Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bonded labour is not something one would boast of as the source of their family income and when you lose your limbs, hands to that vice, then it becomes a curse for your life.

14-year-old Payal from Jamunabahal village in Bolangir does not have hands or legs. But, her passion for life has made her a celebrity in her district. So much so that the district Collector of Bolangir has heaped praises on her.

She lost her hands and limbs in an industrial accident in Raipur seven years back where her parents were working as bonded labourers. She neither had forehands to hold a pencil neither ankle to wear anklets. What she has is her enthusiasm to live life to the lease.

She never allowed herself to get bogged down by bullies neither by any negativity by anyone. When OTV caught hold of her in 2015 after her accident, she had narrated her desire to be a dancer and painter one day. But rued that she did not have hands and legs to accomplish her dreams.

Come 2022, she is 14 years old and has won a painting competition in her school. Her parents are still working as bonded labourers in Raipur but Payal is dancing her hearts out in her school.

District Collector, Chanchal Rana said, “The way she is drawing and dancing, moreover her zeal to live her life to the fullest is motivational to the core. Even I get motivated by her.”

She is currently studying in Parbati Giti Balniketan Child Care Institute as a residential student. She does not have limbs but she has learnt the art to live life. She does not have hands but the drawings she has been doing by holding the pencil in her mouth inspire many.

After all her achievements, Payal wants one more thing to treasure in her mind, to show her drawings to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Speaking to OTV, Payal said, “I am happy that Collector has appreciated me, but I will be happiest if CM Naveen Patnaik gets to see my artworks.”

While bonded labour has become a vice for the poor in Western Odisha where the hapless people are forced to resort without employment opportunities in the State, the story of Payal has certainly instilled hope in many of her classmates to not bow down to poverty.

(Reported By Manaranjan Joshi, OTV)