This time last year, an injured Mohan Paswan was riding pillion as his daughter, Jyoti Kumari, pedalled across the breadth of north India to bring him home from Gurugram to rural Bihar.
On Monday, Paswan died of a cardiac arrest in Darbhanga, roughly a year after the 1,200-km journey made Kumari a household name and the ‘cycle girl’ became the face of migrant workers’ plight,
Confirming the death, Darbhanga district magistrate SM Tyagarajan said a block development officer was sent to the village to visit the family.
An e-rickshaw driver, Paswan and his daughter were left stranded in Gurugram and ran out of money after the nationwide lockdown was announced last year. Since no transport was available, Kumari bought a bicycle and pedalled with her incapacitated father on the carrier seat, from Gurugram to their village Sirhulli — a distance they covered in 12 days.
In January this year, Kumari was selected as the brand ambassador for an anti-drug abuse programme in Bihar. She also received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar for her courage, and had a virtual interaction with Prime minister Narendra Modi on January 25.
Kumari’s feat drew worldwide admiration, including a tweet from Ivanka Trump, daughter of then US president Donald Trump.
She also signed a film titled, Aatmanirbhar, in which she will play herself.