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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jawaharlal Nehru's tribal 'wife': Girl garlanded Prime Minister, regretted it all her life

Budhni was a tribal girl. She had been asked to garland Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to welcome him when he visited Purulia in West Bengal in 1959.

The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) chose this 15-year-girl working as a labourer to welcome Nehru. But when she returned after welcoming him, the villagers treated her as outcast because as per their tribal custom she was married to Nehru.

It was because of the garland. Worse, she was considered 'wedded' to an outsider so she was to have no relations with them in future. What a cruel joke fate had played on her.

In a meeting of tribal elders it was decided that Budhni was Nehru's wife. She was evicted from village and not even offered a glass of water at any door.

It is really a sad story. For her, it was fate. She didn't do anything on her own but her life was thrown into turmoil just because of a single incident. Later in life, she started living with one, Sudhir Dutta, and their daughter was also not accepted by the tribal community.

But suddenly she was sacked by DVC for reasons that were never made public. In 1985 she went to Delhi and met the then PM Rajiv Gandhi who ordered her reinstatement. Her fate is not known thereafter.

[Source: Deccan Chronicle and Ambedkar.org]

UPDATE

Budhni is alive in the year 2012. After false news about her death was reported in English media, the Hindi newspapers located her. See her photograph and read the news AT THIS LINK.

1 comment:

Mridula said...

Amazing bit of news, I never had heard of this case.