Bismillah Bi traveled to Delhi alone leaving behind her 74 year old spouse in Jalgaon, a survivor of cancer. She has also chosen to forfeit her sweeping work in a school and dish washing at household for the time she hopes that the government will take note of their demands. For her work she gets Rs 800 per month back home in Jalgaon. This she contributes to the household of her younger son and his family with whom they stay.
She has 2 sons, one of whom is disabled and both her sons are daily wages laborers with families to support. The younger one because of his disability takes up jobs that require him to sit and do his work and earns about Rs 100 a day when there is work. They usually pool in their resources and spend accordingly. A lot depends on what the son manages to make per day. Though she have a ‘narangi’ APL card which entitles her to 15 kg of grain a month she says that she does not get the entitlement every month but once in 2-3 months. This leaves them to the vagaries of fate and the PDS system most times.
Both she and her husband have applied for a pension with the government- it’s been 10 months but there has been no revert or update yet. She says ‘everyone is out to take us for a ride’ This is not her only brush with officialdom as for years they have tried to get a disability certificate for her younger son but to no avail.
She feels that if she and her husband get a pension they could lead a life of dignity, save something for an uncertain future and not depend on their already overburdened children so much.