“ I was begging for a living. One day, when I was traveling in the bus, the conductor threw me out of the bus for ticketless traveling. I fell on the hard ground and sustained injuries. Just when the bus had moved a little away, it struck by lightning and the bus caught fire. That horrific tragedy took place right before my eyes. Then I thought how did I survive that incident, and I felt that perhaps God has saved me for a purpose”.
This is how Sindhutai Sapkal had narrated her life story that had acted as a turning point in her life, when she had visited Mysuru’s Rangayana in 2018.
Known as the mother of orphans, Sapkal died of a heart attack at the age of 73 in a private hospital in Pune on Tuesday.
The recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri Sapkal had seen extreme poverty in her life. Having experienced that pain and agony caused by penury, she wanted no other orphan children to face it.
Thus, she had made helping poor and orphan children as her motto and ambition of her life.
Visit to Mysore Rangayana 2018
Sapkal was invited to Rangayana by the then Director of Rangayana, Bhagiratibai Kadam in 2018 to honor her and to be part of Children’s theater festival.
The Rangayana had also organised a programme where Sapkal was to feed personally to some children.
Speaking after inaugurating the event, Sapkal had shared her story on how she started helping orphan children.
Kadam recalled the event where she shared her life experiences. Sapkal was depressed due to domestic problems. Because of which, on several occasions had thought of committing suicide. On a particular day, she noticed that an aged person was so thirsty and desperately needed water. She offered him some water. After drinking it, the old man thanked her by saying that she saved his life. She then wonders if it is possible to save the lives of people merely by offering some water then she can save some more lives”, Kadam said.
Kadam added that Sapkal was not the mother of only one child but the mother of hundreds of orphan children. “ It was indeed a great pleasure and memorable event of life to have invited such a great woman to our event”, she said.
Kadam said that when she heard the news of the passing away of Sapkal, she felt as if hundreds of children suddenly became orphans.
The inspiring life and words of Sapkal enthused the people. In the event was held where Sapkal was supposed to feed children personally, hundreds of children had a bite offered by Sapkal.
“ Some people call me God, but let me make it clear that I am not a God but just a mother, mother of many orphan children. Life is like a bicycle. Front wheel is like the father and the rear is the mother. Like the rear wheel carries more weight, similarly, the mother carries more responsibility for the family on her shoulder. Despite living in penury, the parents always try to provide a better life to their children. The parents go hungry in order to fill the stomach of their children. The children too should take care of their parents in their old age”.
Sapkal had said that she was an orphan, but she became the mother of an orphan. But today, neither they are orphans nor she.
Kadam strongly believes that Sapkal is a great inspiration to the entire female fraternity. “ Those who think that women cannot do anything in society, should learn from the life of Sapkal. Women should not get frustrated and lose hopes. She has the power to bring about significant change in the society and lives of countless people. Sapkal is one of the tallest living examples”, she said.
Kadam said that until about four months ago, Sapkal was sending messages to her. Despite being illiterate, she learnt reading and writing on her own. She ensured that all the orphan children living with her too get proper education. Countless people were also donating to her for her noble work. “ Today the women fraternity has lost a guiding force.” Kadam said.