Match made in heaven turns fortunes for Dalit woman

Match made in heaven turns fortunes for Dalit woman in Punjab

(Representative Image/iStock image)

The Cinderella ballgown and the pumpkin carriage may have been missing, but for 36-year old Manjit Kaur living in abject penury, it has been a sudden switch to a remarkable fortune no less akin to the Cinderella folktale to find her Prince Charming.

With a trampoline atop as roof of the dilapidated hutment where she spends her days and nights, Barnala native Manjit Kaur who once would dream big as a budding national badminton player today struggles to make ends meet earning a paltry couple of hundred rupees per day.

But for her, everything changed suddenly. A wealthy Canadian NRI into plant nursery business, 40-year old Mahender Singh, walked into her crumbling hutment, proposed her to be his better half and finally tied the nuptial knot some weeks ago.

As newlywed, the couple this week reached Barnala for registration of their marriage, something that will pave the way for Kaur’s spouse visa to Canada. Interestingly, Singh hails from the upper caste Jat community while Kaur is a Dalit. Yet this caste calculus, Kaur said, never bothered Mahender. Kaur says she was picked up for Badminton coaching in Jalandhar. But as destiny would have it, her muscles weakened due to bouts of arthritis shuttering her sports dream. She lost her father in 1988 and her mother, who stays along, slogged to bear the cost of treatment.

Canadian citizen Mahender, a native of Punjab’s Bathinda, says he had read Kaur’s story of suffering and unrealized dreams through some reports and was overwhelmed with compassion. He says he wanted something beyond just a one-time monetary help for Kaur, which is when he started to ponder over the idea of making her a part of his life. But the NRI had no contact of Kaur. He sent one of his cousins in Punjab to Kaur’s place in Barnala and sought her contact details. Both started to talk over phone and developed friendship.

On January 7, Mahender landed in India and headed for the hutment where Kaur stayed. Five days later, the two got married in a local Sikh shrine. Kaur says what has happened to her appears like a miracle.

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