23 years: From rags to heading a village | delhi | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
May 30, 2017-Tuesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

23 years: From rags to heading a village

He used to beg from them till four years ago. Today, he is their village headman, and they’re proud of him. Dharamveer’s rise from beggary began in 2005 when Khaikheri village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district was declared a scheduled caste panchayat, reports S Raju.

delhi Updated: Oct 04, 2009 01:12 IST
S Raju

He used to beg from them till four years ago. Today, he is their village headman, and they’re proud of him. Dharamveer’s rise from beggary began in 2005 when Khaikheri village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district was declared a scheduled caste panchayat.

Dharamveer (he goes by one name only), then 33, was chosen by people from the upper and backward castes to represent them. They pitted the man from the nomadic Nat (Scheduled Caste) community to contest against a candidate from the Dalit Jatav community.

Dharamveer won the contest with the help of the non-Dalits, numbering 3,000. The Jatav candidate, who was backed by the 700-strong Dalit community lost to Dharamveer by 56 votes.

The man who had to give up school and resort to begging from the age of 10 to keep his family afloat became a leader responsible for the welfare of the entire village. During his 23 years as a beggar, Dharamveer used to keep some alms aside to help his elder brother pursue his studies. His brother is now a junior engineer with the state’s public works department.

“I used to beg for myself earlier. Now I beg for my villagers. I have spent Rs 25 lakh (Rs 2.5 million) on various development works,” said Dharamveer, who dreams of converting all village alleys into cemented lanes.

Villagers and district officials hail him for his honesty and dedication. “He has an urge to know things,” said Block Development Officer Heera Singh.