Rahul Gandhi’s concern evokes Sulabh owner’s magnanimity

August 29th, 2008 - 12:22 am ICT by IANS  

Sonkhas (Maharashtra), Aug 28 (IANS) Nearly a month after handing down succour to struggling farm widow, Kalawati Bandurkar, Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak Thursday lit up the life of Yavatmal district’s other valiant farm-hand Shashikala Ringane and her family by giving her a cheque of Rs.200,000. Pathak also promised to put 10 times as much money in a fixed deposit in her name so the family gets a monthly interest of Rs.150,00 for 20 years.

The grateful farm labourer whose tale of grit Congress MP Rahul Gandhi related in his July 22 parliamentary speech along with that of the mother of nine, said after receiving the dole that it has ended her worries about her children’s education and other needs of her family of five. Shashikala’s grateful farm labourer husband Prahlad nodded as Mahindra, Yogesh and Jayendra - the couple’s three children - basked in the media glare.

The two women came in the limelight following Rahul Gandhi’s visit to their dilapidated huts in India’s most suicide prone Yavatmal district a few days before the trust vote for the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government and his reference to them in his speech.

Speaking in favour of the Indo-US civil nuclear energy deal, the young Congress leader had said the nuclear energy available due to the deal would help the country tide over its debilitating power crunch and change the fortune of millions of poor like Kalawati and Shashikala.

The speech moved the magnanimous pioneer of the country’s sanitation movement to announce that he would shore up the two women’s financial fortunes in such a way that Kalawati would not die in debt and Shashikala would not have to compromise on the education of her aspiring children.

Pathak appealed to the wealthy people in the country to follow suit. He also said the government should revamp its policies in such a way that the benefits of globalisation reach the poor.

The Sulabh International founder reiterated his resolve to set up a Sulabh Rich-Un-rich Sansthan involving billionaires and corporate houses of the country, the non-resident Indians and other charity oriented people in the world to form a corpus to help the needy and support programmes aimed at empowering the poor.

He also donated a cheque worth Rs.200,000 to Shewantabai, a mother of four in the same village whose husband Kailash Bhagat died in a road accident hours after taking a visiting journalist to Shashikala’s house a day after Rahul Gandhi’s speech.

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