May 15th, 2017
Rita, a woman in her late 20s from Dimapur, Nagaland, was forced to mortgage her son to a local moneylender to afford her husband’s funeral in October 2016. Since then she has been struggling to earn enough money to “buy” her son back. Her journey has led her across India, all the way to Agra, 2,000 km away.
Last year, after her husband, who was a labourer, died of medical complications, Rita was unable to even pay for his funeral. With no other way out, Rita was forced to mortgage her seven-year-old son, Sonu, to a local moneylender for Rs 2,000.
In the months since, Rita tried in desperation to earn enough money to get back her son, but to no avail. Her brother-in-law, a man identified as Pappu, told her he could help her find a job in Agra.
Rita arrived in Agra a few days ago with her two other children, both below three years of age. However, on arriving in Agra, Rita was allegedly abandoned by her brother.
She was forced to scour for leftover food from garbage dumps to feed her children and drink from public taps and drains to quench their thirst.
Fortunately, Rita was discovered by a social activist, Naresh Paras. Mr Paras found Rita in Shah Market.
Mr Paras told The Times of India, “She told us she tried to approach the police for help, but was rebuffed.” Police, however, have denied that charge. Meanwhile, Paras and a few other social workers contacted police in Nagaland, who asked them to send Rita back home and that they would take over the case and try to locate her son.
In Agra, citizens empathised with Rita’s dilemma. Local traders conducted a donation drive and gathered Rs 3,000 and some provisions for Rita.
Currently, Rita is on her way back to Dimapur to get back her son. Mr Paras said, “The woman, along with her children, boarded the Brahmaputra Mail at 3am on Sunday. RPF and GRP personnel will escort them on the journey to Dimapur.”
Meanwhile, police in Dimapur have begun the process of tracing Rita’s son.
The Logical Indian community hopes that Rita is reunited with her seven-year-old son, Sonu, as soon as possible. What she went through, no mother should have to go through. We celebrated Mother’s Day only yesterday, and this plight of an Indian mother, who had to literally mortgage her eldest son and travel across the country to earn money to buy him back, should alarm all of us. It is a matter of great disgust that a mother has to go through such horrendous ordeals because of abject poverty and exploitation.