Dhanbad: On December 5, 1959, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru went to inaugurate the Panchet Dam on the Damodar River near Dhanbad in Bihar (now Jharkhand).
Nehru wanted the dam to be opened by one of the laborers involved in the construction of the dam. Accordingly, a 16-year-old tribal girl Putni Manjian inaugurated the dam. Then Nehru honored Putni by garlanding her.
That night the panchayat of the Santali community met. Flower garlands were exchanged and it was announced that Budhni was married to Nehru as per tribal traditions. And Budni was ostracized from the village by the Santhali community.
Budni then moved to Saldora in Purulia, West Bengal. A contract laborer named Sudhir Dutta, who worked there as a day laborer, sheltered her and later married him.
After Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister, he moved to Assan in West Bengal in 1985. Then Rajiv came to know about Putni and met her. Budhni was subsequently offered a job at the Damodar Valley Corporation (TVC), which manages the Panchet Dam. Putni retired in 2005.
Budhni, who was living in a hut with her daughter Ratna in Panchet area, passed away on the 17th at the age of 80.