Leap of faith: These boys jump off the cliff for just Rs 50
Many tourists visit the picturesque Bhedaghat waterfalls in Madhya Pradesh. Among other things, their cheap thrill is to watch little boys jump off from high cliffs into deep water. These boys then swim towards the boats and the tourists pay them -- Rs 50 per jump
Mithilesh Dhar 17 July 2019 1:15 PM GMT
Who would dare to jump from a 100-feet high cliff into 300 feet deep water? These little boys do. They put their lives at stake, every single day, to entertain tourists which fetches them Rs 50 per jump.
Located on the banks of the Narmada, around 25 km away from Jabalpur, Bhedaghat city is known for its mysterious colour-changing Marble cliffs and the falls of Dhuandhar.
Many tourists flock to see the falls, and among many other things their cheap thrill is to watch little boys jump off from high cliffs into deep water. These boys then swim towards the boats and the tourists pay them -- Rs 50 per jump.
"I can't afford to go to the school, so I come here in the morning and stay till the evening. I get Rs 50 for each jump," said thirteen-year-old Abhishek, a 'jumper'. He added: "It used to be scary earlier when I could not swim, but now I am used to this."
Earlier, when he had not started with this everyday daredevilry, Abhishek used to collect coins which people used to throw in the waterfall. "But not many are buying these coins anymore, so I stopped doing that," said Abhishek.
While its baffling that kids jumping from cliffs and risking their lives is "entertainment" for some tourists, what is even more baffling is why are parents of these kids allowing them to put their lives at stake?
Well, because it's lucrative "business". These kids manage to earn Rs 800-900 per day.
Shankar Lakhera, a boatman, who works here, said: "They are our kids. This is what they will have to do when they will grow up, so it's better they learn to swim."
So, this is how it works. Many 13-14-year old boys wait on the top of the cliff. They negotiate their deals with the tourists from there. When a tourist says, "jump", they simply jump. It's all sorted. They take turns to do this so that everyone gets a chance to earn.
"I was very young and couldn't swim. One day I followed these boys and jumped. I nearly drowned. My friend rescued me. They taught me how to swim. Now this is what I want to do. I want to be a boatman when I grow up," said Abhishek.
When asked if he feels scared while jumping, he smiled and replied, "Dar ke aage jeet hai."