Mangaltai runs an institution
called Prabha-Hira Pratishthan. One day, I attended a program on Mangaltai’s
invitation and was awe-struck by her outstanding work. She shelter and provides
care for children who have been affected by AIDS. She is totally surrendered
herself to the cause of bringing joy in the lives of these ephemeral children
largely rejected by the society. Her daughter Dimple, Son-in-Law Rajkumar,and
her son have also joined her in carrying out this extraordinary commendable
Mangaltai took us to her project site which was in a
highly dilapidated condition.It was measly tin shed, with 2 rooms, too frail to
survive the mildest of rains and winds. Yet in such adverse conditions,
Mangaltai, standing as a strong pillar of strength un-deterrently carries on her
work. Mangaltai was playing with a baby whose sister had recently passed away.
“What was the fault of these siblings who were brought irresponsibly into the
world?” In her letter, Mangaltai writes, “Ankita was in my lap. I could not wink
of sleep that night. She passed away in my arms. I slowly whispered in, the
words of a Madgulkar poem slightly modified ‘your last nest in my lap….’. With
tears in my eyes I wrote to her, “Tai, where do you get this courage, this
perseverance and this determination from?” Mangaltai wrote back coolly “From
there where from Hirkani got hers”.
Hirkani from old history, for her baby, climbed down
the treacherous rocky valley which was till then considered impossibly to trek.
And now this Hirkani –Mangaltai spends her life in the valley of death, bringing
joy to children who are fighting this incurable disease- a forerunner to death.
As if she is trying to put death to sleep, to delay the un-avoidable and in the
meantime bring some cheer and happiness to the hapless children. Mangaltai never
feels that she is doing anything extraordinary and there is absolute no trace of
any ego here. She toils selflessly and maintains that still plenty of work nees
to be done and she is determined to carry out the work to the fullest of her
However money and society attitude are the main hurdles
before her. Mangaltai is quite hopeful and believes that “someday we will
overcome all these hurdles”. I asked her, “Where do you get this compassion
from?” tai replied, “From river and trees..Rivers never seek to know who uses
her water, trees never discriminate while giving fruits and shelter.”
Mangaltai’s words and her work increase our faith in life, our faith in
humanity. Mangaltai is doing the work that many of us may also want to undertake
or at least assist in. Many of us yearn to do something for the society. Though
it may be difficult to invest sufficient time it is easier to financially help
Mangaltai’s project and have stratification of lending a hand to good social
cause. The amount is not important, our awareness and enrichment of our
conscience is important.