Daughters of slain Uri soldier bring smile on mother's face

Left to Right: Anshika (7), Anshu (12), Aarti (14) | Photo: Twitter (Vinod Krishnamurthy)

Patna: Kiran Devi had lost all hopes about her future nearly three years back when her soldier husband Naik Sunil Kumar Vidyarthi was killed in a dastardly terror attack on an Army camp in Kashmir's Uri. Now her hopes have been rekindled by her three daughters.

Aarti Kumari, Anshu Kumari and Anshika Kumari have scored excellent marks in their Class 10, 8 and 4 exams this year, paying a real tribute to their slain father.

Aarti, 16, secured 92.4 per cent marks in Class 10 exams. She was a student of DAV School in Gaya.

Anshu, 14, got 93 per cent in Class 8 and and Anshika, 10, secured 99 per cent in her Class 4 exams.

"I am proud of my daughters who are doing really well in education, which is more than I had expected. They have paid the real tribute to their martyr father," said the 35-year-old wife of Vidyarthi who was killed in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016.

"They will fulfil his dream to become educated human beings who will make a difference in their own and others' lives," she added.

The slain soldier was a resident of Baknauri village in Gaya. Naik Vidyarthi had joined the Army in 1998. He was one of three soldiers from Bihar who were killed in Uri.

Kiran Devi also has son. She has been looking after them single-handedly since her husband was killed.

She admits life has not been smooth or easy for her in the absence of Vidyarthi.

"I hold my head high, thanks to my daughters. I was depressed after I lost my husband.

"I had no hope left but my daughters have brought a new ray of inspiration into my life. They are hardworking and determined. They want to do well, make their father proud -- bring alive his dreams -- the once he had about them," Kiran Devi told IANS over telephone from the government quarters provided to her in the military camp at the outskirt of Gaya town, about 100 km from Patna.

She did not forget to admit that all this was possible due to the help by Sarvesh Tiwari, a social activist who runs an organisation in Delhi.

Tiwari, originally hailing from a village in East Champaran district, was moved by the killing of soldiers in the Uri attack and had announced to fund the education of Vidyarthi's three daughters.

"Tiwariji came forward at a time to support help and help me educate my daughters, when I felt all was lost. He was God send. A helping hand for us. If today my daughters have made me and others proud, all credit goes to Tiwariji," said the widow.

Tiwari has handed over a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to her for the children's education.

"Annually we get Rs 2 lakh from it to spend on educational purpose, including school fees and home tuition," she explained.

Kiran Devi's eldest Aarti, who had joined Akash Institute in Gaya for preparation in Class 9, could do so only due to the financial help extended by Tiwari.

"This year she is off to Kota in Rajasthan to prepare for medical entrance exam and to pursue her Class 12th as well. Without Tiwariji's help, how could I have send her to Kota with my limited income that I am getting as compensation," Kiran Devi said.

Her minimum monthly expenditure of hostel and food is alone Rs 14,000 a month, she added.

According to the mother, a home tutor has been hired to guide both Anshu and Anshika.

Her only son Aryan Raj is a student of Lower Kindergarten (LKG). He was a toddler when Vidhyarthi was killed.

She now has only one aim in life: to educate her children well and make them self-reliant.

"They must lead a life full of dignity and honour. It was what my husband wanted for them. Their happiness is my happiness."

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