Ivanka Trump on Friday tweeted the viral story of an Indian girl who undertook a distressed journey back home on a bicycle. Within hours, it became one of the top trending tweets.

Who is Jyoti Kumari?

A 15-year-old girl from Darbhanga, Bihar. Living with her family in Gurugram, National Capital Region (NCR) New Delhi.

Why is she in news?

Jyoti Kumari cycled over 1200 kms in 7 days from Gurugram, Delhi to her village in Darbhanga, Bihar; with her injured father as pillion rider.

What made her take up this long journey?

Jyoti’s father Mohan Paswan works as an auto rickshaw driver, met with an accident in January this year and got injured. With no income from the past few months, the family was going through a difficult phase.

The nationwide lockdown further affected their finances and intensified the situation, the little savings they had got exhausted. Soon they were left with no money to pay rent, or for food.

Anticipating more difficulties ahead, Jyoti insisted her father to return to the village on a bicycle. At 1st he resisted but later bowed down seeing her determination and strong will power.

Jyoti’s story was picked up by journalists positioned at the state borders who have been reporting daily about millions of migrant workers struggling to return home.

How did media react?

Jyoti’s story has been extensively covered by traditional and digital media platforms. Some TV reporters even visited her house in Darbhanga and interviewed her live. Several print articles and videos are in circulation on multiple social platforms.

And people who have missed the headlines, were reminded by Ivanka Trump as she sent out a tweet stating –

“15 yr old Jyoti Kumari, carried her wounded father to their home village on the back of her bicycle covering +12,00 km over 7 days.

This beautiful feat of endurance & love has captured the imagination of the Indian people and the cycling federation!”

In just 24 hrs, her tweet is reposted *28k times garnering *97k likes (*dynamic data).

Although the girl’s effort was exemplary and applauded by one and all including me, twitter users lashed out at Ivanka for calling it a ‘beautiful feat of endurance’.

Replies to her tweet pointed out at the girl’s ‘helplessness’ calling it a ‘humanitarian disaster and failure of the system’.

Some respondents even accused Ivanka of ‘Romanticising poverty’ and whereas some others ran polls.

A divided community, one tweet said ‘it’s not a sporting event, not a feat of excellence. It’s a feat fuelled by desperation …

Diversely different views came in, a handle positively commented ‘We didn’t notice but Ivanka did.

Numerous handles also congratulated Jyoti by requoting Ivanka’s tweet.

The original tweet by Ivanka Trump –

What is offered to Jyoti Kumari?

  • Pankaj Munjal, Managing Director of Hero Cycles has offered Jyoti’s father a job in his cycle factory. And when Jyoti turns 18, she too could join Hero Cycles.

  • Cycling Federation of India (CFI) has invited Jyoti for a trial and if she passes the test, she will get professional training by the National Cycling Academy at the IGI Stadium, Delhi. CFI will take care of all her expenses, travel, stay and education.
  • Akhilesh Yadav, Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has announced a cash amount of 1 lakh rupees for Jyoti.


Going forward, what possible reactions can we expect on Jyoti’s courageous act?

  • A book
  • A biography
  • Documentary film
  • TV/Web Interviews
  • Felicitations by public/private authorities
  • Case Study by motivational speakers
  • Discussion point in women empowerment forums
  • Intellectual articles
  • Formation of Trust/NGO’s on her name
  • Statue’s in public place’s
  • Wall paintings and Artwork
  • A new Cycle Brand/Model – e.g., Jyoti Bike
  • Blogs (like this one)
  • Temple, seriously?
  • Merchandise
  • Confectionery and biscuits
  • School books
  • Fitness equipment

P.S. Probably, people might come up with better ideas from the one’s listed above. Whatever the case, if a commercial venture is taken up, one must pass on the royalty to Jyoti and her family.


Cover image: Andrew Harrer, edited by the author.


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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai


Reference links:


1 Lakh: Akhilesh promises 1 lakh to girl who rode from Delhi to Dharbangha

REPUBLIC TV Video: 15-year-old Cycles 1,200km From Gurgaon with Father To Reach Home

The Wire: From Gurgaon to Bihar, 15-Year-Old Girl Cycles 1,200 km With Injured Father

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