‘My parents named me Dukhiya because they did not want me but a son’ ,says the 45 year old to me. The name encapsulates the sadness and dependency of the 45 year olds life. Dukhiya’s husband aged 50 is still alive and they live in Chitrakoot , UP. They have seven children, four sons and three daughters. For a living the husband and wife work in the fields as laborers and make Rs 100 a day. Work is sporadic and there are many mouths to feed. Sometimes they have to resort to borrowing to get by.
One side of Dukhiya’s face has caved in- the result of a road accident she had in 2007 when a jeep rammed into her- her eye since then hurts and has blurred vision. Dukhiya and her husband paid for her treatment after the accident and they have not got compensation till date.
Though Dukhiya has a voter I card and an Aadhar card, she has no ration card. Repeated requests to the Panchayat have been rejected citing her age and the fact that she and her husband can work. She has also cited health reasons and tried to apply for a pension but her application has been rejected on grounds that she is married, has children and also works.
And so her struggle continues to feed her children and maybe after they are fed to feed herself and her husband. Even though Dukhiya knows it may be a while till she gets pension- she is here with a hope that universal pension of Rs 2000 is implemented and they get some relief in their future.