Source and Image: indiatimes
Adversity is like a hammer that shatters glass but forges steel. Leslie Pereira, who proved himself a man of steel by letting the hammer of adversities forge him.
Being himself abandoned at an early age, Leslie Pereira is the Lawyer by profession who helps Patients Abandoned By Their Families On The Streets Of Mumbai.
He has spent much of his life in the compounds of government-run hospitals, looking for patients who have been abandoned by their families. As a matter of fact, The lawyer has, until now, rehabilitated hundreds of destitute commercial sex workers, HIV patients and elderly people. Even today, one can find him roaming in JJ hospital, helping those unfamiliar with the hospital, guiding them towards operation theatres, emergency wards, sometimes even police stations to file a criminal case. Goa-born Pereira decided to fight for such people after he himself was refused help by hospital authorities when he himself was in dire need of it.
“I know what it feels like to be abandoned, to be lonely. I am an orphan myself and had lived years of my childhood on the streets before I was adopted. Even after being adopted, though, I never got the love and attention I longed for,” says Pereira. Even after being adopted, he was never given proper food or clothing and used to eat well only when he visited a friend’s house, he adds. “I grew up being at the mercy of others, which is why I decided to work for people who felt a pain similar to mine.”I know I can’t take care of all the people in this world, but I feel that even if I make one person smile, my goal for that day stands achieved.”
He recollects from an incident that happened two years ago, when a seven-year-old girl from Karnataka had lost both her parents to HIV, and was admitted to and abandoned by her grandmother in JJ hospital. She had been thrown out of her village because she was HIV-positive. Pereira gave her his helping hand, he adopted her, cleared her bills, and later assured her shelter by getting her lodged in a care centre. In another painful incident, when a two-year-old girl, who was raped and thrown out in the bushes near the Sewri railway station, was also rescued by Pereira to the rehabilitation home Asha Sadan, from where she was adopted by a couple, and with whom she is now living a happy life.
Eunuchs who are neglected, left alone at the hospital and denied admission also look to Pereira for help. “There used to be no one to take care of them at the hospital. I have spent lots of nights in the hospital, talking to them and attending to them. They are also humans and require care and love. Is that too much to ask for?” asks Pereira.
The list continues as for instance, when a woman from Chennai had come to Mumbai to apply for a visa to help her fly to the Gulf. In the city, she suffered a paralytic stroke and was admitted to JJ hospital. Shockingly, During her stay there, she was raped by the ward boy in a toilet. As the hospital authorities tried to cordon off the matter, her attendant Jamila Begum brought the matter to Pereira’s attention. He speedily got an FIR registered and ensured the arrest of the rapist. The victim’s bills were taken care of and her treatment continued for another nine months.
Pereira still practices at the Bombay High Court. He is well known for handling Public Interest Litigation cases against various issues for the past 18 years. He also had exposed the scam of dead bodies going missing from the morgue of a famous government-run hospital. The corpses used to be sold to certain medical colleges for anatomy lessons. A case was later filed at the High Court. Pareira also unearthed the racket of clinical trials being conducted on poor patients by the hospital authorities of a big hospital without making them aware and their approval. Today, conducting such trials on patients without their permission is illegal.
“My aim,” says Pereira, “is to serve humanity, irrespective of caste, colour and creed and to work for the betterment of society by being generous. I wish to help the needy and give back to the universe what the universe has given me — a life.”
The logical Indian Community applauds such a brave human being, who didn’t cried when Life gave him lemons, but he made the lemonade and served the fellow human beings in need instead.