Incredible resolve of a child

Source : Kajal is received by the Chief Minister Yogi in India

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Synopsis : We are inundated with news about the war in Ukraine or the  riots in India on the ban of hijab or the loudspeakers in mosques daily but rarely we hear the extraordinary story of a child who ran 210 kms to meet with the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh who invited her to listen to her complaint. This is her story.

She is only a ten year old child who ran a 45 km marathon last year but was not recognized by the Sport authorities who did not give her permission to run due to her tender age. She ran anyway but her effort did not win her any accolade or even recognition that hurt her so she decided to run to Lucknow to meet with the Chief Minister Yogi to present her case. Yogi is well known for his love for children. He received her warmly and gave her the honor she deserved by giving her gifts and the promise of full financial support of the government to make her dream to become a national athlete come true. She will now be trained in a sport college by professional coaches. The government will pay for all costs.

She ran daily proudly carrying the Indian national flag and never gave up until she reached Lucknow some 5 days and 210 kms later. Her extraordinary effort made some prominent people take notice who came to her to encourage her. India is a vast country where the distances between cities can be great and the roads can be dangerous for a lone runner because of heavy traffic of motor vehicles but It failed to deter her so she carried on.

She told the reporters that she plans to run to Delhi from Prayagraj  that is some 700 kms away. We are surprised and stunned to hear it from a child who wants to run such a great distance. We can only imagine what she will turn out to be when she grows up and what she will achieve as a long distance runner and athlete . She says that she will run to bring gold medal to her country from International competitions.

Her name is Kajal who is a star in the making. We wonder how a child like her gets her resolve when kids of her age play with dolls and live a sheltered life. She is lean and thin but has the stamina of a gazelle and easily accepts big challenges where adults shy away. From where she gets her motivation? Who is her idol?

She has a trainer or coach who runs by her side and encourages her because he believes in her. He too proudly carries the National flag.

Source : Google photo of Kajal who ran 210 kms to meet the Chief Minister Yogi in Lucknow

I will quote here the article that was published in a leading National News Paper in India lately.

In a remarkable display of strength and courage, a 10-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh ran over 210 kilometres from Prayagraj to Lucknow to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday. The grade 4 girl Kajal aspires to become an athlete and, for the same, received good wishes and encouragement from the CM. He motivated the young girl to work hard and realize her dream of becoming an athlete and winning laurels for the nation. During the meeting at the CM’s official residence, Adityanath presented the aspiring athlete with some sports-related items such as a pair of shoes, a tracksuit and a sports kit. He made sure that she will receive government help in becoming a star athlete and will receive all the financial support she will need to do so.

According to NDTV, a UP government spokesperson informed that the CM honored and inspired Kajal to reach greater heights in athletics. The girl thanked the CM for his lovely gesture. 10-year-old Kajal is a grade 4 student hailing from Lalitpur village under the Manda development block of Prayagraj’s trans-Yamuna region. She is the daughter of Neeraj Kumar, a railway employee. After receiving the invite, Kajal began her long journey on foot on April 10 from Civil Lines Prayagraj and completed it on April 15, after meeting the CM.

Beginning of Athletic Journey

Last year, Kajal participated in the annual prize money Indira Marathon in 2021, even though her registration could not formally be done due to her young age. But, neither her education institute nor her district administration appreciated the efforts she had made, reported Hindustan Times. Following her participation in the marathon, she wrote a letter to the CM Yogi Adityanath, expressing her desire to meet him.

Now, Kajal’s drudgeries have started to get recognition, along with the UP CM , Babu Banarasi Das Sports Academy of Lucknow has honored the young girl’s talent. The academy has taken the responsibility of providing the aspiring athlete with sports kits and shoes for her lifetime.”

https://thelogicalindian.com/uplifting/aspiring-athlete-runs-from-prayagraj-to-lucknow-35041

Source : This article appeared in the National newspaper  Hindustan Times

This is the awe inspiring story of a child whose resolve to run 210 kms from Prayagraj to Lucknow to meet with the Chief Minister Yogi will put to shame any adult professional long distance marathon runner anywhere. She ran in the blazing heat that reaches over 40 degree Celsius in North India at this time on her little feet running early in the morning and resuming late in the evening to avoid dehydration and covered the distance in 5 days.

She was accompanied by her coach and other well-wishers. Her act of courage and resolve made her the instant darling of the social media that spread the word like wildfire. The big newspapers started to follow her journey avidly because her story was so extraordinary given her tender age.

India is fast changing where women are being empowered through education and opportunities that come with it. We now see for the first time very young girls taking up wrestling and beating the boys in village and city tournaments winning money and accolades. We see young women taking up judo and karate lessons for self-defense so they do not have to put up with sexual harassment from anyone. We see a growing number of women joining the police force, army, air force and even navy. This is changing the traditional society in India in a fundamental way freeing women from home and hearth life of drudgery.

There is now an awareness that women can achieve anything if given the opportunities to prove their worth. Now this awareness has filtered down to 10 year old children who show courage, determination and resolve to step forward and be counted.

Kajal is the brightest example of female emancipation in India who will inspire millions of children with her achievements.

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Itinerant entertainers

Source : Google photo of itinerant entertainers in Rajasthan ,India

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Synopsis : The itinerant entertainers are slowly fading away because the whole world is changing through development and globalization of trade and commerce that is impacting everyone including the itinerant entertainers. The changes coming are inevitable but it is hoped that the poor people are given time to adjust to the new world by learning new trades and skills that will free them from the harsh life they live.

Once I was in a village in the Eastern part of India where there was going to be a road show by the itinerant entertainers so the advance party was very busy advertising their show , its great talents and its unique features in order to sell the tickets in advance.

There was great excitement and expectation among the villagers who were mostly farmers who waited for the entertainers to arrive soon so the tickets were bought in advance. The word had spread to neighboring villages as well thanks to the advance party and their loudspeakers daily so they too waited with great excitement and bought their tickets.

A day before the event, the workers cleaned up a football field, put a fence around it and set up the stage with lights everywhere. They set up a gate where a gate keeper was to keep people without tickets out but also sold tickets to those who wanted. They brought in generator to light up the place and the cooks got busy preparing huge meals for the entertainers and workers under a tree while constant music blared from their numerous loudspeakers to announce that the show was about to start.

Then a busload of entertainers arrived in the evening and inspected all the preparations made so far and got down to the business of makeup and dressing up for the show that was soon to begin. The farmers and others had arrived in droves from distant villages in their tractor trailers or by foot or even donkey carts or other means .

So the place was full of spectators who now waited for the show to begin while munching on peanuts and other snacks they bought from the vendors who did a brisk business. There was an air of great festivity what with all the lights, noise and people who kept on coming. I too bought a ticket and sat down with them.

Then the show started. The actors and actresses wore very colorful clothes and sparkling fake jewelries that showed them in their very best on the stage where several microphones were hung from a makeshift bamboo ceiling. They knew where the mikes were so they stood under it to speak their lines .They did not need any prompting because they had done it many times before.

The audiences was fascinated by the show, the lights, sound and the colorful entertainers who not only impressed them with their show but also with their crude jokes and epithets that the farmers understood well and liked. The whole show was meant for the rural folks who were crude, mostly illiterate and poor who had very little to be happy about in their hum drum hard life so they soaked it up eagerly.

I was not impressed but amused just the same because the show was so crude that it hurt my sensibilities but then it was not meant for me. When the show was over, people started to leave after leaving behind trash, peanut peels etc. everywhere to go back to their mundane life but would talk about the show for days and weeks to come.

The entertainers left, the fence and everything was dismantled and packed up but the picking up the trash was not their job. The trouble started after everybody left and the fight over the spoils started among the village boys who had spent a month and a lot of effort to advertise because they felt that they did not receive a fair share of the loot and cursed the entertainers who had long disappeared with their pockets full of money.

These itinerant entertainers were a shrewd lot. They knew exactly when to put up a show in a village because they knew when the farmers had money after their harvest.  They had a list of all the villages where they showed up one after the other during the post-harvest season to make a lot of money. The petty quarrel over money after they left was not their concern. Read my blog here called What is entertainment )

I have noticed that these traveling troubadours come in different categories. The first group is the basic one that has just a few entertainers and just one village girl who pretends to know singing and dancing but does a poor job. They just put up a show under a tree with just a Petromax light that someone had to pump up frequently while the farmers gathered around squatting in the dirt and keeping up a running commentary on the poor girl who knew neither dancing nor could sing but it was better than nothing. The whole thing was simple, crude and often vulgar but they went from village to village to earn a small living. They are really no different from the traveling Punch and Judy shows in England or elsewhere.

Then there are those I mentioned earlier. They earn more money, are well organized and travel from village to village in their bus while their advance party sets up the venue and food. Most of the remote rural parts of the country still have no road, electricity or other facilities but slowly it is changing in India. Now many villages are being connected with good all weather roads, electricity and with water supply so they now enjoy watching TV and can talk to anyone using their cell phones. It is changing the rural India in a way that has never happened before so the days of the itinerant entertainers are numbered. People can watch movies on TV for free or watch serials avidly that are professionally made and broadcast nationwide.

Now let us see what other types of street entertainers are there who are itinerant and wander from village to village and city to city all over India in order to earn a meagre living.

Source : Google photo of nomad with his dancing monkeys in India

Source : Google photo of nomad and his dancing bear in India

They have dancing monkey show, dancing bears and snake charmers. They are solitary but some may have a small girl or a woman who can walk on a rope and do other types acrobatics. But they too have come under pressure to give up their nomadic life so they can settle down in one place and learn a new trade to make a living. Some NGOs have set up sanctuaries for the bears and other animals that are cared for with food and veterinary care so these nomads are giving up their animals to the NGOs and get some compensation because life is hard for them.

Source : Google photo of snake shows in India

Those who get some training to make baskets or weaving can earn a better living so the government is helping them change their way of life. It is now dangerous for them to wander on highways and roads with their animals because of traffic of motor vehicles that increases constantly.

I was told that the mafia that provides these bears to the nomads earns a part of what these poor people earn so it is hard for the government to control the mafia that controls the itinerant people. The modernization of India and massive infrastructure development now has started to change India in a fundamental way so the land mafia, drug mafia and other types of criminals are under pressure to surrender and stop their illegal activities.

Their illegal houses are being bulldozed, bank accounts frozen and they are forced to surrender to the police that has an impact on these poor nomads who are giving up their trade and are settling down somewhere.

In many countries, the itinerant entertainers are strictly regulated by their governments. I saw how the street entertainers in Paris were being harassed by the police so they either tried to run away or paid a fine for performing on the streets without permit. I saw the same thing in Mexico but in India the policemen are sympathetic to the poor people who are trying to earn a living this way.

There are millions of poor people who are self-employed because they earn a living by selling something that feeds their families. There are no strict laws and the need for permits so people are free to be self-employed.

It also decreases the pressure on the government to create jobs for everyone especially if they are uneducated, unskilled in anything and cannot be trained for factory jobs so the government left them alone. Now the government has started to help the poor people so they are given subsidized food or free food, free gas and water and even free housing , interest free loans to set up their own businesses and training men and women in new trades like sewing , basket making or carpentry.

The itinerant entertainers exist in some parts of India and in other countries because they have to survive in this harsh world but as the country makes progress, it tries to help uplift the very poor people who are at the bottom of the rung. China is a classic example where the government has drastically reduced poverty by training people for factory jobs and building nationwide housing complexes for them.

India too is well on its way to reduce the poverty level by taking measures I mentioned earlier. The whole country is changing so the people will also have to change along with it and adjust to a new and modern way of living.

Just imagine how many bears and other animals are being saved from cruel life who are now being sheltered in sanctuaries. There is now a pressure on the poachers to stop capturing the bear cubs in the forest to sell them to the mafia.

As for the traveling entertainers ,they too will fade away someday as new India rises and provides better and free entertainment through TV and radio broadcast nationwide via satellite. People in cities are already cutting their cables for watching TV and subscribing to Netflix so the rural folks will not be far behind.

I will certainly miss the itinerant troubadours because they provided entertainment to rural and city people and earned a living but the whole world is changing. This change is now picking up speed due to the globalization of trade and entertainment industry. Now anyone can watch a Hollywood movie on TV dubbed in their native language. The Indian Bollywood movies are also being produced in many languages to reach a wider audience that are being telecast in Netflix.

I just hope that the poor people of this world who are many can continue to earn a living using whatever skills they have and are not harassed by the police for permit, bribe or outright threat of jail because everybody has a right to earn a living. People will change along with time and will adopt to new ways but in the interim they should be allowed to continue entertaining you and me. They should be allowed to adjust to the new world in their own pace and time and not pressured to change.

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

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Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски