Mee Vanvasi. Child Labour, helplessness and poverty. Viscous circle indeed? Let’s give it another thought. We all have proper, exorbitant food every day, cosy bed to sleep and education and everything. What use do we make of it? We try, yes. Still, everywhere every time we are trying to achieve something, reach somewhere, this is often disguised as goals, aims and ambitions, selling the intellectual labour; we end up being deficient of the values of innocence, honesty and sensibility. Isn’t this helplessness and poverty indeed? We spend some time buying something from the children at traffic roads, help elderly cross roads and everything. And we are all content, and glowing for the rest of the day, in the blissful feeling of ‘doing something good’. Well, that’s how we roll XD.
Wondering about the enormous strength of the value of modesty and love in every individual. Every deed their heart and soul initiate is specified with a sense of belongingness and caring towards every individual, devoid of the caste, creed and gender. Every woman is such a creature, empowered with an unstoppable force called love, and necessity of a feeling of forfeit. Behind those absorbing loving features of Mai’s face and graciously carried 9 fold saree, there is an aura of utterly powerful and magnetizing strength, unparallel. Such is the scintillating with sacrifice, story of the legendary mother Sindhutai Sapkal.
Sindhutai was born in Wardha district of Maharashtra, in a down trodden and poor family. Being an unwanted child, she was called ‘chindhi’ which means torn clothes, literally. Her father was very keen on educating her. So she ended up studying, abandoning grazing the buffaloes. As was custom, she was married at nine to a 30-year-old cattle herder, who often beat her because he caught her reading newspaper wrappings (at times she even swallowed the paper). “He thought I was trying to prove I was smarter than him,” she says. “I just wanted to read.”
Sindhutai bore 3 sons with him. He abandoned her, but stated insensitively, “She left on her own”. Sindhutai gave birth to her daughter in a cow-shed, and had to slash her umbilical cord with a stone. After she was abandoned by her mother. Sindhutai then started searching for her livelihood by begging on the railway platforms, where she saw so many children abandoned. Once, she was standing on the edge of a cliff, attempting to jump off, stopped hearing her daughter, who would then be abandoned, thought, “I must not live only for her, but all those unwanted and abandoned children.” Tells Sindhutai in a speech at distant urban suburb in Mumbai.
The turning point in her life came, when she decided to keep her daughter in a trust fund run hostel in Pune, to focus her energy in her missions. Sindhutai has 5 centres now for orphans and unwanted children, where she is fondly called ‘Mai’. There is no constant funding for these centres. Some children, now working in their 30s, help Mai as much as they can. Mamta, now 36 takes care of her mother’s missions. She is the administrator of the programs, and holds a master’s degree in social work.
There is never enough funding for these organizations and the children keep flowing in, the need for infrastructure and ration, but our government quietly chooses to overlook that.
But, the two absolutely finite and positive things about, this are, Women are an epitome of strength and love. They stand up, take it, and move on. They are modern in our thinking and bold in our actions, they are indeed the Good Samaritans, in their mere existence!
The second thing, we can’t generalize the scenario of today’s rural India by stating things like ‘lack of awareness’, ‘lack of resources’ etc. They are much aware than we think they are, it’s the information right to information they lack, where we can act as citizens and good samaritans!