A Bittersweet Story Of Dedication: Girl Sells Mangoes For Phone To Attend Classes

Jamshedpur girl sells mangoes for phone to continue online classes. Should the incident be held up to admiration or serious question?

Tanvi Akhauri
New Update
girl sells mangoes for phone, Girl Gets Phone For 12 Mangoes
Girl sells mangoes for phone: Young Tulsi Kumari recently bought a high-end smartphone. A resident of Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, the 11-year-old didn't have the best financial conditions to back her and yet acquired a brand new device. How? She sold mangoes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdowns wreaked havoc on the ">livelihoods of people across the country. For Kumari, it meant a shift in the classroom from offline to online. But - like so many her schoolgoing age - Kumari didn't have the means to transition as seamlessly as other students, financially better off, could.

Though offering continuity in education through the pandemic, the glaring downsides of online classes in the last year have come to overshadow any positives it might bear.

Can a system that has led to suicides and greater classroom inequality prove conducive at all? Are online classes a robust method of education or a tool that has only seared open the class chasm wider? Can students without financial means or support be expected to run the race on an equal footing? How are they expected to cope?

Girl Sells Mangoes For Phone: On Being Proud But Questioning The System

These are questions, urgent ones, that loom large over 11-year-old Kumari's story. In the absence of a device to connect to online classes, she turned to selling mangoes during the pandemic. As fortune had it, a businessman from Mumbai heard of her plight and bringing some speedy respite, bought only a dozen mangoes at the generous price of Rs 1,20,000.

"She didn’t blame her fate or asked for alms," Ameya Hete said. "This is why I said we have bought her mangoes and not done any charity work."


Kumari now owns a flashy phone, well-earned, that she can attend classes on, thanks to Hete. Below the empowering surface of dedication and opportunity lies an uneasy one: Will every Kumari in the country get a Hete for herself? Can good samaritans sustain the system in the absence of solid state measures that ensure no child loses out on education?

Other notables like Sudha Murthy and Sonu Sood too have made similar efforts towards backing education for children who could not afford education after the pandemic struck. These are all laudable contributions to the social cause, but why must India's children be left to fend for their educational right by relying on either labour or charity? Is the ease of their education not significant enough to be well-planned in advance by authorities leading us?

Any appreciation in this bittersweet tale of a student's dedication is reserved for Kumari who, despite the odds, kept her spirits up, all so she could study undeterred. And as the pandemic has exposed glaring gaps in planning and administration, the incident simultaneously calls for immediate, inclusive reform.


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