Jyoti Kumari, the Bihar girl who cycled almost 1,200 km with her father as pillion to reach home, has been praised on Twitter by US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.
Ms Trump has described the 15-year-old’s arduous effort to get to home her home in Bihar amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, as “beautiful feat of endurance and love”.
“15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +1,200 km over 7 days. This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!,” she tweeted.
Ms Kumari, a Bihar native, was visiting her father Mohan Paswan in Gurgaon in March, when the nationwide lockdown was announced. Mr Paswan, an e-rickshaw driver, had met with an accident and was injured.
Because of the lockdown, Jyoti was forced to stay with her father. With no job, no money and with the landlord threatening to throw them out, the father-daughter duo was staring at starvation.
Jyoti then decided to head back to her hometown Darbhanga in Bihar, but not without her father.
She first borrowed money to buy a cycle. There was no option, she believed, since trains and buses were not running and her father couldn’t walk.
Mr Paswan later said he tried to dissuade his daughter, telling her that riding a bicycle with a much heavier pillion rider was not easy. But Jyoti insisted and he gave in.
Jyoti said they would cycle for 30 to 40 km a day and sometimes, an odd truck driver would agree to take them aboard.
“It was unbearably tiring. We would stop for food at places where we could see free food being distributed among people like us,” Jyoti later shared.
The Indian Cycling Federation has invited her to trials next month.