This Article is From Jan 27, 2023

Labourer-Turned-Painter Gets Padma Shri At 84, Awaits Concrete House: "It Was Promised"

Jodhaiya Bai from Madhya Pradesh is a prominent tribal mural painter, who spent five over decades as labourer before getting a big break as an artist

Labourer-Turned-Painter Gets Padma Shri At 84, Awaits Concrete House: 'It Was Promised'

Jodhaiya Bai's two sons are beneficiaries of PM Awas Yojana, but she lives on her own in a kutcha home.

Lorha (Madhya Pradesh):

At the age of 84, labourer-turned-painter Jodhaiya Bai 'Amma' got the Padma Shri this year, but her wait for a pucca house continues despite, she claims, a promise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“With folded hands, I request to both PM Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan to give me a pucca house," said the Baiga Art mural painter, who lives in a mud-and-asbestos home in Lorha village of Madhya Pradesh's Umaria district.


She said the house was promised to her 10 months ago when she was honoured with the Nari Shakti Puraskar in Delhi. “I hugged Modi-ji and shared my pain about not having a pucca house, after which he promised that I will get one," she said.

"I have since visited government offices in Umaria and also in state capital Bhopal, but that has not worked," added the artist, who is among 91 personalities this year selected for Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour..

Her two sons, both labourers, got houses as part of the PM Awas Yojana, close to where she lives in her own tenement. 

Senior panchayat official KK Raikwar said her name does not figure on the list of PM Awaz Yojana beneficiaries while her sons have got the benefit. He added that she got benefits of subsidised LPG and pension under other schemes. "But the state government will have to take a policy decision with regards to the PM Awas."

Jodhaiya Bai's remarkable story has made headlines over the past few years and the Padma award comes as acknowledgment of her drive.

She had spent decades of her life as a construction worker — even selling country-made liquor in between — before her international debut as a painter in 2019. She had learnt the art from Ashish Swami, 20 years her junior, when she was 70.