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Wife, house, bike: Life moves on for Dana Majhi who trekked 10 km with his wife’s body

Dana Majhi, a poor tribal from Odisha’s backward Kalahandi district, had last year, walked 10km carrying the body of his wife on his shoulders because he couldn’t pay to transport it.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2017 08:30 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Dana Majhi,Odisha tribal,Man carries wife's body on his shoulder
Dana Majhi outside a Honda showroom in Bhawanipatna in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.

First a house, then a wife, and now a motorbike. Dana Majhi, the poor Odisha tribal who last year shook the nation’s conscience after being forced to walk back home with the body of his dead wife on his shoulder, has struck it rich.

Majhi on Tuesday travelled from Bhawanipata in Kalahandi district to his village Melghar under Thuamul Rampur block on a spanking Honda motorcycle that he bought from a glitzy showroom for Rs 65,000. A penniless Majhi, accompanied by one of his sobbing daughters, had walked along the same road in August last year with the body of his wife, Amang Dei, tightly wrapped in cloth after being unable to pay for a transport.

The district hospital where Dei died of tuberculosis had no ambulance available.

Images of a hapless Majhi’s 10 km-long walk triggered global outrage. It prompted many, including the prime minister of Bahrain, to open up their purse strings for Majhi, a marginal farmer. Financial aid poured in, helping Majhi to put his poor past behind.

Last year, Dana Majhi had walked around 10km with his wife’s body on his shoulder because he failed to get a vehicle to transport it from a government hospital in Odisha’s backward district of Kalahandi where she died. (Video grab/OTV)

The turnaround in Majhi’s status has been swift. The Bahraini prime minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa gave him Rs 9 lakhs. Other individuals and organisations also chipped in and Majhi, who never had a bank account earlier, now has sizeable fixed deposit that will mature in five years time.

Even the administration, often considered insensitive to people’s plight, came to his aid and allotted him a house under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Awas Yojana. The house is under construction and Majhi currently is residing in the village Anganwadi centre. His three daughters are in a residential school in Bhubaneswar after an educational institute offered to provide them free education. In between, Majhi remarried. His new wife, Alamati Dei, is now pregnant.

All this and more has evidently helped Majhi to dream big. “He (Majhi) told me he has a new house and now needs a motorcycle for going around,” Manoj Agarwal, the owner of the Bhawanipatna Honda showroom, said.

Majhi still cultivates the small patch of land he owns, but neighbours say he is a changed man. “Dana is not the same Dana now. He got all the benefits while we got nothing,” complained Gundal, a Melghar resident.

Majhi, meanwhile, is proud of his new machine. In all senses, it is a case of ‘neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride’. For the moment, Majhi is more concerned that he does not know how to ride a motorbike and has to sit behind his nephew.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 18:37 IST