Rarely has the entire country watched an individual’s battle for life with greater interest. Especially when the person is not a beloved leader or a swoon-inducing film star, but a nondescript five-year-old. After Prince Kumar of Haldaheri village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district tumbled into a 60-foot-deep borewell, scores of news channels trooped into the village and embarked on a marathon reportage. People across the nation came together to pray as the rescue mission was underway.
In July 2006, Prince had gone to a shop in the neighbourhood where he saw a mouse scurry into a sack. Intent upon stomping the vermin, he jumped on the sack twice. The third time, he found himself spinning into the depths of darkness. The army, which was carrying out the rescue operation, lowered a bulb into the borewell and threw in Parle-G biscuits. They dug parallel to the shaft and after excavating to the same level as Prince, cut horizontally to reach him. Trapped for over 48 hours, the child was scared to see uniformed strangers. He refused to come with them, so his uncle was called. Seeing the familiar face, Prince leapt into his arms. Millions glued to the television broke into gasps of delight. He was exceedingly lucky—in subsequent years, many children could not be rescued in time after falling into borewells.