She was born in a family where she was an unwanted child, being called upon as “Chindhi”, which means a torn piece of cloth. The family couldn’t keep her along and married her off to a 30 year old man when she was just in her tender age of 10! Her husband constantly beat her up and at the age of 20, when she was already 9 months pregnant for the fourth time, she was beaten up and was thrown out of the house. This is the story of Sindhutai, a woman who is today, the mother of 1400 plus orphaned kids, a story that is heartbreaking yet inspiring.
Born on 14, November 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha District of Maharashtra. Her father was keen on educating her, as little Sindhu was very much interested in books. She used Bharadi tree leaves and tiny branches to write as the family couldn’t afford a slate. Unhappy with the families decision to get her married, she couldn’t continue her studies after 4th grade.
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“I was told there are only two processions in a woman’s life; once when she gets married and the other when she dies. Imagine my state of mind when they took me in a procession to my husband’s home in Nawargaon forest in Wardha,”
Her early marriage and responsibilities put an end to her career and opened the gates for an abusive marriage. She was opposed for she always stood for the welfare and justice of the villagers and herself. The day she was beaten up and banished, she gave birth to a baby girl outside her house in a cow shed. At this condition she walked kilometers to her mother’s house, where she was a refused acceptance.
“I cut the umbilical cord with a sharp-edged stone lying nearby,” she recalls. Feeling deeply hurt and alone, Suicidal thought disturbed her; however, she overcame it and began begging food on Railway Platforms to look after her infant daughter.
As she spent more time begging on platforms, she saw many children begging and abandoned my families. Having felt the pain herself, she decided to look after them by begging more intently. While begging food more profusely for the children she had adopted, she started accepting every child who came across as an orphan and over a period of time she gradually became the ‘Mother of Orphans’.
“I am there for all those who have no one,” “When I was out myself on the streets begging for food and fighting for survival each day, I realized that there are so many orphans who have nobody to go to. I decided to take care of them and raise them as my own,” Sindhutai says.
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The children she adopts are not given up for adoption to third parties, she treats them as her own. To eliminate the feeling of favoritism, she gave up her daughter Mamta to a trust, Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Pune. Inspired by her mother, Mamta runs an Orphanage today. Sindhutai, affectionately referred as ‘Mai’ has adapted and nurtured more than 1400 children who are educated and married off in good families. Some of her adopted children are doctors, engineers and lawyers. With all her determination, love and courage Mai has a family of more than 207 sons-in-law, 36 daughters-in-law and over 1000 grandchildren. Good men simply donate for this kind service that Sindhutai has initiated, rest for the income she manages to give speeches at various places.
“By God’s grace I had good communication skills. I could go and talk to people and influence them. Hunger made me speak and this became my source of income. I give many speeches at various places and this gets me some money which I use to take care of my children,”
With her great deeds towards a social cause, Sindhutai has received over 500 awards. The money she receives as an award, is used to build home for her children. She currently has seven organisations running for the various needs of orphans in Maharashtra.
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“I had no one with me, everyone abandoned me. I knew the pain of being alone and unwanted. I didn’t want anyone to go through the same. And I feel immense pride and pleasure to see some of my children doing so well in their lives. One of my children made a documentary on my life,”
Her life is inspirational and it has been credited with the film been made on her, ‘Mee Sindhutai Sapkal’, which has received several national awards. Sindhutai has inspired millions with all her courageous heart, will and perseverance. She is one of those examples which proves, if you have put together your blood, sweat and guts, there is nothing called Impossible. We salute the courage of this woman, we wish her more success for such kind deeds. Do watch her awe-strucking documentary which is available on Youtube.
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