Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mr India - Man Begs To Feed Orphans

Three-year-old Nani Soren is crying inconsolably for his mother, till Kantha Singh, 45, takes him in his lap.
Nani’s mother abandoned him after her husband’s death two months ago and fled with another man.
Singh, who runs an orphanage in East Singhbhum’s Dampara village, around 200 km north of Ranchi, appears to be inspired by the character Anil Kapoor played in the ’80s blockbuster Mr India.
In the film, Kapoor held violin classes to support his ‘extended family’ of nine children. Singh, the biological father of three, raises 42 orphans from neglected tribal communities by begging.
The former car mechanic’s love for orphans has played havoc with personal life — Singh’s family has severed all ties with him — but he has no regrets. His biggest concern is the welfare of these orphans.
“Reckless alcoholism and the polygamy leave tribal children to fend for themselves. Once orphaned, these children either die prematurely or spend their childhood working as bonded labourers in farmhouses and fields,” he said.
The challenge of any intervention to help orphans in India becomes even more enormous in the absence of official government data, said Enakshi Ganguly, co-director of the Delhi-based HAQ Centre for Child Rights.
According to Pune-based NGO Catalysts for Social Action, there were at least 12.4 million orphans in India in 2006. The last Census in 2001 put the number of child labourers in the country at 12.7 million. Jharkhand’s seven registered orphanages provide shelter to 420 children.
To teach the orphans in a thatched hutment converted into a shelter-cum school, Singh had to shut down his garage on the National Highway 33. Now, he begs and offers shramdaan (free service) in villages, along with his bunch of volunteers, to feed the orphans.
With no permanent income, how does he plan to run the orphanage? “I don’t feel any humiliation begging for alms as I am carrying out God’s work,” he said.
Neekanth Singh, 6, has never seen his parents. After he has recited a rhyme, when HT asked him his father’s name, he promptly said: “My father’s name is Kantha Singh.”
Mamoni Singh, 7, and Sonamoni, 8, also refer to Singh as ‘papa.’
As long as he is alive, Singh says the children won’t sleep on an empty stomach.
But sometimes, the meagre donations are not sufficient. “At times, we just have salt and rice to eat. Some day, I hope, these children get an education and go on to become government babus (clerks)

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There was a huge response to this story published in the Hindustan Times ( newspaper) . Many people from India and abroad and offered help. The President of India has invited Kantha Singh to meet her.
(this girl is performing in a roadside circus act -she is walking in a thin wire stretched between 2 bamboo poles)
Its encouraging to see that when the media brings such stories to the notice of the world, people respond positively. There is hope in the world.
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According to Kaushik Basu (Indian Economist) who is Professor of Economics and Chairman Dept. of Economics, Cornell University, selfishness and breakdown of social values beget poverty.

In other words he says,"Human qualities like altruism,integrity and appropriate norms and institutions are vital for economic development".

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The Bible says," If you obey the Lord your God and carefully follow His commandments...the Lord will grant you abundant prosperity."

Deut 28;11
(all photos are taken from the web)

17 Fertilize my soul:

Donetta said...

May it be so for the whole of humanity darling may it be so.

Gerry said...

It is always sad to read about the orphans in any country, as any country has some throwaway children that will not be saved unless someone like this kind hearted man devotes himself to their cause. I am glad to read this entry about the orphans and someone who cares. Gerry

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
You are doing well in talking these poor children's case.
It's heart ripping to read about how innocent children are treated.
If everybody close their eyes we are facing a huge tragedy.
I'm glad you my friend have taken upon to to talk the cause of the poor, old and helpless.
Makes me feel proud to know you.
From Felisol

Glennis said...

Many more people like this man are needed in the world. God Bless him.

Julia Dutta said...

Written like a true Journalist Amrita, this post should receive an award for being one of the best writes on this matter - this tale of real love shown for orphan children - The only other who showed such love has become a Saint - we are proud that she belonged to our soil too - St Mother Teressa. May the good Lord continue to shower this land with His blessings!
Thank You Amrita for this wonderful post, so perfectly drawn between the sharp lines that distinguish, unbiased writings of a Journalist and that of a Child of God whose heart beats with HIM.
Julia

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Amrita, great post today. Of course, you can reproduce anything I've written that you find useful. I hope God uses it with you!

Amrita said...

Hii fiends, thank you for alll your responses.

Dear Julia, hope you having a grat time in Bhopal.
My Pastor ' wife is not net savvy and besides that she lives in Alls.

Becka said...

We all need to be like this man,,

God bless the children !!!

Becka said...

We all need to be like this man,,

God bless the children !!!

David said...

praise the Lord, God almighty for giving you the vision you have and the great heart of compassion that we all admire.

Paresh Palicha said...

Didi, a very moving write-up. People like Kanth Singh are real representatives of God in this world. May their tribe grow.:)

Julia Dutta said...

Then do pass on my cell number sent on your email address :)))Please

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Yes, he is a very remarkable and one of a kind person. To adopt street children abandoned by their parents and to resort to begging to be able to feed them is something very praiseworthy indeed. God bless those wonderful souls who look beyond their own personal needs and extend a helping hand to the destitute of society. Thanks for the heartwarming post. God bless you always.

Amrita said...

There are many such heroes in India who are working for the upliftment of society and they don 't care for attention. I am so happy Kantha is receiving the suport he deserves.

Last year a read about a 14 year old girl to drives a cycle rickshaw to provide medicine for her father who ius a leper. She is the eldest in her family.

David C Brown said...

It is good to see someone who loves and cares.

But one big problem of India is beggars: what should a visitor do about them? If you give you feel you may be encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle, and probably crooks in the background, and if you don't give you feel bad about leaving poor people poorer. can you give us a blog on that please?

Amrita said...

Dear David (C Brown),There is a visible problem of beggars in India. And I can understand the predicament visiting foreigners and tourists face, we also have to deal with it.

I have a criteria for helping strangers on the sreets or those who come to my front door.

I help those who are-
handicapped
mentally retarded or disturbed
because they have been thrown out of their homes most of the time.

Old people too.

I avoid giving alms to street children, women with children clinging onto them, suuspicious looking characters - specially men who have a pathetic tale to tell.What you can do with them is buy them food...specially the children.

But sometimes they come to my house and ask me to give in the name of Jesus - they know I am a Christian because I live close to a church, so I give them the minimum I can -for the sake of Christian wirness knowing full well they are shady characters.I ask the Lord the deal with the situation - if they are taking advantage of me.Mnay times I give away old clothes and shoes from my give away trunk.

I was once walking down a street with a kind and godly missionary lady from Canada and a beggar approached her. She gave him some money and said,"I can only give you money for a meal or two but you have to try and find some way of eaerning money so that you don 't have to depend on others" It was a very good answer.

Its a controvertial subject but i can do a post about it.
I saw a book on this topic in the OM book shop but I don 't remember the title or author.

Roo said...

the plight of the orphans breaks my heart to pieces. thanks for posting this and for reminding those of us that often forget.

shalom friend!