By Taniya Dutta
This is the amazing moment an Indian amputee rides a 350CC motorbike at a speed of 62mph with a cable fixed in his shoulder.
Jhuntu Chatterjee, 52, leaves people awestruck when he rides past them in a heavy motorbike, effortlessly balancing his vehicle on bumpy roads of Purulia in West Bengal in eastern India.
He had lost his right hand in a bus accident when he was barely 18 years old but the tragic accident didn’t deter the grandfather from living life as usual.
After relying on family and neighbours for lifts for several years, Jhuntu came up with the idea of riding a bike with a cable fixed in place of his lost limb so he can move around freely.
The father of two fixes a 1.5 metre long electric wire around his shoulder and uses the stiff cable to pull the accelerator for speed.
A casual labourer, Jhuntu says he has been riding motorbikes and driving a tractor with a cable for nearly a decade without facing any mishap.
His confidence is such that he not only rides bike alone but also drops his granddaughter Vidya Chaterrje, 11, to school before going for work everyday.
Jhuntu says: “People go bonkers when they see me riding a motorcycle. They cannot fathom the fact that I have no hand and still riding a motorcycle. Some stop me and ask me how I do this.
“But I find all the attention too much. Just because I don’t have a hand doesn’t mean I am helpless.
“I was dependent on friends and family for twenty years but that was frustrating. Even to go out for basic grocery shopping was a huge task for me.
“Soon I realised I could not defend on others fr my basic need of going out. I feel free and independent and that makes me really happy.
“I can ride a bike with two people as pillions. I am very confident about my riding skills and have no fear of an accident.”
Jhuntu confesses learning to ride a mortocylce wasn’t easy as he had fallen a number of times initially. It took him six months to master his skill before he could ply the two-wheeler on the main road.
He said: “I was bedridden for a month after the accident, helpless and dependent on others. I wasn’t married then. Soon I got married and the real challenge began after having kids.
“They had to do things on own, walk for milestones reach school as public transport wasn’t steady.
“One day I thought of trying my hands on motorbike. I could not ride it before the accident but my cousin had one. I started observing him and realised the main task of the right was to accelerate.
“I fixed an electric wire around my shoulder and tied it to the handle of the bike. My shoulder was weak and hand no strength to even move the wire.
“For six months I practiced accelerating using the cable wire and eventually succeeded. I saved money and took loan from family and bought a two-wheeler.”
Jhuntu had to witness a lot of objection from his wife Madhuri Chatterjee, 48, and children-son Abhijeet and daughter Saraswati for risking his life.
Their obvious fear was of him again meeting with an accident and losing his life but Jhuntu says he was determined about his passion.
After many years, his wife and children have acknowledged his talent and his wife now enjoys bike rides with him and often ask him to drop her to nearby markets for shopping.
Jhuntu said: “She is prod of me and boasts about our bike rides with her friends. She enjoys the attention she gets by passersby!”
Jhuntu doesn’t have a driving licence to ride a bike as the Indian Motor Vehicle Act grants licence to people with physical disability only under Invalid Carriage section under which vehicle is required to be modified or specially designed according to a person’s disability.
However, Jhuntu could never apply for a licence because his motorbike is not modified.
He says: “Modification would require money but I don’t have means to make changes to bike. I have been caught by traffic cops a lot of time and have paid fine. I wish to get a licence but that is a hectic process.
brilliant rider and not even once have faced or caused any mishap because of me. I am confident of my skills and believe. I have travelled for 300 kilometre on my motorbike but I wish to travel across the country.
“I can only do that if I can get a licence but I don’t know if I am eligible for that,” added Jhuntu, who makes £2 a day.
He is hoping to get help from people who can believe in his skill and support him in modifying his vehicle and apply for a licence so he can legally ride his motorbike around.