Meet Sindhutai Sapkal: The Mother Of Orphans
Mumbai: Sindhutai Sapkal, popularly known as “Mother of Orphans”, is an inspiration for millions of others who are working for the poor, underprivileged and orphans. Born on 14 November, 1948 at Pimpri Meghe village in Wardha district of Maharashtra, she was an unwanted child called “Chindhi” (which means a torn piece of cloth).
As a young girl, she always wanted to complete her education. As a child, she used Bharadi tree leaves to write as the family could not afford a slate. Although Sindhutai’s father supported her and was interested in educating her, she could not continue with her studies after fourth standard due to family issues.
At the age of 10, she got married to a 30-year old man. Her early marriage put an end to her desire to study as her abusive husband brutally beat her and threw her out of the house when she was 20 years old and nine-months pregnant. Homeless, Sindhutai gave birth to a baby girl in a cow shelter. Later she went to her parents house but to her shock, they too refused to accept her. Heartbroken and dejected, she thought of committing suicide but later on started begging at railway station to make ends meet.
While begging at the platform, Sindhutai realised that there were many orphans and children abandoned by their parents who were also begging on the platform. Empathising with their conditions, she adopted them too. In due course of time, she started begging more zealously to feed the many children she had adopted. Gradually, she decided to adopt every child who came across as an orphan and soon came to be known as the “Mother of Orphans”.
Till date, Sindhutai has adopted and brought up over 1,400 orphans, gave them education, got them married and helped them settle down. Some of the adopted kids are now renowned doctors, lawyers and engineers who fondly call her “Mai” (Mother).
The children adopted by Sindhutai are not given up for adoption. To eliminate the feeling of partiality among children she gave away her biological daughter to Shrimant Dagdu Sheth Halwai in Pune. Following her mother’s footsteps, she too runs an orphanage.
Sindhutai has received over 500 awards for her courage, compassion and extra ordinary support to orphans. Whatever amount she received as awards, it was used to construct homes for her children. She takes no monetary help from anyone and earns her daily bread and butter by attending functions and giving speeches.
Her life story inspired many and was inspired the Marathi film “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” which went on to win a national award. The life story of Sindhutai depicts that if one is dedicated to bring about a change in the society then nothing under the sun can make him budge. Such people are standing examples of humanism and compassion and would go down in history for their remarkable contribution in bringing about a positive change in the lives of many.