Woman Who Built Hospital Doing Household Works And Selling Vegetables Awarded Padma Shri
January 29th, 2018
There are few who dare to dream and fewer who make that dream a reality. Subhasini Mistry, a 70-year old woman, who lost her husband at the age of 23 due to lack of medical treatment, has now become one of the recipients of Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award.
“I’m glad the government has recognized my work. But I would be happier if this award influences others to step up and do their bit for the society. As for me, I had already got my reward when the full-scale hospital was constructed and the first patient was successfully treated,” Mistry told The Times of India.
Subhashini was born in a poor family of farmers in West Bengal. She was married at an early age of 12. At the age of 23, her husband passed away due to lack of good treatment for an illness at a government hospital. He was a poor labourer. Subhashini was left all alone with her kids. She decided that she would not let anyone else face the kind of difficulties she had to face due to lack of healthcare.
For the next 20 years, she did household jobs such as washing dishes, polishing shoes, working as a construction labourer and for 20 years she sold vegetables at Kolkata’s Park Circus, never spending a single penny on life’s luxuries.
“I used to earn about five paise. Two paise was for rent, two paise was for eating and I used to save one paise,” she recalls.
The only silver lining in Subhasini’s life was her eldest son Ajoy. He was a good student but she couldn’t afford his schooling. So she sent him to an orphanage. Ajoy became a doctor through sheer determination and hard work.
Establishment of the hospital
By late 1993, a small temporary shed was in the one-acre land bought by Subhasini from her lifelong savings. Her son Ajoy and another volunteer doctor were ready to start work after they finished their shifts at another hospital.
On the first day, they managed to treat 252 patients. “But this is not enough. We need to build a proper hospital,’’ she told Ajoy.
So she went back to the streets to sell vegetables. Her elder son Sujoy, who had graduated from college, joined her and together they began to earn and save more. Ajoy began knocking on corporate doors and soon funds began to trickle in – from local residents, companies and charities. On February 5, 1995, the foundation stone for a proper hospital was laid. A year later, on March 9, 1996, the two-storey Humanity Hospital was opened to the public.
Today, it is spread over three acres and major surgeries for the poor are done for less than Rs 5000 and minor ailments are treated for under Rs 10. The hospital treats thousands of poor every year, free of cost.
Today Ajoy and his three siblings are Subhasini’s pillars of strength. He attends the patients in the hospital, his wife feeds them and his sister is a nurse there. With Ajoy at the helm of affairs she now spends most of her time tending to the sick or looking after her grandchildren.
The Logical Indian community congratulates Subhashini for receiving the Padma Shri award. She fought all odds and despite hardships, dedicated her life for people’s well-being. Her work is an inspiration.