‘The dacoits couldn’t believe their eyes’

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By Shailendra Pandey

EVERY ONCE in a while, you find yourself in a situation that reminds you of a scene from a film. Ajit and Gudia’s lives seem to mirror the stuff of cinematic glory. Growing up in close proximity, the two knew each other since they can remember. As they grew up and decided they couldn’t live without each other, they assumed their parents wouldn’t mind. But Ajit was a Yadav and Gudia a Rajput. When the news broke, Gudia was placed under house arrest for seven months. Not one to give up easily, Gudia sent Ajit letters through a sympathetic old sweeper. In 1997, Ajit abandoned his government job for the pursuit of love. He married his childhood sweetheart, facing the collective wrath of both families. Their happiness was shortlived — Gudia’s family attempted to have the couple killed. When she became pregnant the following year, they were forced to abort the foetus because they were too poor. The lovers decided it would be better to live apart; it was becoming difficult for friends to shelter them. Three years later, Ajit got a job. The curse seemed to have lifted. The couple was blessed with two sons. And then, while on his way to Bareilly, Ajit was kidnapped by dacoits. A distraught Gudia was asked for ` 50,000. She begged her brother (an SP with the UP Police) for help, but to no avail. Gudia realised she had only one option. Packing her jewels and money, she walked 10 km by foot to Chambal. The gang leader couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw her. Refusing to count the money, he said, “You are the bravest woman I have ever seen. You are like a sister to me.” Touching her feet, he returned ` 5,100 and her earrings.

Photo : Shailendra Pandey

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