Five decades ago, an incident occurred which changed Mr. Nagindas Shah’s life. It was amazing to cover his story which has touched lives of millions of people.
“My son was suffering from Asthama when he was just two years old. Every now and then he would get asthama attacks and believe me as a father it was a worst sight to see your one and only little child suffer from it. So this one time, he got a huge asthama attack and he was hospitalized at Gulabbai Hospital. During those days I was broke and jobless and was in search of a good job in the city. So I’d to borrow 25 rupees from a friend of mine for treatment. But to be frank I’d lost all my hopes that my son will survive this time. He was on medications and was being treated by doctors but on the adjacent bed there was a woman weeping. Seeing this, I couldn’t stop myself and asked her that why is she crying? She told me that her son needs a life saving operation but she doesn’t have required money for the treatment. She just had 3 rupees left with her and the fund required for operations was 25-30 rupees. Hearing this a chill ran down my spine. I thought as such my son isn’t going to survive, then why not save another person’s life. Without even thinking for a moment I handed over my 25 rupees to her. I promised the lady that nothing will happen to her son. Soon doctors said more money would be needed for her son’s after operation treatment. Now all my borrowed money was over and I too didn’t had a single penny, but I’m a man of words.
I went to the market and narrated the scene to one of the businessman and asked for some help. Two businessmen readily agreed and donated 51 rupees respectively. Look at the beauty of God, I’d asked for just 25 rupees and got 101 rupees from two businessmen. And in those days 101 rupees was a huge amount. I went back to hospital and soon the boy was cured. Meanwhile on the other hand my son got cured too. But I was left with 70 rupees as only 30 rupees were spent. While going back to return the excess money, those two businessmen asked me to keep it and help other needy people. And then I thought why not start this as a social service, to help poor and needy patients at the hospital.
That is how this organization “Dardi Nu Rahat Fund” was founded in the year 1964. My own family had disowned me saying that your father was a landlord in your village and here you are begging for 10-20 rupees, but I’d no problem to that as I wasn’t begging for myself, I was doing for those poor and needy patients. There were also people who said that you are jobless and here you’re doing social services, first earn for your family and then help others. People have even rejected me as I would go to ask for donations on my cycle. Of course who would give donations to someone who comes in a cycle?. But today I can proudly say that the organization had started with just 25 rupees in 1964 and now it has an annual income of 1 crore rupees. Last year we received 1.26 crore , out of which 1.11 crore was spent on poor and needy patients. We spend whooping 8 lac per month, just on the medication for poor. Me and my volunteers visit the city hospital and identify the poor patients in need of any help and then we go about helping them. Although I visit hospitals but I am 86 years old now, so I let the young volunteers take the lead. I’ve never used the donation money for myself, whenever I have to travel to different cities for work related to Organization I incur travelling expenses from my own pocket and not from the NGO fund. When we organize fund raising programmes, then me and my family buys tickets for that programme, there is no such thing as free pass entries. I’ve seen some moving incidents in my life. There was this one time a father came with his ill son to us for guidance. The boy needed treatment and the treatment required huge amount of money, which father had. On asking about how the father manged to get such huge amount of money, father said he had pawned his son. His son was to go and work for the money lender after he gets cured. This incident shocked me. We immediately made the boy free of bonded labour by helping him with the treatment.
There was this other incident where in a 1.5 month old baby of a daily wage worker was sleeping on a tree in a clothed cradle and she fell from up and was badly injured. Labourer had very less money with him, so they could only travel till a limited place as the remaining money had to be spent on treatment, so they were dropped of at a village and from their labourer carried her 1.5 month old daughter and walked for 40 kilometers and reached Ahmedabad city for the treatment, this incident moved each and every one of us at the hospital. Later we paid for her treatment. So incidents like these has made me more determined then ever to continue this work despite being old at age. I’ve been jobless since last 50 years, I’ve even tried to commit suicide after loosing my money. But the only thing that has kept me going is the passion I have to help poor and needy patients. Yes, this is my passion and I will keep on doing it until I die.
Any message to the society?
Yes, I would like more and more people to donate for this cause. It is the society that has helped me, they’re the one’s who have given donations. Not only this city, but we have been receiving funds from all over the world. So the success of this organization is all thanks to those beautiful people who believed in my initiative.”
Submitted By – Pray Bavishi ( Humans Of Amdavad)