Flooded with promises, Bihar’s ‘cycle girl’ Jyoti Kumari happy she can return to school

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Updated: May 29, 2020 11:32 AM

Jyoti Kumari Cycle, Cycle Girl Story, Gurugram to Darbhanga By Cycle: Jyoti Kumari Paswan, 15, cycled from Gurugram to Darbhanga in Bihar covering more than 1,200 km in seven days with her ailing father due to the lockdown.

jyoti kumari, bihar cycle girl Jyoti Kumari Paswan cycled almost 1,200 km with her ailing father riding pillion to reach home from Gurugram to Darbhanga in Bihar. (Photo IE)

Jyoti Kumari Bihar, Bihar Cycle Girl: Remember Jyoti Kumari Paswan? The 15-year-old girl cycled from Gurugram to Darbhanga covering more than 1,200 km in seven days with her ailing father due to the lockdown. Her sufferings gained attention from every nook and corner of the world as it touched politicians, bureaucrats, NRIs and even US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka. The teen girl is now flooded with hope and tall promises from politicians and media interviews which includes a visit by a minister and a video call from RJD leader and former CM Rabri Devi.

Jyoti is now lodged at a quarantine centre near their village Sirhulli under Singhwara block in Darbhanga district. But her day’s activities include media interviews, phone and video calls and promises from VVIPs as everyone competes to show her that they are well wisher.

Jyoti cycled almost 1,200 km with her ailing father riding pillion to reach home. And it came with a life-changing opportunity for her and her family. The Cycling Federation of India has invited her for a trial and if she passes the trial, the teen will be selected as a trainee at the state-of-the-art National Cycling Academy at the IGI Stadium complex in Delhi.

Jyoti was reluctant initially but now says “cycle race jeetna hai, kyunki main kuch banna chahti hoon (I have to win the cycle race because I want to achieve something)”, a report in The Indian Express said.

Onkar Singh, federation’s chairman, said that the offer remains open for Jyoti. He said that Jyoti is confused by the attention she is receiving. He said that once the frenzy subsides, the federation will contact her.

Jyoti, however, is excited that she will be able to go to school following the Bihar government’s decision to provide free schooling.

“I will resume my education once the lockdown ends. Due to financial constraints, I had stopped going to school two years ago,” she said.

Jyoti had gone to Gurugram just before the lockdown was announced in March to take care of her father Mohan Paswan who was injured in an accident. While she was looking after her father, an e-rickshaw driver who was injured in an accident, her mother was taking care of her four younger siblings back home. Her mother works as an Aanganwadi worker in Darbhanga.

Her father Mohan said that he is not planning to return to Sikanderpur and her daughter will attend the Pindaruch High School near her village. He said that every day comes with a surprise and bank notifications.

“We didn’t have a bathroom. Seeing our plight, workers from the Bihar government came to construct one for us. It should be ready in a couple of days,” he said.

While Bihar minister Madan Sahni visited Jyoti at her native village to honour her, giving her clothes and an envelope containing Rs 5,000 as gift, Rabri Devi, who spoke to Jyoti and her family via a video call, promising to fund her her education and marriage “when that day comes”.

But this is not the end of the list of promises that politicians and others have been making to her. BJP leader and Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey advocated to nominate Jyoti as the country’s “health ambassador” given that she covered a distance of more than 1,200 km during the pandemic. Samajwadi Party national president and former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav has transferred Rs 1 lakh to her account. Anand Kumar, the founder of Patna-based Super 30, has also offered to sponsor her higher education.

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