This story has nothing to do with Diwali. Yet, if it warms your heart, it has everything to do with Diwali.

She was born in 1948 in a poor cattle-grazing family in Maharashtra, India. They called her “Chindi” which means “torn cloth.” She attended school until she was ten, then she was married off to a man who lived in a village near the forest. Chindi noticed that the women who collected cow dung were being exploited by the wealthier men. Poor as she was, she stood up against this. When she became pregnant the men spread an unkind rumor, causing her husband to chase her out. Her daughter Mamta was born in a cow shed. To make ends meet Chindi started singing and begging in the trains and on the streets.

Chindi came across many orphan children who had no place to go. She began adopting them as her own. She worked hard begging until she built an ashram for her 1,200 children. She started travelling to villages and towns to gather money to build more ashrams for children. Many of these children are now grown up and are doctors and teachers and nurses. They still call her “Maai” ( Mother).

Her work has been recognized and she has received many honors. A movie “Mee Sindhutai Sapkal” tells about her life and her struggles and her success.

Even when your pockets are empty, there is still so much you can give to the world.

Rishi Singh