Rashmi Rekha Das

In Hindu epic of Ramayan, there is a mention of Shravan Kumar, who was known for his filial piety towards his parents. Shravan Kumar’s parents were hermits and both of them were blind. He was a very responsible son and used to do all sorts of work for his parents with full of devotion. Let’s get into a real story in reverse. Like Shravan Kumar, Jeypore-based elderly couple is taking care of their blind son for years.

At a time when the couple needs to be taken care of by their son, the octogenarian couple has to look after their only son who was born blind. 

According to sources, Nilamadhab Senapati resides at a rented house in Jeypore Ganganagar with his wife and son Arjun.  

Nilamadhab used to sell utensils by cycling door-to-door to eke out a living. With growing age, he is now finding it hard to sell utensils in a cycle. Nilamadhab’s daughter who used to be a helping hand for his family died of a disease some months back. She used to help her father by earning from tailoring. Following her death, Nilamadhab’s family has been shattered completely.

With no income source at home, the couple really finds it hard to take care of their blind son. Whatever they are getting from pension is not ample for them to survive.  While both husband and wife are getting Rs 500 as pension, Arjun is getting Rs 700. However, their pension amount is very scanty compared to their expenditure. 

Moreover, Rs 1,700 which the father-mother-son trio gets as a pension is used as rent every month. With no money left for their survival, the couple hardly buys vegetables for themselves.  Apart from pension and rice, they don’t get any government assistance for their livelihood. Finding no other go, Nilamadhab often seeks monetary help from his neighbours to run his family.

Nilamadhab said, “After giving Rs 1700 rent, we have nothing left with us to buy groceries, medicines, and vegetables. We only get rice through ration card. However, it will be a mere difficult task for me to meet other expenses and pay gas and grocery bills. If the state government provides me a house, I will open a small shop from pension money and run my family.”

Arjun Senapati said, “I lost my eyesight since birth. My father took me to different hospitals at Cuttack and Vellore, but doctors failed to make me see. I feel bad that I have become a burden for my parents. I should take care of my parents. Instead, they are taking care of me.” 

He further said, “With growing age, my father is unable to sell utensil anymore.  We are getting Rs 1700 as pension which is used as rent. I wrote government officials several times urging them to provide a house for us. I would like to request the same thing again.”

When contacted, Executive Officer Siddharth Patnaik said, “As they have no land and land deed meant for slum dwellers, we fail to provide them a house. We will inform our higher-ups about their grievance so that the family will get a house.”