When we come across the term “charity”, it is almost always linked with celebrities or icons who are spending on making the world a better place. No doubt, such icons have what it takes—heart and finance to help those who are not as privileged as them. Being in the position they are in society, these icons are doing what it takes to set the right example to youngsters while giving back to the society. Some of these celebrities have provided finances for disaster relief funds, while others have invested financially and gone out of their way to endorse a fight for a cause.
Against this background, we have seen people who have more money than they need for basic requirements, and that a fraction of that goes to a cause. However, if we told you that there is someone who not just donates her money for a cause, but put the cause before her basic requirements, what would you say?
Well, when some angels land on earth, they dedicate themselves to a life’s mission and make sure that they go the extra mile to make it happen. One such story is that of Subhasini Mistry. She is no celebrity or icon. But, she has moved mountains and made a tremendous difference in several people’s lives with just her will and energy.
In 2018, Subhasini received the Padma Shri award for social work. But, the story started over 45 years before.
A Life Of Misfortune
Subhasini was born into a poor farmer family in West Bengal village of Kulwa. Born during the Bengal famine of 1943 that left farmers starved and dead, Subhasini’s infanthood witnessed her father’s inability to feed her 13 siblings. To feed all the mouths, her mother was forced to beg for food from landlords, NGOs, and even churches in the vicinity. As the years passed, seven of her siblings died of malnourishment and hunger. At the age of 12, Subhasini married an agriculture worker, Sadhan Chandra Mistry, who earned two hundred rupees a month. While he worked in the fields, Subhasini worked hard at home handling the chores for her husband and kids. By the age of 23, she had four children, and life had gone into the monotonous day-to-day struggle.
In 1971, Subhasini’s life took a turn.
While working at a paddy field, her husband fell ill and was suffering from a severe case of diarrhea. However, when rushed to a hospital, the family’s lack of finances caused the hospital to deny Chandra any treatment. As a result, Chandra passed away.
Although broken by her husband’s death, Subhasini could not afford the luxury of mourning in silence. With four children to feed, she took on any work she could lay her hands on. Agricultural laborer, house maid, and vegetable seller were some of the jobs she did to make ends meet. However, at this point survival was not her only objective.
The lack of funds, which was instrumental in her husband’s death, left her determined that no one else must ever meet with a similar fate. Despite dire poverty, Subhasini set out on a mission to build a hospital that would look at humanity before money.
At the peak of her poverty, Subhasini was forced to put two of her children into an orphanage, since she was not in a position to afford education for them. In time, she managed to save enough money to buy a plot that was one-third an acre.
Later, in the year 1993, a temporary clinic was set up with the help of residents, and that marked the foundation of the Humanity Trust.
Over time, a permanent building was established in Hanspukur, and that became the first official residence of Humanity Hospital in 1996. Inaugurated by K.V. Raghunath Reddy, the state governor at the time, the hospital was a standing testament to Subhasini’s lifetime of hard work, sacrifice, and patience. Today, 12 doctors serve in the hospital, and among them is her son, Ajoy, who gave life to his mother’s vision of seeing one of her kids as a doctor.
Going by the motto of “poverty is not a reason to be denied treatment”, Subhasini’s Humanity Hospital conducts major surgeries at a mere five thousand rupees. And, minor ailments? They are treated at Rs.10.
So, with her dream come to life, is Subhasini satisfied?
Apparently, not. She has recently opened another hospital and aims to be able to provide round-the-clock medical service to everyone.
Subhasini has spoken at a number of events, such as TEDx and the United Nations in India. An epitome of humbleness, Subhasini carries herself in her regular white saree and slippers, and can still be witnessed doing rounds at the hospital and talking to patients, once in a while.
Recipient of a number of awards, Subhasini has been a source of inspiration for many, and producer Dev Adhikary is one of them. This year, on International Women’s Day, the actor-turned-producer announced his plan to produce a biopic based on Subhasini’s life.
If you still believe that you need a lot of money to bring a smile on someone else’s face, then think again. If someone like Subhasini could bring a difference in so many lives, the least we can do is to bring a smile on someone’s face. You never know how far it can go. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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