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  • Writer's pictureVrinda Singh Chauhan

Calm as river Sindhu and Tai to all homeless- "SindhuTai Sapkal"

Updated: May 29, 2018

Mother of Orphans

A very common Indian woman with very un-common deeds is how we define SindhuTai Sapkal. A mother to almost 1200 children inclusive of her own daughter and two sons. Exceptionally, she is a mother to her own husband, who is now counted as the oldest kid of SindhuTai. She wasn't a born beggar but circumstances compelled her to beg for the livelihood of the astray children. She has been recognized as "Mother of orphans" across the globe and has been awarded for more than 750 times. But all these awards are meaningless to her. Besides trophies and souvenirs, if she happened to get some financial help, she utilized it only for the welfare and upbringing of the orphans. It is said that till date, no government aid has been granted to SindhuTai, despite of being honored with Nari Shakti award 2017 from President Of India. Tai tells that government got it signed from her that she won't ask for any grants if this award is presented to her.

So, how does she run the orphanages? How does she manage to feed 1200 orphaned and abandoned children?

For the answers, we have to run through the her flashback. Are you ready? Careful! the content ahead might be obnoxious.

Born on 14th November 1948, i.e., the children's day, SindhuTai is very energetic and curious by nature since Childhood. She loved going to school but it was against the wish of her mother who often treated her a "Chindi", meaning useless tattered piece of cloth. Her father however always wanted to educate her. Therefore, she had the luck to study till 4th standard She was 9 years old that time. At the age of 9, she was married to a 30 year old man. At the in-laws house, she wasn't allowed to visit schools. So, she dropped out of school. By the age of 19 she had bore two sons and was 7 months pregnant with a girl when she turned 20 and was thrown out of house by her husband.

In the cowshed of her in-laws house, she gave birth to the baby girl while the cows protected both the mother and the child during the delivery. With almost no energy and in sheer weakness, SindhuTai picked up a stone and tried hitting the umbilical cord 16 times, when she finally succeed in breaking it. Withering with gross blood loss, she mustered courage and walked with the child to her mother's house. Brutal mother denied to take her in and slammed the door on her face. Both the mother and child were hungry now. She finally decided to take refuge at crematorium that night. As per her wits that was the safest place she could reside with her child, as people are scared of cemeteries.

She saw a man offering Pin-daan (offerings to a corpse after it is burnt). She picked up the flour which was offered, kneaded it and prepared Chapati for herself on the fire. This was she ate the first bite of her very own. She then started traveling in trains and started asking for alms. And this is how her journey to a new life began. She often thought of committing suicide, when she found an old man begging for two drops of water before he dies. SindhuTai had a chapati with her and offered him both chapati and water. The man survived. This gave birth to a new hope of life to SindhuTai. She said to herself, "if he can live on a chapati, why can't I live for the survival of others".

The very first child she mothered was a 16 year old boy Deepak, who was winning over his mother's dead body. She cremated the dead body and took the child with him. She would beg for alms all the day stretching the loose ends of her tattered Saree and feed the child. Her fleet of children kept on increasing when she finally decided to surrender her daughter to an orphanage. She did it just to set an example that for her all the children are equal and their is no discrimination to those who didn't take birth from her womb.

It is about her this life experience which she talks about in a group of people and gather alms by stretching the loose end of her Saree till today. This is the way she nurtures her children. The day this story-telling on her life experience ceases to reach people, that day the voluntary help in the form of alms would also cease to reach the orphans. It's SindhuTai's deed full words which drive her orphanages like SANMATI BAL NIKETAN, MAMATA BAL SADAN and SAVITRIBAI PHULE GIRL'S HOSTEL.

For 15 years, SindhuTai strangled homeless with the brood of her children before the formation of the orphanages. Her first shelter was donated in the form of a land by the tribals whom she helped in fighting for their rights. Her only vision is food, education and medical aid to her children and she will fight for them till her very last breath. She is 70 today and her courage doesn't speak of her age at all.

A silver lining is that SindhuTai is also felicitated by her in-laws and maternal side for all the good work she has been doing. She humbly devote the credit to her husband, as he was the one who threw her out, which help her identify her purpose of life.

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May 29, 2018

Sindhu ma Salute to you !

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