Life comes full circle for the girl who survived a train fall
LIFE has come almost full circle for Reshmi Ghosh. Believe it or not, the 22-year-old Bengali woman was pushed out a running train by her father — a teacher by profession! But he is apparently not the type who rakes thousands of rupees by coaching students at home.
Ashok Ghosh, 50, tried to kill his daughter because he didn't have enough cash for dowry demanded by Reshmi's would—be in-laws. He pleaded with the groom and his parents to waive off the dowry. But his appeals fell on deaf ears.
So one day he told Reshmi to accompany him to her maternal uncle's house. They boarded a train. On some pretext, he lured her to the door and shoved her out of the coach.
It happened so quickly — and it was so unexpected — that Reshmi didn't have a chance to resist.
She survived the fall. And a passenger who caught Ghosh in the act raised an alarm. The father was handed to the police. Confessing his crime, he told the full story to the cops. But they showed no mercy despite Reshmi requesting them to release her father.
Interestingly, Reshmi is flooded with marriage offers because of the publicity her strange ordeal invited. She is admitted in a Howrah hospital. Nurses in her ward say that many suitors are turning up to ask for her hand — without dowry! Suitors are bringing flowers, chocolates and magazines for her to browse through.
But Reshmi is not thinking of marriage. At least not yet. She says she would like to complete her graduation, get a Master's degree and find a job which pays a decent salary before she ties the knot.
Reshmi's saga has revived memories of a somewhat similar case. Three years ago, Khushnahar Bibi, was flooded with marriage proposals and job offers after she stopped her parents marrying her off against her wishes by writing a letter to a Kolkata newspaper.
Her unprecedented letter created a furore in the predominantly Muslim area of Natibpur, 40km from Kolkata, and the would-be bridegroom's family immediately called off the marriage.
Angered by her remarks in the letter about arranged marriages, dowry, religious fanaticism and the suppression of women in male-dominated Muslim society, conservative Muslims threatened to kill her, forcing the administration to deploy armed policemen to guard her against any attack.
All over India, parents were still forced to "beg, borrow or steal" to marry off their daughters. But most women are afraid to challenge the centuries-old practice.
Ultimately, Khushnahar married a man of her choice without paying a rupee as dowry. She is now a mother of two children. Let's see how Reshmi's saga unfolds in the years to come. She says she is lucky to be alive and nurses no grouse against her father.