“Sometimes you do symbolic things to overcome people’s beliefs,” tweeted Gopalganj’s district magistrate, Rahul Kumar, after having lunch prepared by a widow who had been sacked from her job for being a ‘bad omen’.
Approached by the widow at his ‘Janta Darbar’, Kumar knew that if he wanted to dispel superstitions like these, he had to lead by example. The widow, Sunita Kuwar was removed from her job as a cook in Kalyanpur Government Middle School, Barauli, Gopalganj, on February 2014 on the pretext of her ‘widowhood being a bad omen for children’. She was also harassed by villagers and people with vested interests when she tried to join back on the principal’s behest.
Finally, when she sought help from the young IAS officer, he not only joined the students to eat a meal prepared by her at the school, but also reinstated her and warned the villagers of legal action in case they further bothered her.
Kumar, who shared his photos enjoying the meal at the school on Twitter, has found love and appreciation across the globe for his exemplary deed. Journalists, filmmakers and retired IAS officers have been pouring in their best wishes.
What is even better is that the cook, who earns a meager thousand rupees a month has now found help from unusual quarters. According to a tweet by Kumar, Canada based Satyapal Sharma, a retired civil servant, has offered financial assistance to Kunwar.
Kumar is known for his integrity; instances like standing in the line like ordinary citizens to vote and communicating with locals of his area for any assistance they might need are quite common for him. Interestingly, he completed five years in the service on Sunday.