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A Uttarakhand family has been helping people across raging rivers, natural canals in monsoon season by carrying them on their backs for four generations now.
Diwani Ram 'Yamraj', 50, ferries people across rivers at meagre ₹20. "Halka ho yaa bhaari, nar ho yaa naari, ya ho kunwari, bees Rupya sawari!" (Whether heavy or light, married or otherwise, Rs 20 per carriage), that's the motto of Diwani Ram.
"My father told me once to do something meaningful with my life. He taught me how to cross the rivers and canals while carrying a person on my shoulders. Later, he turned out to be my first passenger too," Ram told The New Indian Express.
Although, his personal life has been full of difficulties and his mother left the world when he was just 10-month-old. The elders of the village helped his father when he was growing up and he is thankful to his village people for helping his family.
Among the people whom he has helped to cross the river include Harish Dhami, incumbent MLA of Dharchula, school teachers and students. After the monsoon season, Ram and his family become busy with agricultural activities.
When asked about the nickname used before his name, he narrates years old incident when he has conferred the name Yamraj, the god of death for saving lives.
"I was called Yamraj because I saved a woman who was caught up in the middle of the river. Since then I got this nickname," Ram said.
Ram's family resides in a government school building as their houses were engulfed by landslides last month. The under-construction bridge over the river is yet to be ready for use. On some days, he earns up to ₹7,000 from people who need to be ferried across the water as boats cannot be plied due to uneven riverbed. He has also given away the money he has earned to those who are in need.
For people who don't have money to pay him or for means to travel, he helps them cross the river free of cost.
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