Bholi: The Witless!

Sulekha was the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. At the age of ten months, she fell from the cot and received a head injury. Everybody called her Bholi. She was normal at birth, but at the age of two, she had a small-pox attack, which left deep black scars all over her body. She stammered, and kids made fun of her. B

holi had seven siblings, and she was the youngest of them all. Her father was a farmer, and there was plenty to eat and drink. Her brothers were sent to school and colleges to study. All her sisters were healthy and beautiful; one of them (Radha) was already married while Mangla’s marriage had been settled. Bholi’s father was much worried about her.

Girl Education

At the age of seven, a primary school for girls was opened in the village. The Tehsildar came to Ramlal and asked him to send his daughter to the school to set an example for the villagers to promote girl education. Ramlal consulted his wife, and they thought that if the girls went to school, no one would marry them.

They decided to send Bholi to school because there were no chances of her marriage. The next day, Ramlal took Bholi to school. She was very frightened.  Bholi was given old dresses of her sisters to wear as she had no new dresses. When Bholi was dressed better, she believed that she was being taken to a place better than her home.

Ramlal handed over Bholi to the headmistress, and she asked her to sit in the corner of the classroom. Bholi hoped to make new friends there.The drawings in the classroom fascinated Bholi. She delved deep into her imaginations.

The teacher asked her name, and she stammered. When the school bell rang, all the girls ran outside except Bholi. The teacher talked in Bholi in a very good manner. This kind gesture touched Bholi’s heart. 

The teacher asked her name, and Bholi tried her best. At last, she was able to tell her name properly. The teacher advised Bholi to keep the fear aside, Bholi complied.

A Whole New World

The teacher gave Bholi a book with different pictures and promised to give her an even bigger book if she completed this one. She also promised Bholi that everybody would talk to her with respect after she read that book.

Bholi’s world changed after hearing those words. After many years, that village was now a small town. Ramlal and his wife were talking about the marriage proposal for Bholi.

It was from Bishamber, a man of the same age as Ramlal. He already had a wife and kids. Bholi’s mother was adamant about getting her married to Bishamber. Bholi was listening to her parent’s conversation. 

Bishamber: A Greedy Man

Bishamber was a rich fellow. On the day of marriage, he came with a big procession. Ramlal never expected such a marriage of Bholi. Her sisters were jealous of her luck. When the veil was lifted from Bholi’s face, Bishamber was frozen.

He demanded a sum of five thousand rupees from Ramlal because Bholi had pock-marks on her face. Ramlal put his turban in Bishamber’s feet, but he was adamant on his demand. Ramlal took a bundle of notes and gave it to Bishamber.

Marriage Cancelled

Bishamber agreed to marry Bholi after taking five-thousand rupees. However, as he raised the garland, Bholi threw it in the fire. Bholi refused to marry Bishamber in a loud and clear voice. Everyone present there was astonished. All the guests started to whisper. Ramlal asked Bholi if she was crazy.

Bholi told his father that she would not marry that greedy man at any cost. Bholi also had a heated argument with a woman present there. After everyone was gone, Ramlal asked Bholi what she was up to now. Bholi answered that she would take care of him and her mother and teach in the same school where she went as a student. Her teacher applauded her.

Further Reading

  1. Play quiz on Bholi
  2. Read important questions-answers on the poem Bholi