyoti, a resident of Sirhulli village, belongs to a poor Dalit household. This sudden fame is new to her. She is upbeat now as she has resumed her training in the identical college from the place she needed to discontinue it earlier attributable to monetary causes.
Many folks have promised her monetary help for her training and marriage. Others have come ahead to rearrange teaching to assist her crack aggressive exams like CAT and UPSC. Jyoti herself is eager to review additional.
This Bicycle woman of Bihar, as she popularly recognized, spoke to Rediff.com Senior Contributor M I Khan about how her life has modified since she returned residence.
IMAGE: Jyoti and her cycle. Photograph: M I Khan
After your ordeal final yr, how has your life modified?
My life has fully modified. People now look upon me as a logo of braveness and confidence.
The resolution I used to be compelled to make throughout COVID-19 and the lockdown has empowered me. Now, I need to full my training. I need to obtain one thing in life.
One factor is obvious; my life is now not what it was earlier than the lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19. I’m extra assured and joyful.
Till early final yr, after I left the village for Delhi together with my mom to take care of my ailing father, I by no means anticipated something new in my life.
But the state of affairs created a problem and a chance for me that could be troublesome for others; my religion in myself gave me the power and braveness to do it.
The most essential change is that I’m at school now and pursuing my research. I had discontinued my research in 2019 attributable to a sure state of affairs.
I’m very excited as I can be showing for my Class 10 exams. After finishing college, I’ll full Class 11 and 12 after which go to varsity. Now, my dream is to review and research.
I used to be readmitted within the native highschool, which was a really a optimistic growth for me as I’m very eager to review. I’ve joined an area teaching class for examination preparation.
Two years in the past, I had stopped going to teaching class as a result of monetary crunch in my household. I’m now paying for teaching and specializing in my research.
IMAGE: Jyoti together with her household. Photograph: M I Khan
Have you considered a profession?
I’ll full my increased training. I would be the first in my household to go to varsity or college.
That’s my plan for now. I’ve not but considered a profession.
Has your dwelling commonplace modified? What about folks’s notion so far as you’re involved?
We have accomplished our half-constructed pucca ghar (with brick partitions and a concrete roof) and reside in our dream residence.
This is one thing exceptional for us.
Thanks to financial assist from a number of folks, we’re comfy and dwelling with dignity.
Our co-villagers and other people from neighbouring villages go to our residence and now not preserve their distance, as they used to do earlier.
Though we’re Dalit (she belongs to the Dusash caste), higher caste and OBC folks steadily work together with us.
My mom, Phoolo Devi, who works as an anganwadi prepare dinner, used to face issues from some sections of individuals. Now, they respect her.
In the final week of January, it was reported that you simply interacted with Prime Minister Modi while you had been awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar.
Though it was scheduled, I couldn’t work together with the prime minister. I felt dangerous that he didn’t communicate to me. I used to be ready and hopeful; I wished to speak to him.
I might have been joyful to clarify many issues to him if he had talked to me.
Anyway, I’m joyful that at the least my identify figured within the Bal Puraskar award checklist this yr.
IMAGE: Jyoti in her village. Photograph: M I Khan
What in regards to the guarantees and assurances made to you by the state authorities, district administration and a number of other politicians? Were they fulfilled?
I’ve no hesitation in admitting that a number of folks, together with politicians, who visited made large guarantees to assist my household and me.
I received 5 bicycles, garments and foodgrains. Some folks gifted cash as properly; we acquired about Rs 10 lakhs.
I used to be appointed the model ambassador of Nasha Mukti by the state authorities and guaranteed by authorities officers that they would supply a job to my father and one e-rickshaw for our livelihood.
But my father is but to get a job.
We are a household of six. We are hopeful that he can be supplied with a everlasting supply of livelihood as he’s not ready to return to Delhi work as an autorickshaw driver.
Some politicians, together with a minister, promised to rearrange a superb training for me and my youthful sister and my two brothers.
But nothing occurred.
They are nonetheless within the native government-run college, the place the standard of training may be very poor.
Photograph: M I Khan
Why did your father, Mohan Paswan, determine to not return to Delhi or any large metropolis to earn a livelihood?
My father has some well being points. We are nonetheless hopeful that the federal government will present him with a job as promised.
He used to earn Rs 15,000 a month and handle his expenditure in Delhi in addition to the household again within the village.
There had been experiences that you simply had been provided a lead position in a movie based mostly in your wrestle and your cycle journey.
I’ve no details about it.
No one provided me something like this.
It was additionally reported that the Cycling Federation of India invited you for a trial due to the extraordinary biking journey you undertook.
No, in no way.
How do you mates at school and within the teaching centre deal with you?
They reward and laud me more often than not and repeatedly point out that I’ve accomplished a superb job so early in my life. They all deal with me with respect.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com