Uttarakhand's four dwarf sisters live in penury

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Udham Singh Nagar (Uttarakhand), April 21 : Four midget sisters of Uttarakhand village are striving to write a unique story of self-reliance. Despite being handicapped since birth, the poverty-stricken sisters are sustaining themselves by rolling Beedis (the local cigarettes).

All the four sisters are handicapped due to short legs.

Originally hailing from West Bengal, the family settled down in Sitarganj village in Uttarakhand's Udham Singh Nagar District. The head of the family died long ago and left his daughters two wives in lurch.

"We don't have a father. Mother is old now. We are undergoing extreme hardship and trying to overcome the hurdles," said Nonni, one of the sisters.

These sisters, between their mid twenties and mid thirties, and have made up their mind to live without showing resentment for anything.

Standing not over two-and-a-half feet, Nonni, Toru, Jyotsna and Pichu manage to earn rupees 20 a day from rolling Beedis. Even if these individual earnings prove too low to maintain even a normal life, they somehow manage to make both the ends meet.

"We are extremely poor with no assistance. All of us are lame. Because of this physical disability, we could not enjoy life like even going out to nearby village fairs. So, that's life for us," said Pichu, the youngest sibling of the family.

But despite everything, these girls wish to lead their lives with self-respect and eclipse their disabilities. None of the sisters has even attended school or stepped out of their village since birth.

Besides, these sisters also have to cope up with the fact that there is no male member in the house. Though they handle everything together as a team, many a times they have to depend upon village boys for any work outside their village.

One of them got married but was soon abandoned by her husband.

Like any girl, they wish to dress well and put on make up like girls of their age. But their aged mother' is worried about here daughters' future welfare in case of her death.

"Till the time I am alive I can take care of them. But who will take care of them after my death. Government has given us no aid although persons from social welfare department keep coming and tell us that we will get assistance. Till date no help has come in actual form," said Gulabi, the disappointed mother in her late sixties. By Vipul Goyal

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