Subhasini Mistry – From Vegetable Shop to Padmashree

Subhasini Mistry

In childhood, Subhashini was never brought up from school and hospital. All were illiterate in the family. It was not customary to send daughters to school in the village. There was also no hospital in the surrounding area. Small disease was treated with home remedies, so there was never even a chance to go to the hospital. The home was maintained by farming. The mother taught her housework as soon as she woke up. They got married at the age of 12. Like her maternal in-laws, she also had to struggle with poverty. Her husband could hardly earn a living and could hardly survive.

At the age of just 21, she became the mother of four children – a daughter and three sons. Life was coming on track that an accident happened suddenly. She was then 23 years old. His daughter was only one and a half years old. Suddenly my husband’s health deteriorated. There was no money for treatment, and at the hospital he was asked to deposit money for treatment. Where did you suddenly get money? By the time she could make some arrangements, the husband died. Subhashini says, I did not understand how all this happened? Was brought up from the hospital for the first time. Then realized that poverty can also take someone’s life. If I had treatment money, I would have saved my husband’s life.

Everything was shattered. But they did not even have time to mourn. It was the responsibility of four innocent children. In order to run the house, the houses started doing chow-utensils. She wanted to teach the children, but circumstances were not such that she could send them to school. There was not so much money from the chowka-pot that it could be saved. So she started working as a laborer. The elder two sons also started going to work with him. He was aged between seven and eight years. The third son was four years old. He had to be sent to an orphanage. But he had decided that he would definitely teach it. Mind always used to worry that the husband passed away without treatment. Subhashini says, I decided to make my son a doctor so that he could treat the poor. But I did not share this thing with anyone. I arranged for her to study in the orphanage.

The son started going to school. She used to go to meet him on holiday. Whenever there was a chance to talk to him, he would motivate him to become a doctor. The struggle of life continued amidst all this. Had to struggle a lot. Subhashini left the village in search of work and moved to Dhapa area. It was a landfill area, but vegetable cultivation was also done on a large scale. She started selling vegetables by setting up a roadside shop. Garbage picker also worked for some time. In the meantime opened my account in the bank. Saved some money from household expenses and started depositing there. Nobody knew how much money they deposited and what she was about to do? Twenty years long passed. The children grew up. They also got married. Meanwhile, the third son completed his doctor’s studies. Then he told his mind. Reminds him of how his father died in the absence of treatment.

My mother inspired me to pursue my medical studies, says Doctor Ajoy. Even when he became a doctor, he did not say that son, earn a lot of name, earn a lot of money. She simply said that she wants to build a hospital for the poor. It was great to hear that. I am proud of my mother.

Now it was the turn to make the dream come true. Land was needed for the hospital. Bought a bigha land with twenty years of savings. She knew that the construction of the hospital would require financial assistance, so in 1993 the Humanity Trust was formed. Putting thatch on the same land, the son opened a temporary clinic. Here very little money was taken from the common patients and the poor were treated free of cost. He sought help from people to build a hospital. The locals were happy with his efforts. Some gave money to buy bricks, some for cement. Subhashini says she, who had no money, performed shramdaan.

The dream was coming true. In 1996, a hospital in Hanspukur village was ready. Inaugurated by the then Governor of West Bengal, KV Raghunath Reddy. Today he has two hospitals in the state – one in the village Hanskhali and the other in the Sundarbans. In 2009, he was honored with the Godfrey Phillips Brewery Award. This year the Central Government conferred him with the Padma Shri. Subhashini says, I got the real award the very day my hospital was ready. I want the doctors to earn money and take care of the poor as well. Treat them for free.

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