Sindhutai Sapkal, a Marathi woman, the mother to more than a thousand impoverished children, the living legend and one of the most courageous personalities from India, started her life journey from the streets. At the age of nine, she was married to a man with the age difference of 21 years. Her husband was a 30-year-old cattle-herder, who would often beat her for no reasons. At the age 20, she was deserted by her husband and thrown out of her house along with an infant baby girl. She landed up on a railway station and tried to commit suicide twice to end her gruesome life.
After dealing with the abject poverty at her father’s home, experiencing neglected and painful life at husband’s home and finally leaving alone to live in the streets, Sindhutai decided not to give up and fight against the cruelty of male dominated society. During the homelessness, she came across dozens of street children and orphans living pathetic lives. A day, she got up with a resolve to fight for them and give them a better and decent life. Her courage and determination encouraged others to come up with their helping hands. Soon, she was taking care of over a hundred orphans, and street children. Years passed by and the number increased but their happy faces kept steeling her determination. She came to the notice of the world after a Marathi film “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” on her life and works was released in 2010. It was then that people came to know she had has been fighting against the patriarchal social order and showing people many creative ways to help the helpless.
Sindhutai Sapkal has been honored for several times, with over 250 awards for her contribution in improving orphans’ life and reshaping the social structure. Till date, she has sheltered over 1024 children among whom many are well educated, some of them even became doctors, and lawyers. She uses all the money she receives through charity in buying land, constructing homes and providing education for children.
Sindhutai Sapkal deserves a grand salute for her perseverance and dedication to serve the humanity!
Written by: Mousumi Kumar Saha