28 October, 2020

Braving The COVID Odds! Why This Bihar Teenager Will Make Lance Armstrong Blush

For eight days, with dad as pillion, Jyoti Kumari cycled 1200 km from Gurgaon to her village in Darbhanga

Photograph by Sonu Kishan
Braving The COVID Odds! Why This Bihar Teenager Will Make Lance Armstrong Blush

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...



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