Guna is one of the first districts in Madhya Pradesh to set up a nutritional rehab centre. It's a 16-bed special children care ward, under the supervision of a paediatrician, to support severely malnourished children. The facility not only treats infection but also supports immediate dietary needs, using locally available material. This isn't a stand-alone venture but is attached to a district hospital with sufficient back-up. The district mobilised resources from possible donors. The most unusual contribution, to kick start the centre came from 81-year-old Brindawan who is no stranger to Guna or the district hospital. He is around to help people in distress and it's by choice as he enjoys doing it. During our interaction, he laments, "ultimatelyeverything will go to the fire (a reference to death). I'm 81 and have seen a lot. Let me do something which satisfies me." Brindawan hails from Sagar district, came to Guna in 1992 to attend a yagna (ritual) and stayed on. He eats at voluntary organisation that provides highly-subsidised food to relatives staying withpatients in the hospital. This is mainly run by contributions from individual donors. Brindawan is again one of them. He had donated Rs 10,000 to the kitty. He owns about 30 bigas of land in Sagardistrict (another district of the state of Madhya Pradesh). His family, including his son and grandchildren, stays at Sagar. The octogenarian's eyes reflect his experiences; he fondly remembers the early period of Independence and also the Raj.
He feels a lot has changed over the past five decades. Corruption is one thing that has eroded thesystem, there are plenty of opportunities, lots of schemes for people's benefit but real benefit is stillelusive. Brindawan isn't the only one, if you look around there may be many like him. For persons like him,what's important is the difference they make to others' lives. When you meet people like him, you feelencouraged and faith is rejuvenated. In disasters such as tsumani, earthquakes and floods, these people make an enormous contribution towards rescue and relief but that remains virtually unnoticed.
- anil gulati
(these are personal opinions of the writer)