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Father gave up

Satish Jain’s daughters were bright students but he was ill and without the means to shape their dreams. Vijaita Singh reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2009 02:16 IST
Vijaita Singh
Vijaita Singh
Hindustan Times

Satish Jain (46) was a school dropout who earned his living by selling knick-knacks. Three years ago he suffered a cardiac arrest and was detected with a chronic heart ailment. Doctors told him he couldn’t work and had to stay at home.

It fell on Jain’s wife Sarita (44) to support the family of seven by stitching clothes. But Jain still hoped high for his five daughters. He enrolled all his daughters in a nearby government school for he wanted a bright career for them. And the girls also didn’t let him down — two of them are class toppers and all five have won several awards in painting, dancing and yoga competitions. Their teachers described them as “bright students”.

But on Wednesday night, unable to bear the poverty anymore, the family entered into a suicide pact and consumed poison at their Chander Nagar home in north-west Delhi. The two elder daughters Priya (16) and Priyanka (14) were suffering from typhoid and had become extremely weak. Most of the family’s income was spent on medication for the sisters and their father. Little money was left for the family, who were forced to sleep empty stomach on many occasions.

“All the sisters are very good in studies. They never discussed their family problems with anyone in class. But we knew that Priya and Priyanka had typhoid. It was Priyanka’s last exam on Wednesday and she did not turn up. She is a class topper so we were worried. We convened a meeting on Thursday and are trying to collect funds for the family,” said Renu Kathuria, vice-principal of the girls’ school.

Bala Gupta, Priyanka’s class teacher, echoed the sentiment. “Had we known about the family’s problems, we would have helped them. Priyanka never discussed her problems. She always secured high marks and topped in class,” she said.

While their father continues to be on ventilator and in a critical state, the sisters and their mother were said to be out of danger.

“Sarita is yet to gain consciousness. Priya told us that they were aware about the suicide pact. As her father does not work, it was up to her mother to feed seven members of the family,” said Mithilesh Goel, their maternal uncle.

First Published: Mar 20, 2009 02:15 IST