Who says beggars can’t be choosers? They not only have choices but sometimes they make the best ones — as Sindhubala Mishra did.
Sindhubala, who was married at the age of 9, was forced to beg after she became a widow at 11. But she was not like other beggars who seek alms only to survive. She began saving the money and investing in land. Over a period, she had raised 13 kathas (around a quarter acre).
On Monday, when she completed 100 years, Sindhubala donated the land worth around Rs25 lakh to a club in East Midnapore district for setting up an orphanage and children’s park under Dashpur-I panchayat.
“After my husband’s death, I was not allowed to stay at my in-laws’. I did not find a place in my ancestral home either and was forced to take up begging. Having become a widow at 11, I have remained childless. I could feel the pain of orphans around me many of whom became drug addicts and anti-socials without proper upbringing, housing and patronage. So, I made up my mind to do something for them and started saving a major portion of my income and purchasing land. Now, I am 100 and my only wish is to see the orphanage,” she said after handing over land papers and her will to Daspur Beliaghata Netaji Club officials.
“Before I die, I want to see innocent children playing in the park. That will give me peace,” she said.
Dashpur-I panchayat has already begun work to realise Sindhubala’s dream. Its treasurer Jagannath Jana on the spot sanctioned Rs2,00,000 for setting up the orphanage.
“We have decided to contribute as much as possible. We are trying to get special permission to sanction more funds,” he said.
The big-hearted beggar has inspired others to open purse strings. While some traders have donated cash, promoters and building material suppliers have offered to construct the orphanage free of cost.
Meanwhile, the club is making arrangements for Sindhubala to spend her remaining years in peace. “We have allotted her a small room on the club premises. We will also provide her four meals daily and arrange for her medication whenever necessary,” president Swapan Maity said.