My experience of Bharat

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Source: Purvanchal Kalyan Ashram      Date: 04 Aug 2013 13:37:26

-Krittika Saha

undefinedThere is no element of surprise in the fact that our country suffers from poverty, malnutrition, exploitation and chronic illness, specially the suburban/village areas. But knowing and experiencing this state of our country are two completely different things. I became aware of this fact, when I embarked on a journey to Mallarpur to assist Purvanchal Kalyan Ashram in their work. We reached Mallarpur at about 11 am and went straight to Kalyan Ashram Boys Hostel where the generous organisation had provided small boys of class V to X with shelter, food, education and basic needs of life.  

On reaching the hostel, I saw the young boys working according to a preset schedule. So disciplined and hard-working, the lifestyle of these little boys reminded me of the contrasting leisurely nature of my childhood. We, the children from metro cities take everything for granted. Our parents provide us with good food and so many facilities and we do not even acknowledge how lucky we are. But these boys were deprived of even the basic needs of life. When I sat down to teach them, much to my surprise, some of them were quite intelligent and were capable of pursuing higher education, given the chance. The boys took care of all our needs from cooking the meals, serving our lunch, making our beds to fetching filtered water from far distance just for our comfort. As afternoon came and the boys just finished their meals, I engaged myself in their simple games and the innocent smile of the boys made me realize how cruel we have been to them.

undefinedWe have emerged from darkness into the dawn of technology, innovation and comforts of modern civilization and have never looked back on these humble beings of our society. A feeling of guilt and anger struck me and suddenly the feeling that I was doing charity work turned into a feeling of responsibility, a responsibility which we had been running from all our lives. I realized it was at their expense that we were getting all the luxuries of life, while we never even had the mere humanity in us to make sure they got the basic needs off life fulfilled.  

As the day drew to an end, I saw another beautiful practice. The boys hummed 32 "shlokas" in Sanskrit, regarding India, a practice not seen in even the best of institutions in Kolkata. It was, through and through, an enriching and eye-opening experience for me. What I saw and felt created a new side in me. The experience is one, I will remember, hereafter, whenever I succeed in any phase of my life and it will make me come back and carry on my responsibility, rather than running away from it, to make sure their innocence is not exploited.