Radha and Kunti are the daughters of Sardar Barela of Basantpur Pangri village, about 63 km from Bhopal who quit school to help their father till and level his small farm. Since the past three years, they both have got into a daily routine of pulling the plough like a bullock.

Their father steers the plough as they pull it. The family is so poor that they cannot afford to buy an ox. They live in the tribal village of Sehore, also the home district of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is facing a violent farmers’ strike demanding debt relief and better price for their produce.

“Because of poverty, I cannot buy bullocks and, so, my daughters are taking their place. They studied till Class 8 but opted out of school because of my financial problems,” said Sardar to Hindustan Times.

Radha is 14 years old and Kunti is 11 years old. While Radha wants to study but cannot due to lack of funds, Kunti stretches out her hand to show the blisters she has got for working hard on the farm that does not earn them enough.

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Barela’s brother had requested the authorities for help but to no avail. The authorities have turned a blind eye towards the poor farmers of MP.

“But nobody listens to us. What can we do, we are poor … so my nieces had to leave school and help the family in the farm,” Daya Ram said.

It was only after pictures and videos of the girls ploughing the farm circulated online that the authorities took note of the dire situation.

“The brother has bullocks but Barela has none. I checked,” said Ramdwar Keer, a local rural official who visited Barela’s house and assured help.

“We will do our best to help. Our team told the father he shouldn’t use the girls for such work,” assured district collector Tarun Kumar Pithode who sent a team of officials to the village.

Picture credit- New Indian Express