Nagpur: By his age, he should have been studying, playing, enjoying life as a normal kid would do. But destiny has other plans. Instead of a school bag, the destiny has handed over him a stainless steel box full of samosas. The 11-year old boy criss-crosses one locality or another walking and cycling to sell the snack all day and ensures help to his mother run the family.
This is the heart-rending tale of Priyanshu Jha. The kid, deprived of any government help, struggles till late night for livelihood. Priyanshu Guddu Jha’s family consists of mother Chunmun, 17-year old sister Anamika and 14-year old brother Pankaj. The family resides in Deshpande Layout coming under Lakadganj police jurisdiction. Around 20 years ago, Guddu Jha had come to Nagpur along with wife Chunmun in search of a job. He started his livelihood by selling samosas from a roadside stall. With the passing of time, the Jha couple was blessed with three children. Living in a small room as a tenant, the family was happy in whatever they had. But a tragedy struck the Jha family. A year or so back, a gang of goons brutally murdered Guddu for demanding his rightful money. In a stroke of destiny, the family became orphaned.
With husband gone forever, precarious situation stared the face of Jha family. The class-7 pass Chunmun had to bring up three children. Relatives stayed in far off places in Bihar. She decided to stay in Nagpur itself and started cooking food in households. But money was always a problem for the family. House rent, children’s education and daily chores needed sufficient money. Adding to the woes, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown brought more miseries to the family. Like thousands of others, Chunmun was also left jobless. Hunger stared the family with no hope. But Chunmun did not lose hope and started preparing samosas at home. She would prepare 50-60 samosas daily and send the 11-year old Priyanshu and 14-year old Pankaj for selling the snack in one area or another. Both the siblings walk or cycle till 9 pm to sell samosas priced at Rs 10 per plate (two pieces). “Samosa lelo dus rupaye plate” is the pitched shouts of Priyanshu soliciting the customers. The foodies also purchased the snack heartily seeing the innocent face of Priyanshu. But some criminal elements did not spare even the kid and harass him. Priyanshu suffers all this abuse silently as he has to ensure livelihood of his family. With hard work, the family earns around Rs 200-300 per day.
What is more disturbing is the fact that the neighbours and other residents of locality are well aware of Jha family’s misery. But turn a blind eye. Not a single so-called social activist has come forward to extend help to the family. No efforts are being made to see the family gets any government assistance. One thing is for sure. The Jha family is role model of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The hard days have taken its toll of Jha family. Both Priyanshu and Pankaj had to leave school but are striving hard to ensure their sister gets the best of education.