Jaipur: With a new rickshaw and about Rs 14 lakh in his bank account, life has taken a turn for the better for 34-year-old rickshaw-puller Bablu since his plight and his daughter Damini's health condition caught public attention.
Even as the one-month-old baby, who was taken off the ventilator on Wednesday, showed further improvement in her health condition, support has not stopped pouring in from all corners, including from the Rajasthan government.
Bablu, who was carrying Damini around in a cloth sling around his neck after his wife died after delivery, thanked his daughter for the change in fortune.
"A bank gave me a new rickshaw and Rs 10,000. The district collector has said that the government will bear expenses for Damini's treatment. People too have given me a lot of support and help," he said.
The father said he now wants to provide a good life for his daughter.
"I need nothing for me, but all for my daughter. I am illiterate but I want to send her to a good school. I also want to give message to people who abandon girl child that girls are not a burden but a blessing of God," he said.
The underweight and anaemic one-month-old baby had been shifted to hospital in Jaipur in critical condition on Sunday after the Rajasthan government decided to bear her medical expenses.
Doctors attending to Damini said her condition is improving and she is also gaining weight.
"The girl is showing signs of improvement. She did not require ventilator support again. We have started feeding her and she is now gaining weight. I hope that her condition would further improve," Jaikrishan Mittal, who is attending to her, said.
"Damini needed urgent care, food and treatment but I was completely helpless. Not even able to buy her proper food and medicines," said Bablu.
"Begging or seeking help in any form would be an easier option but my conscience did not allow and I decided to carry Damini in a sling while riding rickshaw," he said.
Bharaptur district collector Gyan Prakash Shukla said Bablu was an inspiration in a country where girl child was discriminated against.
"It is a inspiration for those who give up," the collector said, adding, Bablu had to go through several hardships to keep his daughter alive.
He said local NGOs have offered help to take care of Damini for at least two years and a job to Bablu so that he can remain in touch with his daughter.
However, Bablu wants to raise Damini on his own and has refused the help.
"I do not want her to grow up in the streets. I am her father but I will be her mother because I do not want to leave any stone unturned for her proper upbringing," he said.
The infant's mother died on 20 September just after delivery and with no one to look after her, Bablu was forced to carry her in a cloth sling while driving rickshaw in Bharatpur to make ends meet.