Hers is an extraordinary tale of triumph against insurmountable odds and institutional apathy. Riding an old bicycle with her injured father perched precariously on its rear, a doughty 15-year-old pedalled to her native place in Bihar in just eight days to pull off a rescue mission that has got the world talking. Described by The New York Times as ‘lion-hearted’, Jyoti Kumari, a resident of Sirhulli village under Singhwara block of Darbhanga district, and her feat have become emblematic of the crisis the lockdown has engendered for migrant workers and the lengths to which they have to strive for the comfort of home.
Ever since she returned to her village earlier this month, people from all walks of life—from government officials and politicians to volunteers of charity organisations—have been making a beeline for her house, offering all kinds of support, including monetary help. The Cycling Federation of India also invited her for a trial. Jyoti, however, has rebuffed the offer. She first wants to complete her studies, which she had to leave after Class VIII due to her family’s financial condition. “I want to pass the matriculation examination now,” she says.