Playing the good samaritan, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has come to the aid of a family of fourth generation descendants of 1857 freedom fighter Tantya Tope who were living in conditions of abject poverty in Kanpur.
Two young girls from the family, daughters of grocery seller Vinayak Rao Tope, have been given jobs in the Railways by the minister.
Pragati and Tripti, whose father is the grandson of Tantya Tope who played a major role in the first war of Indian independence,were presented with appointment letters for jobs at the Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR) , a subsidiary of Railways, by the minister on Wednesday.
“We thought of helping the descendants of the great freedom fighter Tantya Tope as a tribute to the freedom fighters of the first war of Indian independence… The family is going through difficult times,” Lalu stated at his Rail Bhawan office where Tope’s entire family, including his wife and son, had come for the occasion.
The two young girls have been appointed as commercial assistants at the Kanpur terminal of CONCOR.Pragati is a teacher in Laxmibai School in Kanpur who gets Rs 600 as salary while her sister , a graduate,is jobless.Their father, who started a small grocery shop last year, does not earn enough to provide for the family which was facing extreme hardships.Their plight was brought to Lalu’s notice by an organisation called ‘Bismillah:The Beginning Foundation’.
In another windfall for the family, financial assistance of Rs five lakh has been announced for them by Rajya Sabha MP and owner of Lokmat group of newspapers Vijay Darda.
After the uprising of May 1857 started from Meerut,Tantya Tope played a leading role against the British alongside Nana Saheb and the legendary Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.He was later caught by the British forces and hanged in 1859.
Lalu also announced on the occasion that Tantya Tope’s native place Bithur, 37 km from Kanpur, would be connected to the broad gauge network as a tribute to the martyr.The conversion of the existing narrow gauge line connecting Bithur will be carried out at a cost of Rs 15 crore and will be completed within the current financial year, he stated.