For 55-year-old Noor Jahan, November 29 was a special day as Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised her in his radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on All India Radio on Sunday afternoon.
Hailing Noor Jahan, who has been providing solar lamps on rent to the villagers, PM Modi said that she was probably not too educated but had set up a factory of solar ‘lalteins’ (lamps).
He added, “She is working as per the meaning of her name — ‘giving light to the world’. Her work can be an inspiration for all those want to fight climate change.”
Noor Jahan lives in a thatched roof house at the Bairi Shobhan village in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. She is illiterate and lives with her five sons, four daughter-in-laws and eight grandchildren.
Within minutes after the PM had finished his broadcast, she was visited by 300 people including BJP leaders and media persons.
Her son, Ishaq Ali said that local pradhan Siya Ram visited their home for the first time.
Amongst the visitors, BJP Mahanagar president Surendra Maithani felicitated her and promised her financial help from the Centre.
After her husband died 25 years back, she started to work as a laborer, earning Rs. 15 a day to feed her children.
Around three years back, a social organization provided her solar panels and recharging equipment. She now owns 50 solar lanterns, of which 40 are rented out everyday to villagers at a cheap price of Rs. 3.3 per day or Rs. 100 a month.
Though she earlier used lamps to light her home, she started renting it out to meet her children’s education expenses.
“When the NGO came to know that I’ve started renting out the lamp, they provided me with some more. Today, I have 50 of them and the NGO has given me five more solar plates as well,” Noor Jahen said.
She explains that during the evening the villagers take the lamps and brings them back next morning for recharging.
“There is no power in the village and therefore, the demand for solar lamps is increasing as more and more people want to make sure their children get to study even during the night hours,” she added.
Feeling motivated after her mention in PM’s address, she said, “ I am extremely happy that the Prime Minister took my name and praised my work. It is a morale booster.”
Noor Jahan now hopes that to meet the increasing demand for solar lamps the government provides her with financial aid.
She wants to increase the number of lamps to 100.