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Can?t see, but can deliver

She is blind but thousands thank her for helping them see light for the first time in their lives.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 03:48 IST

She is blind but thousands thank her for helping them see light for the first time in their lives. Kanahiya Devi is no socialite or politician but a midwife who has delivered over 10,000 babies in and around Shahpur village.

Secret of her success? Intuition, confidence and willingness to help others. Villagers, however, would just ascribe it to her “hand of God”. Deserted by her husband four years after her marriage, Kanahiya is the breadwinner of her family of four.

She thoroughly enjoys her profession even though she hasn’t had any formal training. Villagers, however, vouch that she has neither goofed up any case nor allowed any of her patients to suffer from complications after delivery.

“When she is not around, delivery becomes difficult in Shahpur,” said Mehrum Begum. “There is no fear of tetanus, nor does anybody go to the local hospital here,” said Sunita Devi, a villager. Rekha Devi and Sudama Devi also sing the midwife’s paeans, pointing out that it is also cost-effective to avail of Kanahiya’s services.

Kanahiya is not bitter about her congenital disability. “It was destined. I perform my duty by instinct, just as I do my daily chores,” she says. However, she does not forget to thank her bhabhi (sister-in-law) Kalaya Devi for motivating her to become a midwife.

“I just taught her to cut the umbilical cord. She mastered it after just a few deliveries and so far she must have helped 10,000 women,” says Kalaya. Kanahiya, who charges between Rs 100 and 150 per delivery, is more well known in the region than any gynaecologist. Several village youth, who owe their existence to Kanahiya, have got married and for Kanahiya, they are all like one extended family.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 03:48 IST