Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will bear the expenses of Bihar cycle girl Jyoti Kumari’s education, reports said Friday. The 49-year-old politician condoled the death of Mohan Paswan, Kumari’s father who passed away last week after a cardiac arrest, and assured her she could continue schooling without worrying about finances.
Kumari came to national prominence in 2020 when, at 15, she bicycled from Bihar to Haryana and back to bring her injured father home after a countrywide COVID-19 lockdown was announced. Kumari and Paswan, on their two-wheeler, became the face of India’s migrant worker crisis that left countless unemployed, unsupported and unsettled. More on it here.
“Priyanka didi told me not to worry and that I will be able to continue my studies,” Kumari said June 4, as per ANI. “She told me to ask for any help. I was worried as I have brothers and a sister.” Reports say Congress leader Maskoor Usmani also hand-delivered a letter from Gandhi to ‘cycle girl’ Kumari.
“I also told didi I want to meet her,” Kumari said.
Bihar Cycle Girl Jyoti To Continue Education Uninterrupted: Here’s Her Story
Many across the nation with Kumari as reports surfaced May 31 of Paswan’s death in Bihar. As people on social media recalled memories of his journey, sitting on the backseat of his daughter’s cycle, their 1200 kilometre ride of resilience cam to occupy the spotlight once again.
Despite the possibility of a million hurdles on the way, Kumari hit the road “on an impulse” to get her father home in 2020. She had only a few hundred bucks in her pocket but, with her father in tow, she was able to complete the long, arduous journey. Her strength, recognised as far the United States with Ivanka Trump lauding Kumari, translated in India into training and film offers. She was also awarded a Prime Minister’s Award in January 2021.
Kumari and her father’s travel, however, had raised questions also around shortcomings in the system that left a young girl to fend for herself and her family during the pandemic, reflecting the story of so many others like her. More on that here.