Gurugram, Haryana, On the Indian streets, one can easily spot the barefoot, abandoned old and mentally disabled people roaming all around, with or...
Gurugram, Haryana, On the Indian streets, one can easily spot the barefoot, abandoned old and mentally disabled people roaming all around, with or without clothes on their bodies, eating from the stinking garbage, sleeping on the streets and having no medical attention at all. Who takes care of these people? Yes, there remain the great souls around us who devotedly take care of these deprived and marginalised! One such organisation is The Earth Saviours Foundation in a nondescript village, Bandhwari, of the Gurugram district in Haryana. The man behind the virtuous organisation is Mr Ravi Kalra, who transformed himself into a saviour after he saw, a decade ago, a poor child and a street dog eating together from the same stinking garbage yard! "There was no inspiration. We started our institution on the base of sorrow when one night I saw a poor child and a street dog eating together from a stinking garbage yard," says Mr Kalra.
That was the moment for him to feel the pain of humans and animals alike. He did not take much time to realise that his true call in life was to help the poor, needy and helpless. His conscience played a role in this, not his religion for he knew the humanity was above any particular religion. A visit to the organisation's Gurukul in Bandhwari village -- a large part of which was recently blown away by the high winds -- is a story in itself. In the Gurukul, one can see the sick people struggling with their health, mental and physical issues. However, the volunteers, doctors and nurses day and night try to keep them in good humour. In a nutshell, the volunteers and doctors are an added asset of the organisation as they give the best possible care and the in-house first aid medical service is active round the clock. Actually, the determination of Mr Kalra was concretised when The Earth Saviours Foundation (TESF) came into being in 2008.
Since then, the organisation has not looked behind. In the beginning, Mr Kalra started with housing two abandoned senior citizens. Now, the organisation's Gurukul is home to more than 450 mentally and physically disabled people as well as abandoned senior citizens. The mission and objectives of the organisation remain the same as were at the outset. The Gurukul remains open round the clock and throughout the year to receive the abandoned, disabled, HIV infected, bed ridden and people suffering from incurable diseases. At the Gurukul, all these people are provided with food, accommodation, medicines and day-to-day care – all free of charge. "All the basic facilities such as accommodation, hygienically prepared meals, medical facilities are provided to these people at the rescue centre which is among the firsts in the country," emphasises the saviour. The mentally disabled persons are routinely provided counselling and care. These people are looked after at the old-age home or at the rescue centre of the Gurukul. They are also taken to the hospitals for check-ups and medical treatment. Several of these people have been reunited with their families. The Gurukul staff members do not mind travelling to their places in different parts of the country – to reunite them with their families.
"It is sad to share that sometimes the abandoned and disabled people are brought to our old age home in critical conditions. Most of them are bed-ridden, handicapped, HIV infected, on death bed or having maggots all over their body. Despite our best care some of them die due to old age or constant long illness. We take such tragedies very seriously and ensure that their last rites are performed with full respect and dignity according to their respective faiths," says Mr Kalra while talking exclusively to UNI. "We have round the clock facility of ambulances for transporting patients to different hospitals during emergencies. Also, we do our best to find opportunities to rehabilitate these residents and also try to reunite them with their respective families," says the Gurukul's director, Ms Karunaanjali Singh. Those interested in religious and spiritual pursuits, are engaged in the Bhajan Sandhyas, Kirtans, celebration of different festivals. It is also ensured that they have the opportunity to have entertainment, joyful moments, happiness and even hopefulness. "The human dignity is supreme for everyone," adds Mr Kalra. The organisation also performs the last rites of the unclaimed and unidentified dead people. It is because the philosophy of the Gurukul is to look around and help the less privileged instead of asking the masses to sit and chant the name of god. To take care of the destitute and deprived women, the organisation has Jia Nari Niketan or shelter for the women. "Our NGO's Jia Nari Niketan takes care of the deprived, abandoned-homeless women. Some of them were victims of rape and sexual abuse in the past. For such deprived women all the facilities are completely free of charge. They also get job opportunities along with a monthly stipend from our institution," according to Mr Kalra. When asked whether non-religious thinking was nearer to the humanity, his answer was: "Maybe it is because in that case, at least, people exercise their own logic and reason without any external pressure." However, he is of the view that doing away with religion was not completely a solution as it did provide an anchor to those in distress. "Religion creates basic discipline in society," opines the Karma Yogi in a matter of fact way. The organisation also takes up the environmental issues. Recently, the organisation successfully concluded "Do Not Honk" campaign. In fact, the campaign has evolved into a regular initiative to spread awareness about noise pollution and environment. Under this campaign, the vehicle drivers are encouraged not to honk unnecessarily.
Despite all the work, the organisation faces several challenges. The main challenge is to mobilise enough funds to support its activities. The situation is quite testing as the organisation does not receive any financial support from the government. But Mr Kalra remains unmoved by the adversities and is committed to make his organisation the world's largest rescue centre with an in-house hospital and other facilities. In his message to the people, Mr Kalra says, "We must preserve and renew the goodness and beauty of our planet. Karmic seva generates self-respect, confidence and purifies our souls. It helps to control anger, depression and ego." Not only this, he also feels that it is the moral duty of every human being who is blessed with comforts to pay back to society by helping less privileged people. "A helping hand can offer a new life to someone," says the social activist, who has devoted his life for the welfare of the less privileged and the planet Earth. It was this dedication that brought him and the organisation, the prestigious Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel International Award for excellence in humanitarian services. "It is time for all of us to unite in order to heal the wounds we have inflicted on our mother Earth and we must preserve and renew the goodness and beauty of our planet," concludes the environmentalist.