In a courageous act, a 15-year-old girl cycled her injured father for almost 1,200 km from Haryana’s Gurugram to her home in Bihar amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Driven to penury following an accident that rendered him unfit to make a living as an e-rickshaw driver, migrant worker Mohan Paswan was driven on pillion in the scorching heat by his daughter Jyoti Kumari with essential items loaded on the bicycle after they were asked by the landlord to either pay rent or “leave”, a media report confirmed.
Native to Bihar's Darbhanga district, the father-daughter duo paddled from one state to another for days, until they reached their village Sirhulli under Singhwara block of the district, where they were quarantined, as per media reports. Determined not to let her father stay in Gurugram in misery with no money and ailing condition due to the critical accident he had met with a month ago, Jyoti portrayed an extra-ordinary spirit by commuting on a bicycle to unite with the family in Bihar.
“I succeeded in buying time on a couple of occasions. I promised him that I would take up whatever job I could land once the lockdown was lifted, earn money and pay all his dues,” Paswan told a news agency. “We were so hard pressed that I had to discontinue my medicines so that we could afford one square meal a day. How could we have arranged money for rent?" he recounted.
15yrold #JyotiKumari travel 1200km frm #Delhi to Darbhanga on cycle— Aboriginal of India (@IndiaAboriginal) May 19, 2020
to bring her injured father home aftr the two could not afford transportation their state
while cyclin at night as we used to see hundreds of migrants walking on d highways-Jyoti#coronavirus #lokdown #India pic.twitter.com/FDPIxOnbG1
As the lockdown kept getting extended, the threats of the landlord against him and his daughter kept getting severe, Paswan was quoted saying. While Paswan’s wife had four other kids to look after back home, he was attended to by his daughter who took care of him, according to an agency report. Paswan's wife is a daily wage earner as an Aanganwadi worker.
Amid the gloomy situation, Jyoti suggested that we return home. I pointed out that we would not be able to find any trains or buses soon and my condition would not allow me to walk. She said we should get a bicycle, said Paswan. Further, he added that he tried to dissuade his daughter, but she was firm in her decision and remained strong enough to cycle for 30-40 km a day.
"It was unbearably tiring. We would stop by for a quick bite at places where we could spot unlucky ones like us being fed by local Samaritans. At a few spots, we hitched rides on trucks. Drivers, taking pity on us, would help by dropping us to a point from where our paths diverged," Jyoti told a news agency. “It took eight days, and then, we were home, “ she added.
(With Agency Inputs)