Batur Bi winces and touches her back in pain as she speaks to me. She explains that she is 60 years old and has already had a surgery of the back once. That has left her with debilitating pain because of which she cannot work at home or outside. The 60 year old has been a widow for 30 years and has brought up 3 boys and 2 girls alone.
She lives with her younger son in the Valmiki Colony in Jalgaon and admits that the boys do pull together and help when required when she needed help with her operation. However there is a strong feeling of guilt at asking them for anything because their scarce resources should be used for their own children and sparing anything for thleir own mother is a luxury they can scarcely afford.
Batur Bi has an aadhar card and a voter id card but when she tried to apply for a pension, she was told that this is not possible and she feels that officials rejected her because they were expecting a bribe from her. She has been unable to even apply for a widow’s pension. ‘They expect us to wave 5 and 10 rupee notes, money that I do not have’.